Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 16.
You're a savvy professional who's had a LinkedIn account for years, but are you using your profile to its fullest potential? We're not here to tell you that you've been using LinkedIn wrong this whole time, but rather that there's so much more you can do with your LinkedIn profile than you might have realized.
"I think a lot of people create a LinkedIn profile at the beginning of their career and might go in and update it when they get a new job," says Amy Ogden, vice president of brand development for J Public Relations. "LinkedIn should not be seen just as an online resume to get a new job, but a professional and consolidated place to showcase your work in your industry as you're connecting with others to build your brand."
Considering there are more than 450 million LinkedIn members worldwide, it's more important than ever to get away from the stale resume rehash and find ways to make your profile stand out from the rest.
"Ultimately LinkedIn, like all social media, is about starting a conversation, so include profile elements that encourage that," says Jennifer Fishberg, owner of Career Karma, which offers professional resume writing and LinkedIn profile writing services to clients.
Ready to make your LinkedIn profile come to life? Here are 10 tips from career experts that can help you get started.
10. Write an Engaging Headline
Does the headline on your LinkedIn profile simply state your current job title and company, like "Account Executive for XYZ Company" or "Marketing Manager for ABC Inc.?" If you really want to stand out, skip this dull approach and instead play around with your headline to make it more interesting.
"Your headline is the most 'prime real estate' on LinkedIn, because it's the first thing people see in a search result and when you comment on others' status updates and posts," says Julie Bondy Roberts, founder of Coming Alive Career Coaching, LLC, which offers LinkedIn profile optimization, LinkedIn workshops and private career coaching. "If you only have your job title and name of company, that won't help differentiate you from the pack."
Bondy Roberts says that hiring managers and recruiters typically don't type in company names when searching for candidates, so including your company name in your headline might not help you. "They plug in keywords like 'process improvement' or 'lead generation,' along with job titles, to find someone with a particular set of skills," she explains.
When writing your headline, Bondy Roberts offers this formula to follow: Enter your job role (it doesn't have to be exactly what's on your business card) + industry keywords to help you come up in search results + a branding statement that reflects how you provide value to an employer. For instance, she suggests changing "Category & Channel Manager at Office Depot" to "Award Winning Category & Channel Manager | Multi-Channel Marketing | Invigorates Brands, Sets Retail Strategy for Growth."