Your University Name    the Competitive Edge

with Kate Paine

In this video Kate Paine describes the top 11 tips to differentiate your profile so that you can stand out amongst your peers on LinkedIn. “If you want to stand out with the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you.” This quote from Richard Branson talks about telling your story and thinking about your target audience so that you are really giving them what they are looking for. Here is the list of top 11 tips to make major improvements to your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Professional-Looking Photo
  2. Custom URL/Web Address
  3. Search Engine-Optimized Headline
  4. Contact Information
  5. Compelling Summary
  6. Work Experience
  7. Volunteer Section
  8. Honors & Recognition
  9. Courses and Projects
  10. Publishing Articles
  11. Background Banner Image

The First 5 Tips

Tip #1 Professional-Looking Photo:
  • High resolution: Have a professional photographer take it or someone who's really good with the camera but not using a cell phone.
  • Good lighting and background: Using a white background is effective in LinkedIn. Because your headshot is a little bit smaller in a circle.
  • In focus
  • Professional: you are wearing the clothes that would be what you wear to work for the type of job you are looking for. Have a facial expression that is comfortable.

Tip #2 Custom URL/Web Address: A custom URL is a web address specific to you and perhaps your name.
  • On upper right part of your profile page, click on 'Edit your public profile'.
  • Put in your first and last name. Click on the pencil icon and then it will come up and give you a space after that forward slash (/) to put your name in there.
  • Add an initial and see how that works for you. Some people actually use their Twitter handle but please don't use the '@' symbol. You also have 5 to 30 characters.

Tip #3 Search Engine-Optimized Headline: The search engine-optimized headline is a little is critical for you to be found on online. People go into the search engine (e.g. Google, LinkedIn or Bing) to look for someone like you in your industry, but they don't necessarily know your name specifically.

  • Your headline is the first thing read on our profile (e.g. Google Marketing Solutions, MBA Intern - MBA Student at Foster School of Business, Google – University of Washington)
  • Tells a mini story about you so a visitor will want to learn more (e.g. Tax Reducer – Small Business Lover – Family Finance Optimizer – Out of Box Jumper)
  • Use keywords relevant to your industry and skills (e.g. MBA Candidate in Sustainable Entrepreneurship at UVM's Grossman School of Business).
  • A keyword/search term, a rich headline gets you discovered online (e.g. Public Health Advocate Campaign Strategist – Writer – Storyteller & Communications Boss – Trail Runner) So put a little something quirky at the end and show a little bit about something you enjoy. It can be a conversation starter or icebreaker with a recruiter.

Tip #4 Contact Information:
  • Your Profile: Take that LinkedIn address that is specific to you. You can create a business card for yourself. Or you can also use it on the top of your resume or on the signature of your email. So you can really utilize that user friendly readable URL in many places.
  • Websites: For website you have up to three websites that you can list and those are all clickable. So if somebody clicks on those it will take them to the websites. Any other place in LinkedIn where you put up your URL it is not clickable you can still do it. Because if somebody is interested and want to go further they'll cut and paste the link.
  • Phone: You can put your mobile work number or you can get a 'Google Voice number'. You need a Gmail account to be able to get this number. Create a different phone number-with your area code- in Google Voice (free). Forward the number to your cell, so your personal number isn't 'out there'.
  • Email: Create a separate email account from your personal account for use in the public domain.

Tip #5 Compelling Summary: This is the meat of your profile.
  • 3 Elements to Grab your Reader's Attention
    1. Begin with who you are... Your 'slice of life' story.
    2. Identify or name the problem you solve (e.g. in job descriptions pay attention to the kinds of things that putting out there, “We need somebody who can do X”.
    3. Describe, How you solve their problem... Your specific skills or highlight a brief case study
  • Attention grabbing headline or interesting intro for the summary is really important. Because again that's another way to hook your reader to keep them captivated so that they will want to learn more about you.

    The sample sentences to start the summary:
  • “I swam my way into college”: This was a person who was actually an MBA candidate. she had got into her undergraduate on a swim scholarship and so swimming was her thing and it is what got her in the college. In fact she got a full scholarship for it. She put it into beginning of her summary to get somebody's attention.
  • “Inspiring others to focus on their strengths and skills to reach their personal and professional goals is where I thrive. My belief in transformational, lifelong learning led to my career in mission driven organization committed to making an impact on people's lives.”
  • You could also take a nugget of that and put in your headline as a slogan:
    • “Creativity led to entrepreneurship and the pursuit of marketing. I enjoyed inventing products, and finding ways to translate creativity to the business world from designing t-shirts to starting companies, which help veterans and entrepreneurs.”
  • “I'm looking to further develop and elevate my career in brand management”: which is what he wants to specialize in. A company with an entrepreneurial spirit - one where I can provide both a real impact on the success of the business and share a sincere interest for its products – is where I'll shine. Authentic, effective, and high quality products motivate me to be a strong advocate for the company through or shared values.”

Notice: Those first two sentences of your summary are critical. In the new LinkedIn the first two lines of your summary appear just below your headline and your profile shot. And so if you can have that first sentences be something that really grabs somebody's attention to click that 'See more' link that is your goal here.

The following sections can be added under 'Background' and you can see them on the upper right. Click on 'Add new profile' section and this will open up and it shows you the listing of the sections for your background, Work Experience, Education and Volunteer Experience. Click on the '+' button to add the relevant sections.

Please continue to Part 2 for Tips #6 - #11 to Differentiate Your LinkedIn Profile and Stand Out.