1) Your Photo. Remember when your teacher told you that a picture is worth a thousand words, well. . . same goes for the LinkedIn profile photo. There are practical reasons to have a photo – for instance, LinkedIn will raise your profile higher in search criteria (when a headhunter or recruiter is searching) based on how complete your profile is and having a photo increases your completeness percent (want to know how complete your profile is? go into LinkedIn and under profile, choose edit, and it will give you a percent completion in the top right). For less practical reasons, people like to see a friendly face that is dressed appropriately for the industry that they are in (or applying to be in). Applying for an investment bank? wear a navy blue suit, dress shirt, and tie (for men). Applying for a tech start up? Wear a dress shirt for men or a dressy blouse for women. Finally, people use your LinkedIn profile to find you when you schedule networking meetings. I always look someone up, so that I can recognize them in the crowded Starbucks lobby where we are meeting.
2) Your Headline. This four or five word descriptor tells the world what you do and what your specialty is. Marketing and Merchandise Planning Executive. Strategy Consultant and Business Advisor to Fortune 500. Non Profit leader and Community Activist. If you don’t edit this, it will default to your current job title. Does the title you have on your profile convey what you really do?! (think: production manager, business analyst, business associate).
3) Your Summary: Here is your chance in four to five sentences to tell the world what you do and what skills you bring to the table. If you are in the middle of a career change/job search, you’ll tailor it to highlight more of what you want to do (based on what you have done) and what key skills you bring (that those new jobs are going to be looking for you to have).
If you can focus on updating those three things, your LinkedIn Profile will begin to stand out from the other 295M profiles on the site!