You can utilize LinkedIn to share your strengths. Here are five tips on how and where to do this.
1) The section right underneath your name is called the Headline. You have 220 characters of space to enter in this area on desktop and 240 on mobile. It is rumored to be the most heavily weighted field on your LinkedIn profile in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s why you should fill it in with keyword phrases for your industry that illustrate your expertise (examples: leadership, project management, human resources, executive, higher education, or sales). Add words that showcase your best assets, using the search terms you think a recruiter would use to try to find someone like you.
2) The About section comes next and it’s another place to share your talents. Thankfully, in this space, you have 2600 characters to utilize. Using fuller sentences, you can share a few highlights of your career. Generally, you don’t want to focus too much on any one employer. You can do that in the Experience section mentioned in #3. Here you can describe your superpowers and things that have been true about you throughout your work history. Are you the “go to” person for crisis management? Can you share a brief example of a time when you saved the day? Think about including these types of brief stories in the About section. You could even add short testimonials in this area because there’s so much space. It’s still good to weave in keywords for your areas of expertise, but this section should be conversational in tone and give some insight into your style and passions.
3) In the Experience section, beyond employer name and dates of employment, you can fill in a description. I thought they had increased the limit, but according to Eric Johnson, you still have 2000 characters to do so. Along with sharing a brief company profile, you can use this space to share some of your accomplishments to date in each role listed. It’s ok to list professional volunteer positions in this section too. Though there is a different section you can add to list volunteer positions, it’s not possible to tie recommendations to entries under the Volunteer section. Which brings us to number four.
4) Don’t forget to ask for recommendations, especially if you know you are planning to leave an employer soon. It’s much easier to ask for them and follow up when you have regular contact with that person, and it may take a reminder or two. You do need to be strategic. Ask for specific people to mention certain skills that you’re trying to highlight and that they have witnessed. Remember that you must be a first-degree connection with someone to recommend them through LinkedIn, so the first step might be to send them a personalized invitation to connect (here’s a post on why and how to personalize your invitation). Recommendations are probably not being scoured for data like some of the other sections, but it’s great for someone to see others speaking well of you. If you’re looking for a secret to earning recommendations, one good way is to start giving some to others.
5) The Skills section is yet another place to showcase your strengths on LinkedIn. It’s better for hard skills and areas of expertise because those are the types of words that people are using to run searches. This section is factored into the algorithms affecting search results. Not too many recruiters are searching LinkedIn using adjectives to describe softer skills such as creative, positive attitude, empathetic or work ethic. Those words would be good to add in the About section (see #2) but the Skills area is the place to list keywords that show your knowledge base. Appropriate words for this section could include broad areas of expertise (healthcare, international development, human resources, or capital financing), software critical to your profession (SAP, CAD, or Abode), or services you offer (career counseling, accounting, or massage). It is not uncommon to have words from your Headline and About sections repeat in this area. That can make your profile align well to the human eye and with algorithms. Once you add the right keywords to your Skills section, the second step is to make sure that the most important skills are listed in the top three. Finally, ask friends, family, and colleagues to endorse you for those skills. This may seem silly but it’s a matter of SEO. The more endorsements you earn for a certain skill, the higher you should rank on a search for that keyword.
Now you know of five ways to share your talents on this platform. If you are serious about knowing your gifts and sharing them with the world, LinkedIn is a great place to display them. Take a look at some of these areas on your profile and think about how you could let your light shine a little brighter.