Four ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out
From time-to-time I like to peruse LinkedIn. It’s similar to scrolling through any other social app, but for some reason feels more productive (perhaps because it’s a business-related platform?) Sometimes I look at people I don’t know, but most of the time I tend to search people I do, or once did, to find out what they’re up to.
In one of those fits of scrolling and searching I decided to look up my older brother Zach’s LinkedIn profile. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of what he does for a living, but I was curious to have a deeper understanding.
When I landed on his page it seemed like the standard profile until I read his bio. It is one of the funniest, most original things I’ve ever seen on LinkedIn. Being his brother, I was not shocked at all, but it got me thinking. In a world where job competition is fierce and employers are wanting to know more about applicants as people, why do 99% of all LinkedIn profiles look near-identical?
In this article I offer four ways to make your LinkedIn stand out from the crowd.
Show your personality
As I mention in the intro, my brother has a very hilarious “about” section (which you can check out here). Though it serves to make his profile very memorable, it also gives the reader some insight into his personality. Reading it you know he has a sharp sense of humor, is creative, and willing to take some risks (not everyone can pull off that bio).
Now, I’m not suggesting you try to put together your best “tight five” and repurpose it as your LInkedIn bio. However, what I am saying is you should embrace who you are and reflect that in some way in your bio. That could mean talking about hobbies outside of work, or things that excite you most about your position.
The main goal is to offer something beyond the standard information. If your bio simply reads as a narrative version of your resume, it’s kind of a lost opportunity. So, don’t be afraid to go a bit beyond the norm and take some chances.
Remember, you can always edit your bio later if you decide you don’t like something. So, it’s a pretty low stakes game.
Get (and give) endorsements
If over 90% of us consult online reviews about a product prior to making a purchase, how likely do you think it is someone will try to find references about you when considering you for a job? I would think pretty likely.
A skill endorsement, or recommendation, on LinkedIn is similar to a product getting a great review online. It’s utilizing something called social proof. The basic idea being, if other people say something is good, then it must be.
If all things were equal between you and another candidate having those endorsements of your skills and character could be what makes you stand out more. Also, considering asking managers and peers to endorse you. Having a good variety can be helpful.
Along with receiving endorsements, you should do your best to give them. Think about it this way, if someone asks for your endorsement it means they think your stamp of approval is meaningful and thus elevates your status in some way.
It’s also good etiquette for when asking someone for an endorsement. By reciprocating their kindness you can also deepen your connection. And it never hurts to have more people on your side.
Don’t be too formal
Since LinkedIn is meant for professional use, it’s only natural that you want to come off as impressive and knowledgeable. However, sometimes that comes at expense of sounding natural and approachable.
Think about it, how many times have you read something like, “I’m looking to leverage my business acumen so as to contribute to the overall success and growth of a business enterprise.”
Now, think about how many times you’ve ever heard someone say that same sentence out loud. Chances are very few examples come to mind. There’s a simple reason for that: no one talks that way. As a person who writes words for a living I understand the appeal.
Using big, SAT, words make you feel as though you’re coming across in a better light. But a lot of the time it really just makes things confusing to read, or can make someone seem as if they’re not very approachable.
Any time someone asks me for writing advice the main thing I suggest is to write how they speak. You want all of your communication, written and spoken, to be consistent. When your writing is reflective of your speaking it helps with that consistency.
Striking a balance is what’s most important. Basically, instead of going full on formal in your writing, take a business-casual approach. Slightly refined, but not stuffy.
Offer your thoughts
How often do you see “leadership skills” listed as a desirable trait for potential candidates of a job? In my experience, it’s quite often. And it makes sense. Companies benefit from independent thinkers who consider things critically.
One way to show off those traits is by writing thought pieces. They can range from being about the role you’re in, or maybe there’s a certain industry trend happening you have an opinion on. Writing an article, or even post, on the topic shows you’re engaged with your work and the larger world surrounding it.
It can also be an opportunity to interact with others in your industry and network. So, if you do decide to write something, share it out with your network and ask for feedback and their thoughts.
Not only will it give you deeper insight, but it has the possibility to open doors and make connections you didn’t have previously. Also, since not everyone will take the time to write a thought piece, it can serve as a unique profile item. We tend to remember things that are novel.
In a hyper-competitive job market just getting noticed can be tough to do. If you have a bland LinkedIn profile, you could be doing yourself a disservice. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you should invest some amount of thought into your profile.
Try to add in some touches to make your profile more personal. You don’t have to go over-the-top, but it should feel like you. Also, don’t shy away from sharing your thoughts and opinions. By doing so you’re letting anyone viewing your profile you’re engaged with the work you’re doing, which is a great attribute.
So, go freshen up your profile and don’t be scared to try something new. It might prove to be more powerful than you think.
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