When I work with my clients, the first thing I revise is their LinkedIn profile page. This is because recruiters and hiring managers search LinkedIn actively for candidates, and the profile has to be optimized so they can find you. It’s way better to be discovered than the be the hunter – it makes the whole process go smoother and you many times end up with a better salary.
However, improving your LinkedIn profile isn’t rocket science. You can improve yours simply by following the steps in this article, and going through the four important aspects of every LinkedIn profile. You can also read up on the best way to indicate your CFA status on LinkedIn here.
It is critical to have the write title (the line that appears right under your name) for your profile. Many people believe that this is the same as their functional title. It’s not! It’s **descriptive**, not functional. It functions as a summary of your profile and should capture what your strongest skill is.
Here’s an example of the difference. Descriptive title (appears until your name): Top Lead Generator with a passion for Social Media vs. Functional title: Sales Consultant, JPMorgan. See the difference? I see a lot of people with titles such as “seeking next opportunity.” While this does effectively signal to recruiters that you are a possible candidate, it doesn’t give any indication of the type of work that you do. You won’t be found as easily.
Pro Up Your Picture
Your LinkedIn picture should look how you would dress up if you were going to a job interview. It should look as you would look if you were going to meet with a client. You are showing your prospective employers or clients how you would present yourself to your coworkers, clients, and the public.
I see a lot of pictures that ambush the candidate. Please note that many employers will pass you over if you do not include a picture in your profile because it looks as if you are hiding something or are not that serious about your job search.
Summary: Short and Sweet
The summary field should be exactly that: a synopsis. It should not be more than two or at most three lines long. Here you want to focus on your key accomplishments but tailor them to where you want to be next. Many people clutter this with every single thing they’ve ever done, including even their education. I wouldn’t advocate that anyone emphasize their education as a selling point. Unless it is your first job, hiring managers care more about your experience.
Job Descriptions: Best Stuff Only
One of the biggest mistakes with job descriptions is that the candidate comes off as trying too hard. The key idea is relevance and less is more. I constantly see resumes that are cluttered with items that the candidates takes personal pride in, but are not that meaningful to the employer. For example, GPA of 2.9. Leave off the GPA if it’s not stellar and differentiating you significantly from your peers (example: in top 2% of class, was the valedictorian).
Focus on three key achievements and put them in bullets. Bullet points should be one line, not two, lines long. Don’t list out that you know how to use MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (most professionals who work in an office can use them), but do include expert work done with any statistical software, for example. Decorate the Christmas Tree too much and people forget about opening the presents. Too much screaming at them has a dilutive effect.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is the President at Grillo Investment Management. You can follow her on Twitter at @grilloinvest.