With over 610 million people using LinkedIn, 90 million of those senior-level influencers and 63 million decision-makers – it has become indispensable for job seekers and recruiters alike. Dedicated to professional networking and communication, it’s the social profile you need to have to get noticed in your professional career.
In LinkedIn’s own words, “Your LinkedIn profile is a professional landing page for you to manage your own, personal brand.” Have you optimised your LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers and recruiters? These must-do tips will help you get found and land your next dream job!
1. Your LinkedIn headline should make people stop and read
Most recruiters or potential employers will scroll through LinkedIn profiles fast and furiously. If you want their attention one glance at your headline should make them say – tell me more.
Your headline is the text box at the top of your profile, just below your photo. By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your current job title and employer, and most people leave it as default (or worse fill that valuable space with ”unemployed”). Not many people realize this is one of the most important fields when it comes to LinkedIn searches. If you want to grab attention, this is the first thing you need to change in order to show up in searches. Use these 120 characters to showcase the skills and keywords you want to be found for.
2. Showcase your value in your summary section
The summary is the #1 thing that recruiters look at when viewing profiles. Your summary is a place to show you are more than just your job title. You can use this space to show your personality and personal brand. Many people also don’t realise the summary is searchable which means this is a key area to optimise to rank on LinkedIn. Keep your summary to 3 or 5 paragraphs and focus on these things:
- Target your reader. What do you really want them to know about you? Think unique skills, accomplishments or talents.
- Show off in terms of passion, causes, and awards. Remember, it is okay to show-off and let prospective employees know why they need you in their organisation.
- Upload media. If you have any media you are proud of you can add this here.
- Write in the first person. You wouldn’t introduce yourself in the third person, so don’t do this on LinkedIn.
According to eye-tracking research, only 16 percent of people read web pages word-by-word. We mostly scan and pick out keywords and phrases. Take advantage of this by including bullet lists, use brief sentences and use white space.
3. Use keywords you want to be found for
LinkedIn is one of the top 5 sites that Google and Bing regularly index (the others being Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia). Add keywords relating to your current role and those relevant to your future job search in your profile. You can use keywords in your headlines, summary and job descriptions. Just remember to make sure your sentences are still relevant and to the point and steer clear of overused fluff words like “expert”, “motivated” and “passionate”.
If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you… place an emphasis on keywords.
LinkedIn Help Center (2017)
4. Get a Custom URL
This is one of the easiest things you can do to help your LinkedIn optimisation. You can edit your profile and create an easy to remember LinkedIn URL that you can add to your resume, website or business cards.
- Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click View profile.
- Click Edit public profile & URL on the right rail.
- Under Edit your custom URL in the right rail, click the Edit icon next to your public profile URL – It’ll be an address that looks like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click Save.
Your custom URL can have 5-30 letters or numbers. Try to use your full name in your URL, but if someone has beat you to it, don’t worry, just make a variation that fits your profile.
5. Choose a professional photo
Being one of 7469 Jake Smiths’ without a profile pictures is not going to help you get found! And no – your latest party pic from the weekend won’t do on LinkedIn (your beach tanning picture – also a no).
Use a high resolution, professional image (400 x 400 pixels), where your face takes at least 60% of the frame. It might seem obvious but use a picture that looks like you today, your picture is your initial introduction to employers and recruiters – make sure its an accurate and good reflection of who they will be meeting.
6. Get quality LinkedIn recommendations
To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is like a reference in advance. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. The key is to get quality recommendations and not one-liners like, “Jane is amazing and I loved working with her at XYZ Company”. Follow these tips to get great recommendations
Treat recommendation like you would a formal referral –
- Contact only those you know can provide specific examples of your skills and strengths.
- Ask them to include at least three skills or strengths you demonstrated while working with them.
- Ask them to include how long you worked with them, and a description of how you successfully demonstrated the skills they mention
Remember to change the default text to custom request using your own words and what you would like to be included in your referral.
7. Complete your skills section
LinkedIn reports that “members with five or more skills listed are contacted (messaged) up to 33 [times] more by recruiters and other LinkedIn members and receive up to 17 [times] more profile views.” This section is important because –
- You can show employers and recruiters at a glance what you are qualified to do.
- LinkedIn can make your hirability and expertise available to employers via Google search.
Put the skills that are important to your career at the top of the list, and remember to keep this section updated with any new skills you may acquire while on the job!
Once you have completed your profile, proofread it and then read again. Spelling and grammatical errors can make you look unprofessional. Once you have read it a couple of times send it onto a friend to read and double-check.
P.S. Don’t forget to add your two-factor authentication to your LinkedIn profile, to avoid getting hacked like Stella did last year!
Let us know how these changes impact your profile. We would love to hear about the success it brings in your job hunting!
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