As an active recruiter (I am the owner of HIREghana – www.HIREgh.com), my associates and I come daily across through several hundred of Linkedin profiles via our candidate sourcing searches and via our very own professional networking too. And we see a lot of things that could be improved with a few tips, so here I am just offering my very own humble opinion in the form of advice.
Profile Photo DOs
The first thing we look at, when we all look at someone’s LinkedIn profile, is 1st their photograph and 2nd their title. So please:
- Have a clear photograph of yourself.
I.e. no fuzzy photographs and no photographs with friends, children, pets, relatives, whatever.
- Use a photograph of your face with possibly a small smile.
People want to get the feeling of comfort, the feeling that you are approachable; that you are an easy person to reach and talk to. Obviously do not wear sunglasses please.
- Show your shoulders
This is a bit strange, but there is a lot of research that shows a stranger can trust someone more when they could see a part of his/her shoulder.
- Face the camera.
Almost a must: because it generally creates a sense of direct communication with the person looking at your photograph.
Make sure that you are “front and center”. Linkedin is not about looking beautiful.
- Dress appropriately.
- Yes: it is ok to “photoshop” a little, e.g. for removing items on the background etc.
- No: please don’t use “photoshop” to look younger – it’s deception.
- Avoid ‘dating-like’ photographs Linkedin is a professional networking tool –it’s not Facebook.
- Don’t lean back on an office chair.
When is the last time that you show someone leaning all the way back on their office chair or even a couch at work and you thought: “I want to hire this guy” or “I want to work for this person or do business with him/her”? What do you think this person’s attitude is? Do you really thing that s/he is successful? In what? In been lazy?
- Avoid advertising or marketing promotion photographs.
Sure, you want to promote your own business or a product or service that you are selling. But, Linkedin has company pages for that- for example look at our page: www.linkedin.com/company/hireghana. People need to see you and not an advertisement. Single exception: when one is a trainee and under a probation period, you can choose to display the company logo.
- No Selfies, please.
- Don’t use an old photograph.
You are 30-40 years old or even older and you are using that cute high school picture? Look your age, please – use a recent photograph.
- Background color.
Keep it simple: white is great, some shades of green will do miracles; no blue backgrounds. If you want to have a strong professional image, consider avoiding multicolored backgrounds.
Now there is a last item of possible controversy: Should you use a Black & White photograph? Some research shows that a colored photograph turned into a Black & White one, makes that very same person appear more credible, more competent and more influential. Again, it is not 100% proven research-data beyond any doubt.
Profile Headline DOs
Maybe you are the top-man or top-woman in your company. Even so, though you are let’s say the Head of Advertising at XYZ-Company, that doesn’t mean that this is the the only thing that has to be in your headline. Instead of using this:
Why don’t you use something – for example like that:
Advertising Head | Social Media & Mobile Advertising | Mobile Lead Generation | NeuroMarketing
Advertising Head at XYZ | Social Media Sales Generation | Social Audience Commander | Digital Advertising and Marketing Leader
Please do not use Social Audience Commander – it’s just a joke. But, I assume that by now you get the point.
The 2nd option would be to write a value or branding statement – something that looks like this:
Advertising Manager in synch with digital advertising in all Social Media, one who commands the lingua franca of any Social Audience of today and of the Future and overdrives sales growth
These 2 examples of LinkedIn profile-headlines either communicate clearly your area of expertise that is most relevant to your future employer, or your own value which is most relevant to future employers and/or clients.
For active job seekers, my personal recommendation will be the 1st example- the keywords one.
But – please:
- Use humble modest real-word simple titles without underestimating your value.
- Use2-3 target job titles.
In above example for targeting a advertising position: Advertising Head | Senior Digital Advertiser | Copyright Director.
- Use ‘-‘ or ‘|’ for separators– this is just a suggestion – in any case no funny special characters please.
g .Advertising Head at XYZ | Social Media Sales
- Avoid megalomaniactitles
Sometimes I get a feeling that everyone in Ghana is a CEO or a Prophet or aan Apostle or a Cryptocurrency Expert.
- Don’t be cute and funny– Be professional.
Will you hire or even take seriously when you are searching for candidates someone stating s/he is a “Marketing Rockstar with a capital R”?
It seems to be getting outdated, but if you decide to go for it, then please have a professional summary of all your experiences that uses clear, cold and hard data to focus on and represent the results of:
- what have you achieved and to what degree of success, and
- the impact that these results have had in reference to your organization’s goals/ mission/ objectives.
Numerify it all !
OK, it is not a word but use numbers throughout your LinkedIn profile, especially in each Job -Entry/ Description that you had.
Are you a Sales person? How much did you contribute to the overall revenue of the company? That can be a numerical percentage (e.g. 23%) or an estimated absolute value such as ‘did sales work of 1.000.000 cedis per year’. Did you reduce the cost of Customer Acquisition? If yes, by how much. Employers expect a Sales person to be able to provide and ‘justify’ these numbers (if you sell sports cars it is a lot easier to justify 1.000.000 cedis in revenue than just selling fish & pepper sauce in your local corner)
For almost every senior person/ manager, it is (and possibly should be) expected everything you do to have an impact on your company’s revenue and ROI, etc… If you don’t know these numbers, then how are your daily function and activities aligned to make your company profitable?
Those Keywords: What you really need to know.
- Use relevant professional skills.
- Create a new Skill, when applicable- but avoid Awkward / strange language
- Order them wisely
Your first 3 endorsed skills occupy the ‘prime real estate’ are of your skills section. So, choose wisely your top 3 major skills that you would like to either endorsed or display.
- Use 27 skills max. -don’t use all 50!
(are you really that good in 50 skills? Seriously?)
- Avoid any sort of hate speech, political statements etc. on your skill- keywords
- Don’t use ‘fake’ or glorified or ‘unjustifiable’ skills
- Don’t get tempted!
Sometimes LinkedIn suggests Skills to your connections for them to endorse you based on some other secret and magical LinkedIn Algorithm. So, your connections for example get a suggestion to endorse you for Strategic Planningand that might be something far away for your current capabilities. Yes, it is tempting to have 100 or whatever number on connections for Strategic Planning; but do you really know what it is and are you really mastering that skill?
- Please no Broad Terms.
Broad terms such as “Information Technology” or “Windows” or “Marketing” or “Accounting”,they do not really tell a hiring manager / recruiter what you do or did.
- Avoid using Irrelevant or ‘junk’ skills, like:
You are a Ghanaian – so why are you seeking endorsement for a language that you fully- command?
- Microsoft Office, Word, Excel and all that
Ladies and Gentlemen please just use Microsoft Office. Don’t waste keywords.
- Outlook, Email, Internet, IT, Computers.
Who does not have these skills today?
- Data, Research, Analysis.
To most people none of these make sense as skill-set without a relevant context. You have research skills on …what? You are performing what kind of Analysis? Data? What are you doing with them?
- Africa, Gold, Banks, etc.
We see these skills a lot and we are not yet sure what to make out of them.
Even if you are not an active job seeker at present, please have a high- impact effective keyword usage, even for the rest of us who will appreciate and enjoy to quickly read and understand who you are.
There are books and books and articles and seminars (we even do our own seminars – www.HIREseminars.com) and articles and all sorts of advice on how-to best use LinkedIn.
The tips above are by no mean exhaustive but, they do come from our own professional experience and we could have added another 100 ones. But these are a good start and some of the tips are very unusual.
I hope that you will put these suggestions in practice immediately. And… don’t forget to customize your LinkedIn url please !!!
Thank you and Good Luck,
About the Author: Irene Gloria Addison is the owner of HIREghana [Human Intelligence Recruitment], a Leader Ghanaian Recruitment Agency and also a HRM & Organizational Development Consultancy, based in Accra.
Irene and her colleagues also train candidates in all sorts of job-hunting skills, including crafting High- Impact LinkedIn Profiles via their www.HIREseminars.com services.
Irene welcomes your feedback/ comments/ remarks/ suggestions via your email message to [email protected]; she can be reached at +233 50 228 5155 or +233 266 555 907.