Making the most out of LinkedIn (Part I: Your Profile)

Some stats say that 60-80% of senior jobs are found through networking. Nowadays networking can be done virtually and LinkedIn, the world's largest professional social network with over 225 million users, is your first port of call. 

Last year members made almost six billion people searches on LinkedIn, meaning recruiters are scouring the site daily. Here are some tips to help you on your way:

1. Start with your picture

A blog pageToo many banking professionals sign up to LinkedIn just to be there but never spend a minute to populate their profile. If you want to look good in searches (remember that investors, partners, clients as well as recruiters will search for you), you ought to upload a professional photo. Simply by having a picture, you are nine times more likely to be found in search results - by professional photo I mean a clean shot of you in office attire with a non-distracting background. The photos from your mountaineering or sailing adventures do not qualify here! If you don't have a good picture, spend a little on getting professional shots done - trust me, it is worth it!

2. Fill in employment details

Second, you will want to fill in your current and previous employers and correct job titles. Next to each position you can add a few bullet points about your individual contribution and achievements - quantify results as much as you can. If the companies you have worked for are not well-known, you may want to add a sentence describing what they do. And remember, a small firm is called "boutique" and if you worked for Lehman Brothers you can change the employer to whomever bought that piece of the business (Barclays, for instance).

3. Populate your summary and headline

Your summary is a free-text field where you can write a paragraph or two about your experience and above all about what you are able to offer the next company. If you are able to mention client names, please do as they will add credibility and help recruiters to find you in searches. The headline is the text right next to your name at the top of your LinkedIn profile, you should customise this and flesh out what you do, using up to 120 characters. Yes, your job title will be of interest but a few keywords after it will help clarify what you actually do and, again, it will help you get on the radar of recruiters and stand out from the crowd.

4. Add media to your profile

A relatively new feature on LinkedIn is the ability to embed media files such as videos, slides and documents straight onto your profile. Do you give regular presentations to investors? Put the slides on your profile. Have you done any video interviews? Embed those clips. As they say in Hollywood, "Don't tell me, show me" - you are better off visualising what you do than putting it into bog-standard text.

5. Get recommended

As a banking professional, it is all about who you know and who vouches for you. Try to aim high and get your previous bosses and/or clients to write a thoughtful recommendation on your profile, it will then be there as a reference and you can point employers and recruiters there to check it out. A rule of thumb is to get one or two recommendations per position you have had, but cap it at ten by simply hiding the ones that are no longer relevant. Whatever you do, don't get recommendations from team members or others on the same level as you and never reciprocate them as it looks unprofessional.

Once you have gone through these steps with your profile, you should reach what is known as All-Star profile status, basically indicating that you are good to go. Next time we will look at how to grow your network and approach prospective employers.

Jorgen Sundberg is the founder of Link Humans, a social media marketing agency in London. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter @jorgensundberg and LinkedIn  


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