LinkedIn isn’t exactly designed for Hollywood jobs. But it’s still an incredibly useful tool for our industry, both to find job postings and to manage your network. Here are 5 tips for crafting an effective LinkedIn profile:
1. Use a conversational, first-person tone. LinkedIn is a social media platform at its core. Even though it’s more professional than Facebook or Instagram, it’s about you and your work persona – which means you should write in first person and in a conversational tone. Use your profile as an opportunity to describe your work experience, passions, and goals the way you would to a friend. Networking connections and recruiters want to get a sense of your voice and personality and see the human being behind your achievements.
2. Go beyond your resume. Your resume is a short document that explains why you’re suited for a particular role. Your LinkedIn profile is a space for you to explain who you are professionally and why others should want to work with you. Yes, you can apply for jobs using your profile – so it’s a good idea to use some relevant keywords and include appropriate skills – but your profile shouldn’t be identical to your resume. Don’t copy/paste your resume, and don’t simply turn your bullet points into sentences. Add elements that you can’t include in your resume, like anecdotes about a particularly interesting project, or what you learned from a particular role.
3. Maintain your summary, or keep it evergreen. Your “About” section is the primary portion of your profile, since it’s the first thing connections and recruiters will read. You don’t want it to get outdated easily! Make sure you edit it periodically as you take on new projects, develop new skills, or get a new job. If you work on a lot of different shows or projects and don’t want to update LinkedIn all the time, consider a summary that doesn’t name drop your most recent credits, but instead focuses on evergreen elements, like your skills and professional interests. Check your LinkedIn profile every few months to make sure it’s aligned with your current experience.
4. Make sure your experience section is easy to read. Much like your resume, you want the most relevant experience to show up near the top, and you don't want readers to have to dig to find the information they need. In entertainment, it’s pretty common for freelancers to have a lot of similar project-based roles, but on LinkedIn, all that experience can be cumbersome. Instead of listing each show separately, you have the option to create one entry for all similar roles, with the company listed as "Freelance," and the dates inclusive of all the years you’ve had that role. This will cover gaps/hiatuses and let you talk about your experience in the aggregate. You can list out credits in the job description after explaining the overall skills you’ve gained and any achievements or highlights. Of course, if you are not a freelancer or have spent a lot of time on one project or with one company, it's better to create a separate entry and link to the company for searchability.
5. Tailor your skills section. The LinkedIn skills section can be tricky for entertainment roles, since some of the terminology is so specific. Sure, you can enter in skills that aren’t already in the platform, but that’s going to limit the effectiveness of your profile’s searchability and application matching. Instead, take time to read some job postings that interest you, and pull out some keywords that can match LinkedIn’s skills list. Think about broad versions of your skills as well. “Creating string-outs” isn’t on the platform, but similar skills, like “visual storytelling,” “storyboarding,” and “story structure” are. Make sure you select skills that align with your current career trajectory and remove any skills that aren’t relevant anymore; if you listed something like “film editing” when you were first trying to break into the industry, but you’re not pursuing roles that require editing knowledge, take it off!
Once you have a profile you can feel proud of, start using the platform to identify networking targets, keep up with your newsfeed, and look for jobs!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan