How to stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn

As having a LinkedIn makeover seems very popular with my clients at the moment, I am posting an updated version of an article I wrote a few months ago. While the tips are mainly aimed at helping job-hunters, the principles apply to anyone wanting to make a good impression on LinkedIn…

I revamped the profile of a friend whose job-hunting efforts had been in the doldrums for several months. Almost immediately she started to receive expressions of interest.

So what’s the secret?stand out pencil

  • First, before I take all the glory, I have to point out that, as with many social networks, LinkedIn likes change, so do update your profile on a regular basis. It also likes to see that you’re building your network of contacts, so invest effort there as well. Join groups. Participate in discussions. Endorse and recommend – and don’t be shy about asking for the favour to be returned.
  • Next, repeat after me: “A LinkedIn profile is not a CV”. You don’t have to write a boring, chronological job-by-job account. Start with a summary of the difference that you make in your work. Is there anything special about you? If so, put it at the top, not buried six jobs down. In my friend’s case, it was languages for business. Even if the prospective employer wasn’t looking for a languages expert, it made her stand out from the crowd in highlighting her international expertise.
  • Give three key examples of jobs or projects and the impact of your contribution. Use sensible, easily understandable job titles – not some obscure jargon that makes sense only inside a particular company. Show the profile to a trusted friend – can they understand it? If not, it’s time for some serious editing.
  • Don’t be too modest. Does your personality shine through? What do you do so well that you take it for granted? Doesn’t everyone do that? No, they don’t. Again, a friend or colleague may be able to offer a fresh perspective.
  • Last but not least, think search engine optimisation: what will the potential employer be looking for – job titles, skills, qualities, experience? Weave those terms into your profile, preferably in the headings.

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