Career Advice

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out From the Crowd

John Smith

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform, engaging over 610 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Considering the extensive number of employers, leaders and companies on the platform, LinkedIn provides students and new graduates with a great opportunity to build their professional brand and network. It’s an essential tool for any student looking to enter the workforce, and as LinkedIn blog contributor Omar Garriott noted, “If you’re not on LinkedIn, you simply don’t exist in the working world.” With that in mind, if you are a student, recent graduate or simply seeking employment and you do not have a LinkedIn account, take a moment and create one right now.

LinkedIn profiles can range in professionalism and detail. Many people simply choose to display the companies they have worked for and their educational background. Others take the time to refine their profile, crafting unique personal descriptions and adding information to every applicable profile section. Regardless of how much information you include, one thing is certain- having a strong, clever and positive profile will help you stand out among competing students and graduates. Here are a couple of LinkedIn must-haves that will improve your profile from good to great.

The first LinkedIn essential is a high quality, professional profile picture. Your picture is the first thing people will look at when they visit your profile and it will act as their first impression of you. According to LinkedIn, profiles with a picture receive 14 times more visits than those without. So, if you need to round-up all of your friends, dress up in your finest work attire and head to a nice building on campus to have a LinkedIn photo shoot- do it!

Another way to upgrade your profile is by adding a unique headline and summary. Your headline will appear directly below your profile picture and can showcase your current position at a company, education or even briefly describe your personal value proposition. The Muse describes the LinkedIn headline as a “120-character section of prime marketing real estate”, and recommends that users try discarding the traditional company/education headline and write a title that acts as a ‘why you?’ statement. Here are some examples of clever headlines:

 “Customer-focused pro who can programme every robot in your manufacturing facility. Specialising in ABB, FANUC, and Kawasaki robots.”

Similarly, the summary section provides you with a space to create somewhat of an unconventional cover letter. This may include a few short paragraphs that focus on your past work experience, personal values and characteristics, or an anecdotal story. The purpose of the summary section is to explain your experience, goals, and qualifications in a concise manner.  In general, when completing your headline and summary, try to avoid commonly used buzzwords as they will dilute the effectiveness of your profile. The Financial Post recently compiled a list of overused buzzwords that we recommend you take a look at before writing anything on your profile.

A final piece of advice for students and new graduates would be to remain active and relevant on LinkedIn. This includes purposefully building your network and interacting with posts and people on a regular basis. Liking, sharing and connecting will help your profile gain exposure and build your personal brand. This activity may also help you gain an important referral or interview. According to Forbes, 80% of job openings are never advertised. If you have always wanted to work for a specific company, build your network and reach out to someone you have a mutual connection with. Many positions that are created or available are never even posted online.

As LinkedIn blog contributor Omar Garriott said, making smart changes to your LinkedIn profile can act as “a little investment in your future.” So give your LinkedIn profile some time and attention, and the small changes that you make could have a positive impact on your student or working career.

See how FDM Group can help you develop the professional skills to kick-start your career today. 

Featured image credit: Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash