Two professionals join LinkedIn every second, it's the largest social network for professionals and you are likely very familiar with the platform. It's a powerful tool for networking, career planning and professional development, but could it be working better for you and your career? Here are some simple, yet valuable tips to improve your LinkedIn profile and ensure your sporting career is fully benefiting from the power of this professional network.
Start with the basics
First impressions count and profiles with a photo get 21 times more profile views than those without and 9 times more connection requests (source: linkedin). Your profile picture is the first thing people will see even before they visit your profile, so ensure you upload a picture that is professional and good quality. Make sure are smiling, looking at the camera and portraying the right image.
By default LinkedIn will set your most recent job title as your headline, so changing this for a catchy, industry specific headline is a must to make your profile stand out and support building your presence on Linkedin. Make sure your headline has keywords that makes it easy for others to find you and incorporates your job specialism or specific business area. Avoid generic headlines, you have 120 characters to make your headline pop so make each word count.
Many contacts will check out the 'about' section on your profile first to understand your achievements and career history. This section should address three personal topics: who you are, who you help and how you help.
To achieve this break the summary into two sections. First focus on your career status (and background if relevant), career ambitions and what motivates you within your career. Then discuss your area of expertise, including any awards, qualification and notable work that highlights your qualities and skills in these areas.
You can include some personality and storytelling to this section where appropriate, but don't deviate from your focus of creating a 'professional summary'. Make it's easy for the reader to follow by including headers and bullet points to help lead your reader through the content. Include your contact details at the bottom and links to websites/blogs/podcast you may own.
You will have likely already completed this section in part, but its important this is not only up to date but also includes the following key associated information and tags to make your profile stand out and get results.
Make sure each of your experiences is linked to the right company name by selecting from the drop down (if it is available) so you are connected to that company within linkedin. Also within the description make sure you identify your key accomplishments and achievements. Use keywords strategically and quantify accomplishments using figures as you would in your CV and always write this section in the first person.
LinkedIn research showed that 41% of employers find volunteering just as valuable as paid work.
Adding your education details will help you connect with a valuable wider network and if you have post graduate qualifications be sure to add these here. The same goes for the 'licencing & certifications' section. In a marketplace where self guided professional development is more and more important, adding qualifications you have gained that are relevant to your ambitions can really help you stand out from the competition and showcase your commitment to career success.
Adding volunteer experience is a great way to demonstrate your breath of skills, interests and accomplishments and will really enhance your profile. This is especially true if the experiences connects to the sports industry, even if only loosely, as you will be highlighting qualities that employers or fellow professionals value. LinkedIn research showed that 41% of employers find volunteering just as valuable as paid work. Be sure to add the 'cause' of your volunteering from the drop down to connect with wider related networks and potentially interesting opportunities.
What are your key skills? Make sure you include them and maintain a relevant list over time.
Linkedin says people who list at least five skills receive up to 17x more profile views. Showcasing your talents and skills will help you rise up search results rankings, help others understand your strengths and link you to the right opportunities (through Linkedin's Ai algorithms). They are also importantly connected to the 'endorsements' function, a powerful tool where your network can endorse you for your skills.
Remember to list your skills in order of importance (top 3 being the most important). If you're not sure what skills to add, view profiles of your peers or colleagues and consider adding those that apply to you but only include skills that will enhance your presence.
If you want to stand out as a linkedin master, update your background header image. Make it simple but connect with your personality and your career in some way.
Lastly, create a custom URL, so that you can share simply share your linkedin profile and make it recognisable as 'you'. This is done in the top right had corner under 'edit public profile & URL', change it to your name or similar and share it! Add it to your email signature, CV and any other digital environment that can help you build your network and career in the world of sport business.
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