Out of curiosity, I decided to convert my LinkedIn profile to a PDF. I wanted to see how long it was compared to my one-page resume.
The PDF was five pages.
And that’s not a bad thing. LinkedIn profiles are meant to be comprehensive summaries of your experience, qualifications, and skills—while resumes should only showcase your most important info.
If my LinkedIn profile only translated to one page, that would probably mean I hadn’t had much of a career yet.
However, there’s a problem. You’ve heard that, on average, people spend less than one minute looking at your resume.
Well, attention spans don’t magically increase for LinkedIn. According to Ciara Lakhani, People and Culture Head for Compass, most recruiters will only spend about 10 seconds on each profile. Other viewers may spend just a bit longer.
So how do you make your LinkedIn more “sticky?” In other words, how do you turn those 10 seconds into 120?
Simple. Add media.
Approximately 90% of what we process is visual—and we process visual info 60,000 times more quickly than text. Plus, the majority of people are “visual learners,” which means the best way to grab ’em is by the eyeballs.
Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn’s career expert, told me, “the more visually appealing a profile is, the better.”
At last count, I’ve published over 1,000 articles for various places around the web—which means it’s pretty darn easy for me to find media samples of my work.
But you definitely don’t have to be in a creative field to visually showcase your accomplishments. I guarantee that no matter what career or industry you’re in, there’s a media option for you.
Drawing a blank? Open up your resume and go through your bullet points. Each one represents an accomplishment or responsibility, right? You just need to pick out one (to start) that can be represented visually. (And yes, you’re going to have to be a little creative here.)
For example, maybe you were part of a successful product launch team. If so, add the press release, blog post, or ad announcing the project completion to your profile.
Or maybe you work in HR. Find a PowerPoint you used in a training seminar, or the link to a new office engagement program you started, or a page from the employee manual you helped write.
Have you ever given a speech or talk? Use the event video, or if there isn’t one, the publicity materials. Have you ever made a presentation? Upload the slides. Have you ever written a company blog post? Share the link. Did your company get positive press? That’s fair game, too.
I think you see where I’m going here: Anything (professional) goes. All you’re trying to do is catch someone’s eye.
(Oh, just make sure that nothing you post is confidential or against company policy to share.)
Once you’ve figured out what you’ll add, it’s time to actually do it. Adding media to your LinkedIn is super easy. When you’re in editing mode on LinkedIn, you’ll see an “Add Media” option underneath each position.
For each sample, you add a title and a description. Your title should be short and specific, like “TechCrunch Article on Prezi’s New App,” or “My Company Sales Meeting Presentation,” or “Press Release Announcing User Milestone.”
When browsing your profile, the only thing viewers will see is a snapshot of your project (either the default image or one you upload) and the title. If they click on the media sample, they’ll see a blown-out version with your description.
Here’s where you can add a little context:
I worked on a five-person software development team to produce this Android version of Prezi’s presentation tools. In this article, TechCrunch writer Jane Doe calls the interface “clean, elegant, and minimalistic,” and the user experience “near flawless.”
Boston University asked me to be a panelist at its “Social Good Careers” event. In this short clip from my talk, I explain how I got my first nonprofit job.
This is a poster for Let’s Give Back Week, an employee engagement program I designed and brought to life to introduce our 300-person local staff to the many volunteering options in the region.
Once you’ve filled the title and description fields out, you’re good to go!
I suggest adding one to three media samples to each job position. You might be thinking, “Uh, who’s going to click on every single one?”
Answer: Almost no one. A hiring manager might look at a couple, but it’s enough to just have visual proof of your work on your profile. It instantly makes you look more credible and professional.
With that said, making people spend more time on your page is by far the biggest benefit of adding media. You’ve worked hard to get where you are now, and you deserve more than a 10-second passing glance. So what are you waiting for? Go make your LinkedIn profile pop!