He Was Asked to Co-Found a $1 Billion Company Based on His LinkedIn Profile. Here's Why He Stood Out -- and How You Can, Too.
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With more than 590 million users in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn’s user base is inching closer to twice the U.S. population. That makes for a host of potentially powerful connections that can yield incredible results.
Exhibit A: The founders of travel startup Klook -- which reports that it achieved $1 billion in annual bookings in 2018 -- found their third business partner, Bernie Xiong, after sifting through hundreds of profiles on LinkedIn. Co-founder Eric Gnock Fah told Entrepreneur he started his search on the platform so he could look beyond resumes and take potential candidates’ preferences, likes and connections into account.
Gnock Fah started with a skills filter to locate potential candidates who knew how to code. After looking through close to 500 profiles, he narrowed his search down to about 100 candidates to meet with in person. Xiong’s stood out from the beginning because it was “complete yet simple and without fluff,” said Gnock Fah. “After meeting Bernie a few times in person, we knew he was the one.”
Whether you’re looking for a new business venture or a coffee meeting with an industry heavyweight, here are three ways to make your LinkedIn profile turn heads.
Build a complete profile.
Gnock Fah prioritized potential candidates with complete profiles because he thought they’d be more open to new opportunities -- and most likely to respond. “What [a complete profile] said to me is, ‘This person wants the best opportunities available to them and is willing to put in the work to achieve their goals,’” he said.
The numbers seem to support Gnock Fah’s view: You could receive up to nine times more connection requests if you add a profile photo -- and including at least five skills on your profile can lead to 17 times more profile views and 31 times more messages from recruiters and others, according to LinkedIn’s official blog. That’s not to mention including your location, which can reportedly make you up to 23 times more likely to appear in searches.
Keep your title, summary, industry and position descriptions up to date, and add media for each role you list -- think links to blog posts you’ve written, public announcements of projects you’ve contributed to or even videos of you speaking at events or panels.
Consider your voice.
Real people will be reading your LinkedIn profile, so take that into account when you’re writing your summary and any other descriptions. It’s a balance, but you’ll want to aim to be genuine and true to yourself while still maintaining a sense of professionalism and authority.
“Voice was an important part of this search,” said Gnock Fah. “A complete profile doesn’t need to have flowery language and extensive, in-the-weeds details.” He and his co-founder honed in on a candidate’s character, abilities and potential fit based on the technical terms they used and how they wrote about themselves and their achievements.
Write in the first person to help create a connection with the person perusing your credentials, and try to avoid buzzwords whenever possible. For example, “skilled,” “experienced,” “passionate” and “strategic” all made LinkedIn’s 2018 list of top 10 most overused buzzwords. Instead, opt for clear, actionable language that describes exactly what you accomplished and how you did it -- and quantify with numbers when applicable.
It’s easy to treat LinkedIn as a “set it and forget it” social network or a stagnant resume, but you’ll have more luck connecting with people if you check your inbox regularly -- and turn online connections into offline ones. “LinkedIn is only the first step,” said Gnock Fah. “A culture fit is equally as important as what’s on paper.”
You can also stay engaged by publishing regular status updates, thoughts or even full-fledged articles. Gnock Fah didn’t focus on that as much -- “culturally, in Asia, many people tend to consume information rather than contribute,” he said -- but contributing information tends to be more common in the U.S.
If the idea of maintaining yet another social media platform seems overwhelming, think of it like this: You can repackage posts from your other accounts for LinkedIn specifically. For example, if you posted a new job update on Facebook, cross-post it on LinkedIn as well. If you shared an interesting article on Twitter, try sharing the same one on LinkedIn -- and you won’t need to limit your thoughts to 240 characters.Related: These 10 LinkedIn Tips Will Make You a Networking Master