In the last 10 years of my executive recruitment career, I’ve viewed more Linkedin profiles than I’ve had cups of coffee. And in that profession you drink a lot of coffee! Linkedin is an important tool used in every comprehensive headhunting strategy and I’ve seen great profiles and really terrible ones. In my work as a career strategist I advise clients on how to create a winning Linkedin profile. Every professional needs one.
Have you ever asked yourself whether your Linkedin profile is doing you justice? Perhaps you’ve wondered about the content: are you saying too much or perhaps you’re saying too little? Maybe you’re concerned about some of your career moves? Are you struggling to link them together in a way that tells your unique story? Or maybe you just haven’t updated it in a while and you’re considering refreshing the content?
I remember writing my first Linkedin profile more than 10 years ago and really struggling with it. I didn’t know how to articulate my skills, capabilities and achievements. I worried about putting myself out there on a social platform for all to see. I didn’t know how to represent my achievements without coming across as big-headed. Perhaps it’s being Irish that we don’t like to brag about ourselves. But being Irish and female was an even bigger hurdle to overcome. Since then the profile has been amended, edited and updated many times but I’ve realised one important thing. It’s never going to be ‘perfect’ and it’s never going to be finished. As long as I keep challenging myself and pushing the boundaries to achieve my career goals my Linkedin profile will struggle to keep up and that’s ok. In fact in my opinion that’s great. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you my number one tip for building a successful profile page.
There are plenty of blogs on social media, tutorials on Youtube and articles written by Linkedin employees giving you advice on how to create and update your profile. They’ll show you how to: upload a background image and a professional headshot; fill in the details of your current and previous roles; complete your education section; publish testimonials and references; add relevant skills, contact details, and so on. With so much information available nowadays there’s no excuse to have an unprofessional looking profile page. Yet so many people still do, and this got me thinking.
Why do so many people still have an incomplete profile page?
Here’s what I think is missing from all the blogs and tutorials and why I believe this one tip is going to help your profile stand out from others. I’ve found that the majority of executives whom I coach haven’t taken the time to think and reflect on their careers and what they want for their lives. With the relentless demands placed on them by colleagues, management and family they don’t have a minute. So how on earth can they find the time to reflect on themselves, what they’ve achieved so far in their careers and what are their future goals? It sounds all too familiar.
I’ve seen executives transform their approach to their careers and their lives when they’ve taken the right amount of time for self reflection and self discovery. They gain clarity. With clarity they find more confidence, more energy and a new found optimism for the future. They reengage with learning & developing new skills. Knowing their value and contribution to an employer enables them to describe themselves, their skills and achievements clearly and succinctly. They are able to write a more relevant and meaningful opening profile paragraph. They use key words and terms that enable their profiles to be found by recruiters and headhunters. They use a strong professional headshot that represents them better. In summary, they create a winning profile page.
I’ve seen most improvement with people whose careers have taken some unusual twists and turns along the way. Perhaps they’ve made choices they look back on with some regret. They’re unsure of their unique story and therefore struggle to communicate this on their profile. But with the right amount of thinking and self reflection, they find their voice again. They can tell their story with confidence and conviction.
So before you jump in to start changing your profile: stop, think and plan. Know who you are and what you stand for. Be clear on the value you bring to others in your network as well as potential employers. Tell your unique story with authenticity and honesty. Give yourself time to reflect on your journey so far and acknowledge all of your wonderful professional achievements.
Trust that the best is yet to come.
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