Generally speaking, you are under no legal obligation to provide a job reference for an employee if they ask you for one. If you do make a reference as an employer, you must be fair and accurate. How do you write a job reference that is fair and accurate for a terrible employee? Does this put you at risk of being sued? Read on about how to write and understand fair job references, without putting...
The internet is an important stage for many people to present themselves to others – including from a professional point of view. With over 100 million active users, LinkedIn is one of the most important social business networks. More and more people rely on LinkedIn for job searches and networking; on the other hand, recruiters and HR staff use the site to find and contact interesting candidates. Therefore, the better you design your LinkedIn profile, the greater the chance that recruiters or HR staff will notice you. If you proactively apply to companies via LinkedIn, your profile should also give a competent impression. It doesn’t take much effort to do this. Follow these tips to optimise your LinkedIn profile.
- How can you edit your LinkedIn profile?
- Creating a professional LinkedIn profile: the basics
- The perfect LinkedIn profile– made possible with these tips
- What not to do in your LinkedIn profile
How can you edit your LinkedIn profile?
You can access the "Edit" menu via the pencil icon on the right of your profile. There you can enter personal data such as your first and last name or your current job position as well as your contact details. A click on "See contact info" opens a box where you can enter your website and, for example, your telephone number and e-mail address. You can also access your public profile via your profile URL. There you can see how your profile is displayed to other users and you can edit your URL, content, and visibility settings.
Creating a professional LinkedIn profile: the basics
A complete profile gives a professional impression and is a basic that’s needed in order to use LinkedIn successfully. So what belongs in a LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn profiles with a photo of the user are visited much more frequently than profiles without a photo. In addition, contact requests from users with photos are accepted more frequently. Your photo should match your relevant industry and give a serious impression. Professionally-taken photos have proven to work most efficiently with many users – however, the photo should not come across as too serious. It never hurts to smile.
In addition to your current job title, the profile headline also includes information on the skills and qualifications that are relevant for the respective industry. Your profile slogan appears in the Google search results and can encourage a recruiter to click if your headline gives off a positive impression. But be sure to stay authentic and only state the skills and qualifications you actually have.
In this section, you have the opportunity to write a short text that describes you as a person in a brief and concise way. The summary is located directly below your personal details. Ideally, you should write in a clear style by revealing the most important things about yourself in short sentences.
You have the option of uploading certain media to your profile. Use this option, for example, if you want to present samples of your work. However, this feature is not intended for sharing private photos. Only upload files that prove what qualifications you have.
You can link to your own website or another specific website. Depending on your industry, a link to your Instagram profile (for artists, photographers, etc.) or Twitter account is also recommended. In this case, it’s important to only link to content that is relevant for you as a business person.
This part of your profile resembles the well-known curriculum vitae. It will increase your credibility and allow visitors to better classify you (e.g. by indicating your university). Detailed job descriptions are less common. In the "Education" section, however, it is advisable to emphasise certain focal points, e.g. your major fields of study. The topic of your dissertation or thesis may also be relevant.
You can easily export your LinkedIn profile as a CV in PDF format and use it for your application. To do this, click on the "More ..." button on your profile and select "Save as PDF." In principle, however, an individually designed CV leaves a better impression.
Skills and expertise
LinkedIn allows you to specify three top skills. Think carefully about which of your skills are most relevant to the visitors coming to your profile and which skills best represent you. If you are unsure how to formulate your knowledge and skills, look at your colleagues’ profiles and compare them. In addition to the top skills, you can define as many other skills as you want, but they will only be seen if you click on them. Don't exaggerate the details so that your profile remains credible.
Qualifications and awards
This section is where you can add everything to make you stand out. It is important to add as much relevant content as possible to complete your profile. LinkedIn offers you the following options:
- Publications: If you are an author, editor, or copywriter, you can enter your references here.
- Certifications: If you have a relevant certificate, you will find the appropriate position here to indicate this. In addition to the certificate name, you can also enter the certification authority and the license number to add credibility to your entry.
- Patents: If you own a patent, you can enter it here. For this, you need three pieces of information: the patent name, the relevant patent office, and the patent or application number.
- Courses: Here you can specify a course that you want to take. You also have the option of linking the course with your employer or training institution.
- Projects: If you are working on a project, it is often useful to indicate this. You can also link the project to your job or instructor.
- Honors & awards: If you have received an award, you can document it here.
- Exam results: Special examinations with presentable results should be placed here. When it comes to final examinations at universities, for example, it is customary to include the topic of the final thesis or dissertation in the details of the training.
- Languages: Language skills are extremely relevant information for the modern professional world, which is why you should state them in full. However, it is important not to overestimate yourself here: Even if you have studied Spanish, for example, you are not at the level of a native speaker, but should write that you are "business fluent."
- Organisations: You may be a member of a relevant organisation, but you should indicate this here so that you appear in the search results when someone searches for the respective organisation.
Here, links to the subpages of the network that you "follow" are found. These are employers, training centres, interest groups, and associations. It makes sense to only follow those pages that represent you as a person in some way. Professional interests should count above all. You can also follow companies and groups on LinkedIn that have something to do with your private interests and hobbies. However, consider how these interests might be perceived by recruiters. For example, a group with a particular political stance might be controversial. Ultimately, it is important that you leave a serious impression with your profile.
The perfect LinkedIn profile– made possible with these tips
A professional looking LinkedIn profile has many advantages. On the one hand, the profile gives you a good overview of your career, skills, and qualifications. LinkedIn also allows you to network with people that you would rather not send a friend request to on Facebook, namely your colleagues, superiors, and decision-makers in your field of work. It's true: Almost nobody rejects a contact request via LinkedIn because both sides always benefit from expanding their own network. In mass social networks, users are actually more selective, because private content is shared more often there.
It is clear that you will benefit more from your LinkedIn profile if you constantly expand your network. This is only possible if your profile convinces visitors that you are an interesting person or a valuable contact with whom it is worth networking. The profile is the heart of LinkedIn and you should present it in the best possible way – whether for potential employers, your colleagues, or other people. If you follow our tips, you will be one step further to successfully using LinkedIn.
Get an idea of how companies use LinkedIn to understand what is important in the network. If you want to attract attention to companies via LinkedIn, a look at how others use it won't hurt.
Create a customised URL for your LinkedIn profile
When you create a LinkedIn profile, a URL is automatically generated for your profile. The so-called vanity URL is much shorter and simpler and can be created individually. Your profile gives a more professional impression with a vanity URL. To shorten your profile URL, first access your public profile. With a click on "Edit URL", you can now edit your profile URL and change it at any time. A shorter URL is also more convenient if you want to link to your LinkedIn profile, e.g. in a cover letter. URLs that are too long look cumbersome and messy.
Create a profile button for your LinkedIn profile
Would you like to make it as easy as possible for users to network with you? The interactive profile button is ideal for this. It can be integrated almost anywhere without any problems, e.g. in your e-mail signature or on your website. With LinkedIn, these buttons are called profile badges. Various designs are available for these. The "Badge Builder" feature can also be accessed via the public profile settings.
How can you build a network? At the beginning, you should network with known contacts such as work colleagues, fellow students, and friends. The "people you may know" area shows you other members that you can network with. To connect with contacts relevant within your industry, it's a good idea to join appropriate groups and share posts on "Pulse," LinkedIn's news channel.
Link to websites
By adding a link to your profile, it allows visitors to go directly to a specific website. For these links you can create individual anchor texts. This allows you to personalise your LinkedIn profile and increase overall attention. Under the menu item "Contact info," you can add any number of websites and select a suitable category: personal website or company website, blog, RSS feed, or portfolio.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile for search engines (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is a broad field that even covers social networks and profiles. This means that you can also optimise your LinkedIn profile for Google search. To do this, you need to use the appropriate terms that you want to rank in your profile. If a user searches for these terms or topics, there is a higher probability that your profile will be shown to them. Only use keywords that are related to your everyday life and job. Also be especially careful when creating your LinkedIn profile headline – after all, it will appear directly in the Google search results.
Add work examples
More and more employers are recruiting new applicants via direct search and are therefore looking for suitable employees for their company in business networks. For this reason, it is advisable to upload selected sample work as a video, image, or text file to your profile or at least to link to a file (e.g. if you host these files on your own website). Potential customers can get an impression of your work this way. For example, under "Work experience" in your profile, you can add media files to your individual work sections, which will then be displayed in your profile.
Use the summary section effectively
The "Summary" section contains a short text, which is found directly below your personal data. Many LinkedIn members underestimate the importance of this feature, and the text field is one of the first things someone visiting your profile sees. There you have the chance to reveal something about yourself in a more informal way. It helps if you imagine this field as a kind of teaser, which should give visitors a first impression of you.
Think about what recruiters and HR staff should know about you, so that they get an authentic and convincing picture of who you are. However, formulate your summary as compactly as possible and make sure you have optimal keyword density. Use industry-specific technical terms and keywords that show off your expertise. This is your chance to be creative, but stay informative and objective!
Continually improve your LinkedIn profile
Once you have set up a satisfactory LinkedIn profile, this does not mean that your work is finished. On the contrary; you should check regularly to make sure that your profile is up-to-date. If you gain new qualifications, knowledge, skills, etc., you should mention this in your profile. Many users make the mistake of updating LinkedIn only when they are back on the job market. However, if you maintain your profile regularly, even though you are not looking for a new job, you are better equipped in case that time does come.
Not only is it important to keep your profile up to date, but it's also important to constantly expand your network and, if necessary, be active on LinkedIn by sharing and commenting on relevant content. This is the only way to attract the attention of those users who might later become important to you.
What not to do in your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn profiles offer you several possibilities for individualisation. However, LinkedIn is a business network aimed at professional business contacts. Never operate LinkedIn like an ordinary social network. Always keep in mind that stricter rules apply here and a certain etiquette is expected and rewarded. See LinkedIn as a fancy club where you would always be on your best behaviour. Because almost everyone in this network is only showing their best side, questionable content is all the more noticeable. You should therefore avoid the following "no-gos" at all costs.
Do not post any unprofessional content
Do you want to share a funny picture or video? Have you seen an interesting article that has nothing to do with work? LinkedIn is not the right place for the kind of content that is usually shared on Facebook or Twitter. Normally, LinkedIn also provides you with a special contact list that includes your colleagues, supervisors, and other business contacts. These people are primarily interested in you as a professional or industry contact. Before posting posts, comments, and other content on LinkedIn, carefully consider whether it will improve or ruin your image.
Your profile is not a place for experimenting
LinkedIn is like an event with dress code, where everyone adheres to certain customs. Although a few recruiters are won over by an individual, interesting appearance, this does not mean that you should use a profile photo of you in your beachwear. Your profile headline should represent you as a worker, not necessarily you as a private individual. A joke or a funny saying can scare visitors away, after all, they are expecting insightful information in your headline. That's what it's all about: The profile should contain all important qualifications and skills in a compact and appealing form. If you want to generate attention with other means, you’ll lose credibility.
Take a look at your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile and compare the differences to LinkedIn. This will give you a good understanding of how different networks reward different appearances. On LinkedIn, you present an ideal image of yourself, on the mass networks you’re more likely to show a “real” image. Anyway, it's usually a good idea to separate professional life from private life on the internet.
Avoid making spelling mistakes
It goes without saying that spelling and grammar mistakes should be avoided. On LinkedIn, however, mistakes like these create an even worse impression than elsewhere due to the professional context. It is therefore better to check your texts over and over and, if necessary, have the profile proofread by someone else. Errors in profile headlines are particularly noticeable. Many recruiters and HR staff skip profiles in the search results if they notice obvious errors.
Avoid vague information
Communicate as precisely as possible who you are, where you have worked (or are currently working), and what you can offer. For example, students should not just call themselves students, but should indicate their field of study. Your job title should describe as accurately as possible what you are actually doing. For example, don’t just write "marketing," but use more detailed job titles such as "Content Marketing Manager." Recruiters and HR managers pay attention to precise information like this. They may also search specifically for these keywords. It would be annoying if you don’t appear in the search results due to inaccurate information.