Spring is nearly over – don’t let the season pass without updating your key social media accounts for maximum impact in the impact sector! LinkedIn is particularly valuable for social impact and environmental professionals working to achieve results across the three levels of the triple bottom line. With few formal networks and a multi-disciplinary skillset, we don’t tend to fit into the typical boxes. This is a major challenge for those of us working in the sector as well as those looking to break into it from another career.
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to articulate your personal commitment and a chance to connect with like-minded peers and potential employers. 77% of all job openings are posted on LinkedIn and 48% of recruiters post jobs on LinkedIn and nowhere else. So if yours fails to communicate your passion, your ideas, your current position and your hopes for future engagement, now is the time to re-frame it! Here are my top five tips for an impactful profile.
1. Make a Good First Impression
Simply creating a profile is not enough to make you stand out to your network or to potential employers. Make a good first impression with the thing they see first – your photo! Upload a photo that looks professional (not one of you at a party with your ex cropped out!), ideally a black and white headshot taken with a lens camera by a real photographer. If you can’t afford to hire a pro, make sure you look natural and approachable and keep the background simple. You can also add eye-catching imagery to your profile by including a header photo that can reflect one of the impact issues are you passionate about, bringing a bit of colour to your page.
2. Present a Clear Career Story
Your LinkedIn profile should not be a digital version of your resume. You need to grab viewers’ attention with a short but compelling story about who you are and what you do. This should be written in the first person in a conversational, friendly-but-business tone in 2000 characters—no more, and certainly no less! To help increase your SEO, use the “skills and expertise” section to add five to ten keywords throughout to help tell the reader who you are and what you do. For some additional tips on how to write your LinkedIn brand story, check out my blog on transforming your bio for LinkedIn.
3. Keep Things Short
According to a study by Microsoft, humans now have the digital attention span of a goldfish. The average person loses focus in just 8 seconds. Don’t let that be the reason your LinkedIn profile fails to impress. Keep everything on your profile short and to the point. There is no need to go into great detail about your positions here. Choose 5-7 of your biggest accomplishments and draw attention to them in your LinkedIn summary. Delete any unnecessary words or phases, and when possible let your titles and company logos do the talking. No need to drone on about what you did in each role in the Experience section.
4. Promote Yourself
Don’t be shy. LinkedIn is a marketing platform that you should use to get yourself “out there”. Put your marketing hat on and think of ways to help instill confidence in your reader. Solicit recommendations from coworkers and previous clients. Be clear about what you have accomplished and what sets you apart. And using a personal and friendly tone makes you more accessible to your reader. As Sean Martin, content marketing manager at Directive Consulting said, “[LinkedIn] is also great for advertising your services because of its ability to target interests, demographics, and job categories. You want to make the most out of LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities…to generate the type of traffic you’re looking for.”
5. Make the Most of your Network
Perhaps one of the most obvious, but also most important, aspects of LinkedIn is the ability to connect and browse your extended networks for new connections. You never know who might help your find your next job. Go into the profile of one of your most relevant contacts and click “see connections” at the top of the right column on their page. Scan for people in companies, industries or positions you would like to target, then ask them to connect. Don’t do this haphazardly though, since LinkedIn will suspend your account if too many people complain they don’t know you. Always add a customized message to the invitation explaining why you’d like to connect. Check out my recent blog on how to get a “yes” from your network for some more detailed tips.
Best of luck with your LinkedIn Spring cleaning! For more in depth and tailored career advice take a look at my coaching packages, designed to help you prepare for and negotiate the key stages of a successful job search.