How to Optimize your Linkedin Profile

If you're looking for a new job, Linkedin can be a valuable resource. Over 90% of recruiters use Linkedin as a tool for sourcing candidates. It's also often used as an alternative for cover letters or resumes entirely. It's more important than ever to have a polished Linkedin profile. This guide covers the most important elements of your Linkedin profile and how to optimize them to be more visible and get hired.

1. Make Sure Your Profile Is Complete

When you first sign up for Linkedin you'll notice a tracker that lets you know the level of completeness for your profile. Follow the instructions until you reach 100%.

2. Put In The Time To Make It Good

Just getting 100% isn't enough. Take your time to ensure that every one of these recommendations is addressed. Missing complete sections or quickly jotting down a summary could end up costing you. Make your Linkedin profile a priority and you will be rewarded. Treat your profile like your resume.

3. Claim Your Vanity URL

Linkedin, like many other services, allows you to select a custom URL for your profile. We recommend trying your name first. If you have a common first and last name, try including a middle initial or something to do with your profession. You could also include something in relation to your location but this could change over time so it's not recommended. This will make sharing your profile easier and more effective. It will also make you look more professional.

4. Get A Professional Headshot

Speaking of professional, get a photographer to take a good picture of you. A small grainy photo from vacation won't have the same effect on potential employers that a professional headshot will. A good photo of your face will help build connections and show that you're serious about your career.

5. Write A Great Headline

There's very limited space (120 characters) for this piece of prime real estate. Use it wisely. Your headline should be clear, concise, and highlight your abilities and/or experience.

6. Write A Great Summary

Is there an echo in here? Your summary is also front and center on your profile. Make sure you take the time to articulate a concise bio that touches on your skills, your achievements, your goals and add a little personality. Add multimedia to your summary to make it stand out and increase the potential for recruiters to interact with you.

7. Build Your Connections

When you first start out on Linkedin there's a temptation to add everyone you see to your network. Avoid this at all costs. It has become more acceptable in recent years to add people you don't know but it's not recommended. Start by adding those you do know and get some practice networking in the real world. Add every contact you make on Linkedin. Once you have some connections it will be more acceptable to add second connections or request introductions. If you request too many connections to people you don't know, Linkedin may suspend or even remove your account. Don't let all your hard work disappear because you got too excited.

8. Request Recommendations

Chances are if you're good at what you do people will eventually recommend you. That being said it's much more effective to request recommendations. Following an initial push, we recommend requesting one recommendation per month. Don't just ask anyone, choose your targets carefully. When writing a request, ask for specific details such as a skill required for the position you have your eyes set on. If you don't have many connections or if you're uncomfortable asking for recommendations you can offer to write recommendations for others. People will usually reciprocate when asked. It's also wise to get recommendations for every position listed on your profile. Don't be afraid to pick which recommendations to show. It's better to highlight the best ones than to show off that you have 100 recommendations.

9. Add Skills & Get Endorsements

Adding skills is a bit like adding hashtags to you as a professional. Once you have skills listed people can endorse you for them. One way to get endorsements is to endorse others. You can also request that coworkers or clients endorse you. Take extra care to manage which skills are shown and update them regularly. You'll want to make sure they reflect the abilities you want to be known for.

10. Show off Your Accomplishments

If you have a specific achievement that is relevant to your industry, showcase it in the accomplishments section of your profile. The best use for this section is to present momentous milestones, awards, special projects, and learned languages it can also be used to show off contributions to volunteer organizations, professional networking groups, and other notable affiliations. Even things like a top salesperson or employee of the month awards can go here. Show that you're a high achiever.

11. Detail Your Experiences

Highlight the details of your past roles with roles, responsibilities, skills, and achievements. Include multimedia to showcase your work if relevant. Since you're treating Linkedin like your resume, be thorough but concise. However, you want to make sure that you're not overly detailed. Just like a resume you want the reader to be able to get the best picture of your time in that position without having to read a tome. Think quality over quantity. Do the same for each of your past work experiences.

12. Update Your Status

One sign of a good candidate is someone who is active on Linkedin. Show that you're connected to your industry by sharing articles that are relevant to your career. You can go the extra mile by writing an article of your own on Linkedin and sharing it to your network. Be professional with your postings, post somewhat frequently (it doesn't have to be every day), and stay on topic.

13. Join Some Groups

Linkedin Groups are incredibly useful, especially to new users looking to build connections and get their name out. Join groups that are relevant to your field. Post the same type of articles you would to your status in those groups and engage in conversations when possible. Think of groups as digital networking groups specific to your industry or profession.

14. Extra Credit

There are hundreds of potential improvements to make to your Linkedin profile but not all are relevant to each individual, profession, or industry. These extra tricks can help you make the final touches to your Linkedin profile, making it a masterpiece.

  • Be Approachable - It's important to be professional but you are a real person. Adding a little personality to your profile can help to make you seem less like a robot and more like a person that someone would want to work with.
  • Use Keywords Wisely - Keyword stuffing is a great way to make yourself seem robotic. Keywords can help your profile appear in searches but if you use them too much, you risk seeming spammy. Nobody wants to work with a spammer.
  • Hide The “People Also Viewed” Box - By default there's a "people also viewed" box in the sidebar of your profile. Aside from the fact that you can't control who you get affiliated with it's also an opportunity for recruiters to find another potential candidate to work with. Toggle this option off in your privacy settings.
  • Include a Current Job Entry - Even if you're not currently employed, include a current position. There are a number of reasons for this but primarily is because recruiters search by current job title. A good practice is to set your job title to the title of the job you're targeting. Set the company name to something like "Seeking New Opportunity" or "In Transition". That way you'll be able to be found for the job you want without being dishonest.
  • Set Your Profile As Visible To Recruiters - Last but not least, if you want to be found by recruiters (and you do if you're looking for a new job) toggle this setting on. It will allow recruiters to find you and contact you about employment opportunities.

If you know of any other methods for optimizing Linkedin profiles for optimal visibility or to get hired we'd love to hear from you. In fact, if you have a great idea we will update our article and share it on Linkedin with full credits to help you get more exposure in your field.

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