How many of you have LinkedIn profiles?
And how many of you have completed them (summary included) properly?
Well, if you answered yes to both questions, you might like to know that there are other steps you can take to maximize the effectiveness of your profile. Not only will these steps help keep the LinkedIn algorithm happy, they’ll also add to the readability and effectiveness of your profile. They will also improve it in terms of usability and visual appeal.
Even though your profile may be complete, it may be difficult to read: the blocks of text may be too long — texts for the web should be as short as possible — and the organization of the information in certain text fields — such as job description section — may make your profile hard to read.
LinkedIn, of course, does not allow much in terms of graphic customization — there aren’t even any basic text formatting tools — but there is a work-around for this limitation.
Let’s begin with a few basic improvements you can make. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Use white space (the space above and below titles and paragraphs)
- Capitalize on capitalization
- Organize the information
- Use bulleted and numbered lists.
Take the following text as an example:
“I am a manager with more than 10 years experience in the energy and environmental managment field. Degree in Management Engineering and MBA from Bocconi University. Specialized in the creation of complex infrastructures and energy systems with international and multicultural teams especially in developing countries. Strong managerial skills in terms of budget analysis, budget planning and control, project management, relationship management, cost / benefit analysis, data analysis, application of laws and international standards to projects.”
- Use white space to help break up long texts by splitting them into paragraphs. This alone will make a difference: the attention span for those reading web texts is quite low so easy to read texts help readers understand and remember key information.
“I am a manager with more than 10 years experience in the energy and environmental management field.
Degree in Management Engineering and MBA from Stanford University.
Specialized in the creation of complex infrastructures and energy systems with international and multicultural teams especially in developing countries.
Strong managerial skills in terms of budget analysis, budget planning and control, project management, relationship management, cost / benefit analysis, data analysis, application of laws and international standards to projects.”
- Since bold text is not possible, use capitals to make key information stand out. Keep in mind that those looking at your profile (recruiters or potential customers) will scan it to find the key information that matches their initial searches. Only when they find what they are looking for will they take a closer look at a profile.
“I am a manager with more than 10 YEARS EXPERIENCE in the energy and environmental management field.
Degree in Management Engineering and MBA FROM STANFORD UNIVERSITY.
Specialized in the creation of COMPLEX INFRASTRUCTURES and ENERGY SYSTEMS with international and multicultural teams especially in developing countries.
Strong managerial skills in terms of budget analysis, budget planning and control, project management, relationship management, COST / BENEFIT ANALYSIS, data analysis, application of laws and international standards to projects.”
- Last but not least, use white space, capitals and symbols to organize the information. For example, in the section describing your professional experiences, divide the contents into blocks of text. Use bulleted or numbered lists. This will draw attention and shortening texts will make reading them easier. Remember to use numbered lists only if the reason for doing so is clear. Otherwise, use bulleted lists.
“The ACME company is committed to delivering large infrastructure for energy in developing nations.
● business analysis;
● day to day supervision;
● project management and reporting;
● application of international standards;
● reporting results.
● + 10% efficiency after new technology implementation project;
● time savings after deployment of new reporting tool.
WHAT I LEARNED:
● greater knowledge of the energy sector in the far east;
● how to reinforce and apply innovative project management methodologies in the sector.”
Looking better already, isn’t it? Improved readability; shorter, better organized texts and easier to find information.
But not only…
Another way to make your profile stand out even more is to use symbols and emoji.
The first are special characters that are displayed in internet browsers.
○ ➣ ✓ © ★
The second are icons that express ideas or emotions – the things you use daily on your smartphone especially when you are using social networks like Facebook or messaging applications like WhatsApp. Emoji are becoming a real language: There is even an encyclopedia that explains what they all mean.
🙂 🎓 👉 📝 📎
To understand why you should be using them too, think about the websites you visit every day: you’ll have noticed that icons are everywhere.
Adding emoji and symbols to your LinkedIn profile will help you highlight key information and guide readers towards what you want them to see.
Emoji and symbols can even replace titles or sentences. Think about it: when you see the cartoon icon on an e-commerce site, you immediately know what it means. No further explanation is necessary.
How do I add them to my profile?
Symbols and emoji can be used at various points in LinkedIn profiles:
- In the summary
- In the conclusion
- In the professional experiences section
- In the qualifications and training section
- In posts and comments
Note: symbols and emoji must be used carefully. Keep their use functional and professional. Note that a symbol or emoji you use in informal communications may not be appropriate for LinkedIn. If in doubt, leave it out.
Above all, do not over use them. By doing so, you risk coming across as unprofessional and their use may end up hindering reading rather than making it easier.
Always start from what you do and from what kind of image you want to portray: if you are a manager, lawyer or engineer, emoji may be inappropriate. Elegant, minimal, black and white symbols are better. If you work in marketing or communication or in the arts, you can safely use some. 😉
Here’s a list of great symbols you can start using right now:
➢ ➣ ➤ ► ☞ ☛ ➔ ➙ ➛ ➞
Numbers (for numbered lists)
➀ ➁ ➂ ➃ ➄ ➅ ➆ ➇ ➈ ➉ ➊ ➋ ➌ ➍ ➎ ➏ ➐ ➑ ➒ ➓
Bullets for lists
● ○ ◉ ◇ ◆ ◈ □ ■ ▣
Intellectual property symbols e.g.
© ® ™
Okay, but how do I add them?
It’s very simple. To use symbols and emoji in your profile, just copy and paste them from websites containing lists of them (or use the ones in this article).
For symbols you can also use the UnicodeTable. For emoji just search Google for “emoji list” and click on the first few results. Be aware that depending on the device you use, emotions may display differently: Apple emotions are stylistically different from those used on Android devices.
Additionally, if you are a Mac user, you can add them with the “Show emoji and symbols” feature in the system tray: here’s Apple’s guide on how to display it.
A few carefully chosen graphics can really make your profile stand out from all the rest and taking care when preparing your content will not only help you understand and get to know people as well as LinkedIn’s algorithm, it will also help you create an attractive design for your profile; one which will offer your readers an even better experience.
Don’t know what to put in your LinkedIn profile summary? Why not use the Personal Branding Canvas to help you? Download it here!