8 Steps to Create the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile

Did you know that 85% of jobs are filled via some form of networking...

But just 1 in 4 students have a LinkedIn profile?

With social distancing putting a stop to face-to-face events this year, it's more important than ever to start building your digital network.

Get ahead of the curve by following these 8 steps to create the ultimate LinkedIn profile...

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is like Facebook. But instead of sharing funny cat videos, you'll be sharing your achievements, your skills, and showing employers why you're the perfect candidate for their company.

In other words, LinkedIn is a tool you can use to market yourself favourably and develop an attractive personal brand. Watch this webinar for more help with building your personal brand.

LinkedIn's features can be summarised in THREE ways:

  • A professional network for connecting with industry leaders, colleagues and employers.
  • A jobs board for sourcing and applying for placements, internships and graduate jobs.
  • An educational platform with virtual courses designed to help you develop your skills.

8 Steps to Create the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile

Before you start growing your connections, you'll want to get your profile in shape.

Here are 8 simple steps to help you create a LinkedIn profile that will get you noticed.

Step 1: Create a LinkedIn account

If you already have a LinkedIn account - then you can skip this stage!

If you don't, register on LinkedIn here. It takes two minutes. You’ll need to pop in a few details (name, email, the usual!) and a few clicks later you’ll have your own LinkedIn profile. 

Now to make it look the part...

Step 2: Upload a LinkedIn profile photo

Your LinkedIn photo will be the first thing employers see. 

Plus, profiles with a professional headshot receive on average 14x more visits.

But that doesn't mean you have to pay big bucks for a fancy photographer. You can do it yourself. Find a clean, neutral background to stand in front of, with the 60% of the frame being made up of your face.

Think clean & professional.

Not sure what to wear? As a rule of thumb, take a photo in something you'd wear to an interview. And take the photo in a place with good natural lighting. You want to be clearly visible.

Step 3: Design a LinkedIn cover photo

Your LinkedIn cover photo is one of the BEST ways to get noticed.

And that's because so many people don't bother to include one on their profile. A cover photo is a great way to show off your personality, outline your industry passions and your key skills.

Not sure how to go about creating one?

Use these FREE, LinkedIn-sized cover photo templates

LinkedIn Cover Photo

A top-notch example

Step 4: Write a LinkedIn headline

The headline sits nicely next to your profile photo and is, along with your photo, one of the first things potential employers and your professional network will see.

Consider how you would summarise your current position e.g. 'Durham University Student Searching for IT Graduate Roles' or 'Financial Analyst (Intern) at Barclays'. Our top tip here is to outline your current role or the role you wish to seek, using the most simple terms.

The headline should immediately tell an employer who you are, and what you're looking for.

Step 5: Complete your 'about' section 

The 'about' section is your chance to really sell yourself.

Here, you have 2000 free characters to use, in any way you'd like. (Bullet points and statistic-based evidence are a good shout here). We'd recommend including the following in some way...

  • A concise story of your professional journey so far.
  • What interests you about your industry.
  • Your biggest achievements or learnings.
  • What your career goals are.

Step 6: Include your work experience

The 'experience' section makes up the bulk of your profile. So you need to get it right.

The first thing to do is add your (paid and volunteer) work experience. This means listing the company name, your job title and the start / end dates of this role. 

Underneath each experience, add 2-3 bullet points that summarise your key responsibilities. Remember to write in first person and front load your description with achievements

Measurable successes e.g. 'Achieved a 6% increase in sales over 3 months, through redesigning sales packages' are great to include. They show employers or recruiters that you can produce real results.

Step 7: Add up to 50 skills

Listing just 5 skills on your profile gets you on average, 17x more profile views.

That's because every skill you add bumps up your search ranking. This is especially important for recruiters looking for candidates with specific skills. The more skills you add, the more likely you'll be considered as a 'match' for roles relevant to your field of interest.

Once you've added skills, ask your peers to endorse them. This acts as a stamp of approval that shows you really do have the skills you claim.

Step 8: Ask for recommendations

A recommendation is a short paragraph (2-3 sentences) that others can leave on your profile. It's the equivalent of having a reference on your CV.

You can ask your peers or colleagues to recommend you. Don't forget to be polite enough to return the favour! This will nicely sum up your profile by adding a personal, human touch.

There you go. Everything you need to deliver a cracking first impression to anyone that comes across your LinkedIn profile. Good luck!