Once you’ve built a basic profile, work on continually refining it and using it to expand your network. Just like your resume, your LinkedIn profile is always a work-in-progress. Take advantage of the many LinkedIn features that can help further showcase your strengths and skills to employers.
Show your work
Now that you have a list of experience, add some media to each one to exemplify the work that you did in your position. Examples include portfolios (writing, graphics, videos, etc.) and website URLs, so long as they are not confidential. This adds a layer of credibility to your written bullets and accomplishment statements.
LinkedIn recommendations are testimonials given by people who know and appreciate your work. By having your strengths, skills, and positive contributions highlighted by others, recommendations provide you with an “opportunity to have others reinforce your claims.” Remember: these individuals are taking time out of their busy schedules to vouch for you. Consider the following tips to ensure you’re making the most out of this valuable feature:
- Aim to have one recommendation from each organization you worked at. Ideally, choose someone who you reported to or directly oversaw your work. You can even request a recommendation from a subordinate; that is, someone who you led and could vouch for your leadership skills.
- Hint: When someone writes you a recommendation, it will show up on their own profile under “Given.” Ensure that whomever you are requesting a recommendation from will be happy to provide you one. Try browsing their LinkedIn profile to see how many recommendations they’ve given in the past, and to whom. If you see none, you can still request one. However, have a plan B ready in case they do not respond. (Don’t take this personally - some individuals don’t give recommendations to be fair to everyone they work with).
- Before sending a recommendation request through LinkedIn, for courtesy, email the individual asking for permission to request one. Follow-up via email if they do not respond within a few days. Once you get the “okay” from the contact, send them a formal LinkedIn recommendation request, but ensure that you are already connected on LinkedIn. If you’re not, your first step is to request to connect.
- Although it is possible to send your request to up to three contacts at a time, this is not recommended. Craft a personalized message and be mindful of the individual’s time. Nothing says “I don’t value your time” like an evidently mass-sent message.
- Provide context that will make it easy for the individual to write you a recommendation. List your official job title, relationship to the recommender, and strengths you would like highlighted. Even better is listing particular projects you helped execute and the skills and behaviours you demonstrated in the process. Try to make your skills and strengths as specific as possible so the individual can quickly think back to what you accomplished.
- Once your contact writes you a recommendation, read it carefully and let them know if there is something you would like tweaked. Remember that you don’t have to accept it if you think it doesn’t add value to your profile. If you are happy with it, be careful to not let it go unpublished. Go to “Recommendations,” and click “+ Add to Profile” under the “Received” tab to have it appear on your profile.
- Say thank you! No one is obligated to write you a recommendation. If you receive one, remember to show your appreciation. Send a nice thank you email or handwritten card, and consider writing them a LinkedIn recommendation in return. Read more for tips on writing a stellar recommendation.
As you gain experience
- As you gain experience in different positions and at different organizations, you can start to gradually remove bullets from each individual list of experiences. As a general rule of thumb, stick to two to three concise bullets that relay your experience in a way that is easy to understand for anybody. Also feel free to remove whole sections of experience as you tailor your profile to a certain career field, especially if you feel they are irrelevant to that industry. Less is sometimes more.