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Mastering LinkedIn’s “Above the Fold” Format

Social media, like it or not, now plays a significant role in every career search—for companies and candidates. Most likely you’ve heard stories about employers eliminating promising candidates from consideration after finding objectionable content on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. As a precautionary measure, it’s a good idea to review and scrub your social media accounts before you begin your job search to avoid any “gotcha” moments. However, your LinkedIn account requires a different kind of attention.

Your LinkedIn profile should be all business. Use it to present a polished and relevant overview of your professional experience, skills and education. Since the professional networking service was introduced in 2003, it has racked up nearly 364 million members—a figure that also represent a staggering number of potential opportunities. Cultivating that potential means you need to pay keen attention to your profile and keep it updated on a regular basis. Make sure it always includes your latest and greatest accomplishments, performance milestones, skills, training, awards, recommendations and any other bits of persuasive information that will make you a standout in an accomplished and crowded field of candidates.

Regular reviews and updates of your LinkedIn account also allows you to take advantage of the site’s newest features and updated apps. Recently, the company announced a new look and feel they dubbed “The New LinkedIn.” In case you’re not familiar with this latest iteration, here are some pointers about ways to leverage its new features so your profile can make an impact.

New Profile

Many sections in the profile area have been condensed or highlighted to appear “above the fold” on most computer screens. “Above the fold” refers to the area of the web page that is visible when the page first loads. Viewers are more likely to engage with content that is above the fold, rather than scrolling down the page. As a result, sections of your LinkedIn profile that appear above the fold need to be current and crafted for maximum effectiveness. These sections include:

  1. Your profile photoLinkedIn has made the profile image larger—which means you need a good, well-composed photo. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to invest a reasonably small amount in having a professional photographer take your photo. Don’t think a photo really matters? According to LinkedIn, your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed when it includes a photo. And when you project a warm, friendly and trustworthy image, potential employers are more likely to connect with you. A couple of things to keep in mind: Make sure your photo actually looks like you. Smile and make eye contact with the camera. Dress the way you would normally dress for work, and choose a neutral background that isn’t distracting. Compose the frame so it is predominately a head and shoulders shot.
  2. Headline The biographical information displayed next to your profile picture has been reduced. As a result, the 120-character headline designed to quickly communicate your “wow” factor is now more important than ever. Make it count. Your headline can be a self-explanatory job title or a brand statement that highlights your expertise.
  3. Contact InfoPreviously, your contact information could be hard to find, but now it is contained in a tab underneath your headline and profile picture. You can include a phone number, email address or even a website you want to highlight.
  4. Activity/Update Log Anything you’ve recently shared, updated, joined, endorsed or changed on your profile is now displayed above the fold. This allows readers to stay current with what you are sharing and doing. Stay top-of-mind with your connections by posting an update or sharing an interesting article once a week. When you do this, not only does it appear on your profile page, it also appears on the home page for all your connections to see.
  5. Summary This very important section should serve as a distinctive introduction that delivers a great first impression. Succinctly communicate your expertise while quickly establishing what makes you stand apart from the crowd.
  6. Experience For many people, this section serves as their online résumé. Highlight your employment—including job title—company, location, duration and responsibilities. A bulleted list can enhance readability, but you’ll have to create your bullet list in Word, then cut and paste it into your profile to maintain the bullet formatting.

Follow these simple tips and your LinkedIn profile will help expand your universe of contacts and job leads while you are looking for a new professional challenge ideally suited to career goals, education, experience and skills.

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