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March 2018 – Frank Gaine
Let’s face it, LinkedIn is important. It’s very important. LinkedIn is first public edifice of your career likely to be seen by would-be employers. It is used heavily by people who spend most of their day looking to fill design roles as it presents a credible account of your previous experience. It makes it easier for them to compare you with others designers that might be suitable for the role.
Of course, a designer’s LinkedIn profile should embody those things designers live by in their daily life. It has to be easy and engaging to look at, enabling you to stand out from the competition. Doing so will involve a process we are all familiar with; design, test and revision. UXswitch will now walk you through our top tips for creating an awesome LinkedIn profile.
Look Like a Designer
First and foremost, your LinkedIn profile should impress on the viewer that you are a designer, and one who is active and passionate about UX. Getting your profile photo and the background image right is essential in this regard. They are a statement of where you want to go next as much as a statement of who you are now.
I’m sorry to say but dimly lit selfies of you taken in your hallway at home will just not cut it. It’s worth having a friend take a well-lit photo of you in a design context e.g. against of post-its, as cliched as it might seem. Or at the very least, against a neutral background. Don’t be afraid to take the image into post production and adjust the colours accordingly. Use this image across Twitter, Instagram, Dribbble etc, to create a consistent presence.
As for the background photo, be sure to change the default one that LinkedIn provides. Remember, designers are supposed to have an eye for the visual and detail. Customise it. A design related background works best such as wireframes, an ideation board or even a photo of a finished product that you worked on.
Another key to how you are perceived is your Linkedin headline. This is the sentence that sits directly under your name. Writing this carefully is a good way to position yourself around what the employer or recruiter is looking for. Interestingly, your headline need not necessarily be your current job title. For example, your job title might be ‘UX Designer’ yet you are involved a lot of Service Design and want to pursue that as a career. Your headline could read ‘UX and Service Designer’.
Good designers keep abreast of developments and latest thinking in their area. Your LinkedIn feed can an excellent source of such updates but this largely depends on who you are connected to and who you decide to follow. Therefore, follow industry influencers like Jared Spool, Luke Wroblewski and IDEO. If you comment, post or like items this will show up in ‘Your Articles & Activity’, further showing the prospective employer that you are engaged in the community and endeavour to keep up to speed.
Go All Shakespeare
Writing is not everyone’s forte, however it is one of the best ways of being seen as an authority in your field. The article you publish on LinkedIn need not be ground breaking or very lengthy. It could be that you want to share a project learning other designers might benefit from. It might be a career tip about how to progress from junior to senior designer. Write a draft, get someone to review it, make amends. When it’s ready to be published on LinkedIn, make sure the heading is pithy and the article is easy to scan. Include an appropriate header image. Again, this article will appear in the ‘Your Articles & Activity’ section of your profile. It’s a good idea to also publish it on Medium.com and post links to the article on Twitter.
He Who Dares Wins
Quality over quantity is the rule around LinkedIn recommendations. A few, well-chosen recommendations should do the trick. When you ask a previous manager or colleague for write a recommendation, you will inevitably find that they are very slow in coming back to you. The reality is that people are busy and don’t have the time. Or they know that the recommendation has to be carefully written and therefore they procrastinate. The best advice in this situation is to write it yourself. Yep, write a draft, send it over for review and encourage them to edit it, asking for timely approval.
Did I tell you I’m Great?
Let me ask you a question. Has a product that were involved in recently gone to market? Did you attend or speak at a conference in the last while? Have you just returned from working on a project in another country or at the client’s office? If yes, then let the world know. I remember the impact Aaron Kato had a few years ago when he posted an image on LinkedIn of the Ford F150 dashboard that he had designed. It was a recognition of the months and months of hard work involved in launching a great product. Doing so was a boost for designers in large businesses and great for his own profile. Remember, photos and images are key so don’t forget to take that picture of you at the conference or team photo at the product launch.
Note: Only take as much of the credit as you deserve and pay homage to the team that also made it happen. Also be aware of confidentiality concerns.
Prepare for Stage Two
Once the recruiter or employer is impressed by your revised LinkedIn profile, it’s time to think about the second stage of their inquiry into your suitability for a role. This is where the online portfolio and the CV/resume come into their own.
If you don’t already have a custom URL, get one. This should be the home for your online portfolio. UXswitch has written extensively about the importance and power of the portfolio, everything from what to put in it, right through to how to deal with confidentiality matters. Needless to say your LinkedIn profile should provide a link to your portfolio or other relevant online presences.
Similarly, Jay Kaufmann has written for us on the importance of the structure of your CV or resume and how to user test it. Our advice is to read these articles carefully and take action where required.
Mentioned several times throughout this article is important of iterating on your profile; test it and then refine it. After all, that’s the UXer’s way. You are likely to make a lot of revisions to your LinkedIn profile as you follow this approach. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure the your network is not notified of each and every change to your profile, at least for the time being. You can find out how by following instructions on LinkedIn’s help centre.
Finally, it would be remiss of UXswitch not to mention that once your funky new LinkedIn profile is up to date, use it to sign up to or login to UXswitch.com. We match your job wish list (remit, money and location) with only the top UX recruiters and employers. UXswitch also presents you with humanized job descriptions and provide clear and honest career advice.
Source link http://www.uxswitch.com/designers-need-awesome-linkedin-profile-7-top-tips/