Want to be taken seriously as a professional? A good LinkedIn profile is essential, and this means more than just dumping your CV into a new location.
People who want to know more about you for a job, as a referee or even for a presenting opportunity will always Google your name. Your LinkedIn profile will appear high up on the first search page, and usually influences their opinion. Let’s get started on some simple upgrades – install the LinkedIn app on your phone if that’s the easiest way to edit. Each of the terms used below eg ‘Summary’ refer to the heading you will see when you edit your profile.
Update your Photo – no cheap selfies or party shots! If you need a new photo, use ‘portrait photo’ mode on your phone, and get someone to take it in bright, flat light, to avoid shadows eg in a room facing a window. If you want to go further, professional portrait photos can be done at relatively low cost – get a few done, maybe also with family or partner. You can also add a horizontal banner photo up the top of your profile – use a favourite picture of hospitality or a travel location. I use one of a beachside beer garden 😉
Use ‘Keywords’ in your Headline. This is more than just your job title, which is listed separately as ‘Current Position’. Use words in the Headline that people search for (keywords), and make it descriptive Eg not just Head Chef, but ‘Head Chef with 20 years experience in fine dining, gourmet catering and casual bistros’ – you can use up to 120 characters.
Expand the Summary – show your enthusiasm for work, and what you’ve learned about the industry. This is where you show how you can help people. Have at least 3 paragraphs in this very important section. If you find it hard to write about yourself, ask a friend to assist. Write this Summary in the first person eg ‘I have set up new food safety systems’ not ‘She set up new food safety systems’ – this is more personal and real. See examples here of effective Headlines and Summaries.
Add some personal details to round out your image eg ‘volunteer with trainee baristas at the local refugee centre’, ‘renovating an old timber house in my spare time’, or ‘training with my local team for the 2020 Hockey World Cup’.
Make Yourself Easy to Contact – include your personal email and a relevant phone number, especially if you want to be reached for career opportunities. Do whatever you’re comfortable with, and at least an email is important for credibility.
Expand on Your Experience – add a couple of sentences about each of your previous jobs in the Experience section. Include some numbers to add credibility eg ‘ran a team of 12 people’ or ‘Organised 3 offsite kitchens feeding 600 people every day’. If one position was a particular favourite or a huge learning opportunity, say so!
Add All Your Education – include the location of where you trained. Include any short, relevant courses eg a Food Safety Certificate. If you speak additional languages, include those as well – a bonus.
Add Links to Relevant Websites or Social Media – the website of your workplace, or your food-related Instagram site. Maybe you contribute to an events or hospitality blog – if it adds to your reputation, add it.
Update Privacy & Security Settings – this is simple to do, and offers a lot of options. You’ll find them listed under your Profile picture on a PC/Mac browser, or under the little cog that’s top right on the phone or iPad app.
Once you have a good professional profile, you’re ready to reach out to build your list of connections – here’s how I’ve been doing it over the last 12 months.