When you’re an employee of a company, it’s your job to represent that company’s brand in a positive light. But as a professional in the modern world, you also have to consider how you’re representing your own brand–your skills, unique qualifications, and passions that make you an asset in the workforce. One way to positively showcase this professional brand is through your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is your contemporary calling card for all career-related purposes. It’s one of the first things a colleague or prospective employer will see when they type your name into Google, and it’s where recruiters turn to find strong candidates for their open roles. So, it pays to make your profile as polished as possible.
Follow these 10 steps from our hiring experts to make your profile stand out and help you get hired.
Impress the hiring manager with these LinkedIn profile tips
1. Use a clear, professional photo
Humans are visual creatures. Your photo is the first impression visitors to your profile will have of you, so you want to make sure it looks great.
Use a recent photo that conveys what you currently look like. If you’ve changed your hairstyle, for example, update your picture to reflect the new look. Wear something that you’d typically wear to work–a suit jacket for an attorney, a crisp polo for a construction project manager, etc.
Use a headshot–your shoulders upward–rather than a far-away, full body shot. Choose a photo that’s clear and well lit, not grainy.
2. Add a great header image
Displayed behind your main photo, your header image is the secondary visual element of your LinkedIn profile. It adds interest and gives additional context to your profile. You might use a scenic shot of your workplace, a landscape image that shows you in action on the job or a graphic featuring a quote that inspires you, to give a few examples.
3. Write a compelling headline
Your headline is the first line of text displayed immediately beneath your name. Many people use their job title, which is perfectly acceptable, but you can also do more with your headline by expanding upon what you do. Instead of ‘Digital Marketing Specialist, for example, ’ you might write ‘Social media expert helping companies craft stories for a digital audience.’ LinkedIn allows for headlines of up to 220 characters, so you’ve got a good amount of space to work with.
4. Consider keywords that represent your career goals
To decide which keywords to incorporate into your LinkedIn profile, think about the words that a hiring manager or recruiter would be using when searching for candidates. This might include job titles, industries, locations, skills, and applications or specialty areas in which you’re proficient.
An online keyword finder like Resume Worded can help you identify the top keywords used in the job descriptions for positions you’re interested in. For your best chance of getting noticed, try to incorporate as many relevant keywords as possible into your profile starting with the most prominent sections.
In addition to adding keywords, you’ll also want to eliminate fluff words that have become cliche, like ‘strategic’ and ‘passionate.’
5. Ensure your experience matches your resume
Unfortunately, most professionals don’t keep their LinkedIn profile as up to date as they should, thinking of it only when they’re looking for a new job. However, the best opportunities can come your way when you’re not expecting it. This can only happen, however, if hiring managers and recruiters can find you.
Update your LinkedIn profile regularly with your latest skills and experience, making sure what’s listed in your profile is consistent with your actual job responsibilities.
6. Use bullets when describing work experience
Instead of writing paragraphs of text under each position you’ve held, use bullets to summarize your experience at each one. Bullets are easier for readers to scan quickly, especially on a mobile device.
Rather than just listing your job duties, use the work experience section to highlight your most impressive achievements in each role. Use quantifiable terms (i.e. “exceeded quarterly sales goals by 15%”) whenever possible.
7. Add skills for endorsements
Endorsements from other LinkedIn users help add credibility to the skills you list in your profile. When you add skills, you can request for current and former colleagues who are familiar with your work to endorse you. But you don’t even have to do that much, since LinkedIn makes it possible for any of your 1st degree connections to endorse you for any of your skills on their own.
Be sure to actively manage your endorsements to make sure they reflect your professional brand correctly. For example, if you’re looking to move into a managerial role but your sales endorsements heavily outweigh those for leadership skills, you’ll want to invest in securing additional endorsements for the more relevant ones.
When you receive endorsements, it’s courteous to visit the other person’s profile and provide a return endorsement for any skills of theirs that you can vouch for.
8. Grow your network
LinkedIn is all about connections. They’re how other users get in touch with you and, in turn, how you interact with people who can help advance your career. So, growing your network on the platform is key.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re connected with everyone you actually know in the professional world is to sync your LinkedIn profile with your email contacts. After that, send a LinkedIn request to new contacts you meet as a follow-up after business meetings and networking events.
As you get more active on the platform, you’ll begin to receive more connection requests from other users. You don’t have to accept every single one, but accepting those from users who are in your industry in areas you’re interested in is a great way to stay abreast of new opportunities.
9. Keep your personal life mostly personal
Your family vacation to Disneyland may have been amazing, but the snapshot of you grinning alongside Mickey Mouse is best reserved for your personal profile on Facebook or another platform. While it’s fine to show a bit of your personality in what you post, LinkedIn is ultimately a professional networking site, so it’s best to limit the content you share on it to just that: the professional.
10. Have a friend or recruiter proofread
Once you’ve polished up your LinkedIn profile with the tips above, enlist a trusted colleague or a recruiter you’re working with to give it a once-over. They can point out typos your tired eyes have missed and offer additional suggestions to make your profile even stronger.
By putting your best foot forward on the top professional social network, you’ll stay abreast of developments in your industry and be more likely to learn about enticing opportunities that could benefit your career.