LinkedIn, as the world’s most popular professional networking site, has quickly become an indispensable tool for recruiters and job seekers alike. If you’re looking to boost your career, chances are that you’re already using the platform. But is your profile as well-optimized as it can be to attract the right kind of attention, or are you neglecting to make some easy changes?
There’s no underestimating the power of LinkedIn as an essential tool in your career. Because 90% of recruiters regularly use the site to source candidates, having a well-crafted, up-to-date LinkedIn profile can potentially land you the job of your dreams. You just need to put in the work to make your profile stand out.
Read on for our full list of LinkedIn profile tips, or jump right to the infographic to learn how to leverage your LinkedIn profile to benefit any stage of your career.
- Don’t Just Copy-Paste Your Resume. LinkedIn is far more than just a virtual home for your resume. Instead of copy-pasting your resume, look to LinkedIn to complement it. Think of the platform as a cover letter, resume, and portfolio all in one. While resumes are valued for brevity, build out your LinkedIn profile with as much as needs to convey tell your story.
- Customize Your URL. An easily overlooked edit is your URL. LinkedIn automatically generates a URL, which is usually some combination of letters and numbers that may (or may not) include part of your name. Simply editing your URL, ideally to your first and last name, will make you easier to find in searches.
- Keep It Free of Fluff Words. We’ve all heard them. Those popular buzzwords that seem like clever descriptors yet are wildly overused. Words like “expert,” “passionate,” “ninja,” “motivated,” and “organizational” don’t help you stand out from other candidates. Aim to be more creative in describing your experience and show, don’t tell, when possible.
- Be Thorough. A complete profile stands out to recruiters far more than a hurried, half-finished one. Make your profile as comprehensive as possible by using all the sections to your advantage. LinkedIn even scores your profile on its strength meter, rating from “just beginning” to “all star.” Luckily, LinkedIn also provides suggestions to improve your profile visibility until you get to “all star” status.
- Proofread. Then Do It Again. Typos are the last thing a recruiter wants to see. Even if you have valuable experience, typos and grammatical errors can make you look unprofessional. Carefully read each section to make sure it’s free of misspellings. Better yet, get a second pair of eyes on it to make sure everything reads well.
- Make Sure Your Photo is Professional. Having a profile photo will make your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by recruiters. Keep your LinkedIn profile picture simple, inviting, and professional. This is your first impression!
- Keep It Up-to-Date. Even if you’re not actively looking for work, it’s a good idea to keep your LinkedIn profile updated. Double check to make sure all your information is still current, including location, industry, and current position. As you make accomplishments, add them to your profile immediately so you don’t forget them later.
- Include Relevant Experiences. You don’t need to list every single one of your previous jobs. If your very first job isn’t relevant to your industry or you’re looking to change career fields, it’s okay to leave it out. Tailor your LinkedIn profile to highlight the most relevant experiences along your career path.
- List Your Contact Information. After all the time spent building out your profile, it won’t mean much if people don’t know how to reach you. You can add your social media handles, professional email address, personal website URL, or even your phone number.
- Boost Visibility With Keywords. Include keywords relevant to your current or desired industry in your headline and throughout your profile. Recruiters and potential connections will find you in searches related to the keywords if your profile is optimized to highlight industry-specific terms.
- Impress With Your Headline. Your headline defaults as your current job title, but it’s worth modifying to get people interested in clicking on your profile to learn more. Make your headline eye-catching by mentioning what makes you unique, not merely restating your current job title. Be original, yet straightforward, and give potential connections a reason to click on you rather than someone else.
- Add At Least Five Relevant Skills. It’s not enough to mention your skills and abilities in your summary and experience sections. Complete the dedicated skills section in a way that most accurately describes your strengths. Use LinkedIn’s suggested skills, because these are sourced from what recruiters are actively searching the site for. With 5 or more skills, you’ll be 33 times more likely to be contacted by recruiters.
- Show Some Personality. LinkedIn is a place to feature your own personal brand, so don’t skimp on the opportunity to talk about what makes you unique. Showing off how dynamic you are in terms of passions, causes, and organizations will make others interested in getting to know you.
- Don’t Ignore the Summary Section. This is your chance to prove how you’re more than your job title. Keep it short but engaging, and don’t be afraid to add relevant links to show off your achievements. LinkedIn auto-generates a summary based on your experience, but it’s worth the effort to spend some time humanizing it, since it’s the #1 place recruiters look at when viewing profiles.
- Add Media Throughout. Remember “show and tell” from elementary school? Take advantage of the fact that you can add photos, videos, documents, and presentations to your profile. Include media both in your summary (to feature the best projects) and under individual jobs to let recruiters get a sense of what you can create.
- Leverage Your Endorsements. The more skill endorsements you have, the more you seem adept at what you claim you can do, and the higher you’ll rank in search results. Listing fewer, highly endorsed skills is actually better than listing a wide range of unendorsed ones.
- Write in the First-Person. Writing about yourself in third person can make you sound impersonal and robotic. Try writing your profile summary and work experiences in first person to keep the tone inviting and conversational.
- Be Professional. This seems like an obvious one, but it stands to be repeated. LinkedIn isn’t like other social media platforms. It can very well make or break your chances at a dream job. Avoid silly faces in profile photos, using slang, and posting overly personal status updates.
- Include Your Location. Including a location will let recruiters find you easily and can help you connect with other professionals in your area. If you’re looking for work outside of your current location, update it to your desired location but mention your actual location elsewhere in your profile to avoid seeming deceptive.
- Seek Recommendations. Having recommendations from former colleagues and employers can boost your profile because it shows that other people value your work. If you receive a recommendation that doesn’t paint you in the best light, you can choose to hide it from your profile.
- Order It Carefully. Order your LinkedIn profile with the most relevant information at the top. If a recruiter only has a minute to look at your profile, what do you want them to see right away? If you have two current positions, highlight the one that is most relevant.
- Use Status Updates Strategically. You don’t have to constantly update your LinkedIn status as you might be compelled to with Facebook or Twitter, but you should use status updates to share relevant information like industry insights, company news, or to promote a recent accomplishment.
- Use a Cover Image. Add extra flair to your profile with a cover image that adds to your personal brand image and provides extra information about you. It’ll help you stand out from the average LinkedIn profile.
- Be Specific. Don’t just rehash your job duties, draw attention to special achievements and what you contributed in each job to take things to the next level. Add in any earned certifications or authored publications to bulk up your profile.
- Be Authentic. Don’t exaggerate or lie about your experiences. Recruiters can see through over-inflated profiles. Keep it honest while discussing areas you’d like to learn more about or grow into.
- Impress With Numbers. Highlight your achievements in numbers when possible. If you boosted sales by 150% in a past role, it pays to say so. Listing quantifiable points makes your success tangible and gives potential employers an idea of what you can do for them.
- Make Your Profile Public. Ensure that your profile actually shows up in recruiters’ searches by making it available for public viewing. You can control how much of your information shows up in public results.
- Keep It Industry-Specific. Recruiters coming to your profile shouldn’t have to guess what career opportunities you’re seeking. Fill out the “Industry” information and update it if you’re looking to switch careers.
- Add Volunteer Experience. Including volunteer experience shows potential employers that you care about something bigger than yourself and can be a great way to round out your experience.
- Show Off Your Interests. Joining groups and following companies in your current or desired industry shows up on your profile and lets others know more about your career and extracurricular interests.
- Complete the Accomplishments Section. Fill out your accomplishments section with relevant certifications, published work, awards, and languages. Be sure to remove any expired certifications or invalid publication URLS to keep things current.
- Leverage Job Descriptions. If you’re looking to make a career change, reference job descriptions of desired positions to craft your profile in a way that would be attractive to potential employers.
- Prove Your Worth. It’s easy to want to make your profile all about you, but remember that you have to give potential employers a sense of what you can do for them. Think of a target audience when writing your profile and consider what would make them choose you for your abilities rather than anyone else.
- Tell a Story. Creatively tell your professional story. Make sure it’s cohesive, and try to avoid noticeable gaps in employment by explaining what you were doing (whether world travel or focusing on family) in a straightforward and professional manner.
- Include a Call to Action. It’s not enough to just list your contact info, invite people to connect with you. Tell them what you want, what opportunities you’re open to receiving, and how you can help others.
Steps To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Right Now
As the go-to social platform for job seekers and recruiters alike, LinkedIn can connect worthy candidates with their dream jobs, but having a comprehensive, well thought out profile is the first step to success. Even if you’re not actively seeking employment, taking the time to keep your profile updated and optimized can connect you with unexpected opportunities.
Give your LinkedIn profile new life with the actionable tips from this infographic.