Your LinkedIn Profile – Sections
Before we begin our discussion on building an impactful profile (“optimization”), let’s briefly introduce the major components of your profile.
Your photo is important. It shows that you are a real person. Since LinkedIn has a professional focus—and you are looking for a job—it is recommended to have a photo taken at a studio by a professional or, at a minimum, a close-up photograph of you professionally dressed. According to experts, “profiles with a photo are fourteen times more likely to be viewed.” Moreover, having a photo makes you thirty-six times more likely to receive a message on LinkedIn.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to your LinkedIn photo. Many of these have been cited in a study by PhotoFeeler, while others should be common sense considering that LinkedIn is a professional networking site.
Be professionally dressed
The photo should be of your head and shoulders
Look directly into the camera; make eye contact
No sunglasses (clear eyeglasses are fine)
No golf course photos
No family portraits
No kids or grandchildren
No shopping mall Glamour Shots
It is highly recommended that your LinkedIn profile photo be professionally taken.
Use the name you commonly go by. If your given name is Richard, but you go by Rich, use Rich. It is permissible to put both your given name and the name you use in quotation marks or parentheses. If you have a common name, you may want to add your middle initial.
What the Pros Say:
What is your opinion about the name a client should use on their LinkedIn profile? Should they use their birth name, the name they go by, or their birth name with the name they go by in quotation marks?
Most often, the name they go by. But distinction is important. For example, there are many Kim Bakers, so even though that’s the name I go by, I use my full name Kimberly Robb Baker so that there is only one of me on LinkedIn and other online platforms.
Kim I recommend that the name used on a LinkedIn profile should match how the individual is known in the workplace so the profile is easily found when doing a search. For consistency, that form of the name is also the one that should be used on the resume.
Professional designations appearing in the name field. There is a difference of opinion among commentators on this topic. However, it can be to your advantage to put one (maybe two) notable professional designations behind your name. Designations should be significant to your industry, add to your credibility, or create a competitive advantage in the job market. Using one notable designation could increase the odds of having your profile viewed.
What the Pros Say:
What is your opinion about including one or two professional designations in the last name box of a LinkedIn profile?
For job seekers who have industry-specific designations that align with their job search goals, it is imperative to include them in the name and/or headline sections of their profile, since these two locations are prime real estate on LinkedIn.
I recommend listing a law degree (JD), relevant master’s, MBA, or doctorate after the last name. You want those professional designations to stand out. They can also be used strategically to position yourself in certain industries. For example, someone may have a JD but may not actively practice law. However, a JD is a very valuable educational tool that can position someone in business consulting or management work. So, definitely stand proud of your educational achievements and don’t be afraid to boast about them in your LinkedIn profile.
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