Updated: Jul 21, 2022
There are two types of people in this world: Those who love LinkedIn and those who hate it.
And I can see the argument on both sides. On the one hand, you have people who have made solid connections and even locked in their dream job. But on the other, you have people that somehow end up seeing all the outrageous content that’s all like:
I went from janitor to CEO in 3 weeks
Want to know how?
Find out below👇🏽
Regardless of which side you’re on, we still need LinkedIn! In this post, I want to share with you four ways to spice up your profile to help you put forth your best self and stand out! You want these things if you’re building your brand or looking for your next job 🙃
Let’s get to it!
Profile picture & background
If you don’t have a profile picture of yourself, add one. Now, this may sound like an obvious one, but I’ve heard from people from my black and brown community that they’re hesitant to add a profile picture because doing so may cause them to get passed up. Firstly, it sucks that we live in a world where this is a thing. I read an article on LinkedIn by someone named Victor Lewis on the topic, and he captured this well by saying:
“Whether you add a profile picture or not, people are going to find out your race at some point. So if there are some prejudices out there, why not deal with them upfront and be overlooked once if that is the case, rather than potentially being overlooked every year on a job at promotion time?”
I couldn’t agree more with him –– if a company is giving you this energy upfront, it should not be worth your time and energy.
So what sort of picture should you have? Your profile picture should be a reflection of who you truly are. It doesn’t have to be a boring passport-esque picture –– it can be fun. On the flip side, it’s not a Tinder profile either, so you have to work within this spectrum.
Here’s what to avoid:
A picture of you and other people in it.
A selfie in the car –– I know it’s tempting.
If you feel like you don’t have a “good” picture of yourself to put up, do a little photoshoot with your phone (that’s totally what I did). And if you want to kick it up a notch, hire a professional photographer!
Let’s move on to your background.
This is free space to give your profile a visual pop! LinkedIn offers a handful of background images you can select from, and so does one of my favorite tools, Canva. You can fully customize these free templates.
Your Title is FREE self-advertising; use it wisely!
You don’t have to stick to a title that matches your current role; it can be so much more than this. Your title should tell a story of either what you’re doing and your passion(s) or where you want to go.
For example, if you are a teacher and want to transition to a tech role, your title can be “Tech-driven Educator | Training, and Development” instead of “Teacher at Valley High.” The first title tells me that you have tech in mind, and the “training and development” piece can closely relate to a function within an Onboarding, Success, or Support role.
*Full disclosure: I facepalmed before starting to write this part*
Y’all –– don’t sleep on this section and DON’T WRITE IT IN 3RD PERSON 🗣 it is YOUR LinkedIn, why would someone else write it for you?! #toughlove
Ok… I’m calm now. (If yours is in 3rd person, I hope we can still be friends).
The “About” section is your chance to tell your beautiful story.
What is your journey?
What are you doing right now?
Where do you want to go?
How do you want people to feel after reading this?
She’s a former teacher, and here’s how she made her About section POP:
She connected the dots so well, and she did it by writing as she speaks. This isn’t an essay for your English lit class. This is a chance for you to be YOU. Here’s a hot tip, if you struggle with writing as you speak, go to your memo app (or voice recorder app) and just talk about yourself, where you want to go, etc. Once you have the recording, play it back and write out the best parts.
This section is as easy as copy-paste.
Take what you have in your resume and add them to each job.
If you’re looking to transition to another role, be sure to align your points to the needed skills in the position you aspire to be in. For example, if you’re in retail that wants to break into a customer-facing tech role, you should spotlight your empathy, problem-solving, and upselling skills.
By doing this, you’re making a recruiter’s job much easier. They don’t have to think about drawing the connection between your previous role and the role they’re hiring for; you’ve already done the work for them.
Bonus: Activity Section
If you have done all the above, this is the cherry on top.
You’ll notice that you have an “Activity” section that shows how many connections you have and what you’ve posted, liked, or commented on.
Aesthetically, it will add more visuals to your profile, but personally, if you’re connecting with people and you’re engaging in the content on LinkedIn, you are increasing your presence online.
Think about LinkedIn as a relationship with the person. Creating the account is the first date. The first, second, and third dates will be updating your profile. If you want to make this work, you need to continue putting *in* the work.
That means connecting with people, engaging with content, completing those unnecessary polls. And if you’re feeling bold –which you should!– posting content.
All of these actions add up to that new dream job, new customers, having an audience, creating relationships, and building yourself outside of your 9-5.