10 Simple Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool that can help you network and market yourself to recruiters. It’s important to keep your profile up-to-date, even if you’re not on the market for a new job. Here are our ten suggestions that can help you quickly brush up your profile and keep it neat and fresh for your potential profile viewers. You can make these changes in only 10-15 minutes, so you have no excuse not to! 

1. Update The Basics
This includes ensuring that your profile is publicly viewable. You want to increase your visibility to recruiters, and in order for your profile to display in their search, double check that your profile is visible to the public. Other things under the umbrella of “basics” include updating your location, industry, and contact information. Updating these items will allow recruiters to have more accurate results in their searches, and it’ll also help update your network and potential connections. 

2. Use a Professional Photo
Emphasis on the word “professional” – this means no selfies, a picture with your friends, significant other, pet, or otherwise. Your picture should display professionalism, so use a clear picture that only includes you. Additionally, profiles without photos are often ignored because they are seen as inactive. Having a LinkedIn photo increases your profile views; it’s one of the first things a recruiter will see, so have a clean headshot that will market your brand and who you are – even throw in a smile if you can! 

3. Use a Background Photo
Be creative – brand yourself with a background photo that aligns with your industry and field of work. This tool allows you to add a more personal touch to your profile, give it some personality, and make it more aesthetically appealing!

4. Personalize Your LinkedIn URL
Brand yourself with a custom URL that reflects your professionalism. Your personalized URL should include your first and last name. In addition to making a recruiter’s life easier to find you, it will also make your life easier when you link a contact to your profile. Having a custom URL also has an additional advantage: the option to add it to your resume. If you’re floating your resume around in the hunt for a new job, it’ll allow HR to screen your LinkedIn profile more efficiently. 

5. Improve Your Headline
This is your unique way to market and brand yourself to employers, recruiters, and clients. After looking at your photo, this is the most likely the second item your profile viewer will look at, and it’s important to leave a memorable impression – having an enticing headline can go a long way!

At the bare minimum, your headline should include your current position and company; however, you can take it up a notch by including description that showcases your experiences and skillsets. Add the number of years of experience you have in X industry/field, include your unique skills – are you a writer, editor, content specialist, or an X industry strategist? Include specific and concise description in your headline to truly highlight who you are.

6. Write a Stellar Summary
Your summary should be an extension of your headline. Highlight your experiences by summarizing them clearly and concisely. Don’t fill your summary section with buzzwords; instead focus on your work experience highlights. For instance, rather than claiming you’re a results oriented person, describe a time you delivered promising results. 

This section doesn’t have to delineate every important detail you’ve accomplished thus far in your career – this is left to the actual job responsibilities description; the summary section should do exactly as it describes: summarize your significant accolades, leadership roles, projects, and career specialties and experiences. 

7. Enhance Your Responsibilities
If you recently started a new role or haven’t updated your tasks and responsibilities in your current role, make sure you write a compelling description. Your descriptions should align with your current title, and it’s important to have strong accounts of your leadership roles, results, and primary duties and responsibilities of both your current and former positions. If in your summary section you included a broad description of a major project you finished or were in charge of, this is the section where you would further dive into the details of it – truly showcase what you accomplished; include numbers to back up your results if possible. 

8. Strategize Your Endorsements
The average LinkedIn user generally has a handful of endorsements for a wide range of skills, and not all of these skills are useful to note or even worthy of consuming space in this section. 

Remove skills that are irrelevant to what you want to showcase to employers and clients; being proficient at Google Docs or Microsoft Word is not a key selling point and is already an expected skill to have by employers in this market. In addition, if you have an endorsement for Adobe Photoshop but your only experience using it was for a marketing class in college, consider removing it as well. Fabricating your endorsements is not strategic, and can potentially hurt your professional reputation. 

Other methods to strategize your endorsements are to include skills relevant to your career and industry. To further strategize this, include the most important of these skills at the very top. 

9. Expand Your Network
Join groups relevant to your career, interests, activities, college, etc. This is an easy way to expand and broaden your network to get in touch with like-minded individuals. 

Other methods to expand your network is to connect with people via search – maybe it’s someone in a role that you’re interested in learning about, or perhaps someone in an industry you’re considering switching into, or it’s someone you’ve never met before but hold some baseline connection to such as being an alumni of the same university. Regardless of the scenario, you want to present yourself as a professional, rather than someone that seems like a complete stranger with no shared interests or commonalities to the person you’re attempting to connect to. 

One way to improve your networking skills is to send personalized invitations to connect, rather than keeping the default LinkedIn invitation message. Remind them of how you met or how you share a common foundation – perhaps you were in the same Greek organization or club in college, or you had a discussion with them on their post or in a LinkedIn Group.

10. Request Recommendations
While endorsements for your skills are great, an even better asset on your profile is recommendations from your former colleagues and supervisors. If you want them to highlight something specific in the recommendation, don’t be afraid to ask them to do so. 

A clarifying note: the recommendation section on your LinkedIn profile is not the same as a reference or recommendation that employers request when you’re interviewing, and an additional tip is to remove “References Available Upon Request” from the bottom of your resume. 

The recommendation section on your profile in essence acts as a “review” for the kind of employee you are for potential employers and recruiters to read, which is why it’s important to be diligent about your recommendations. 

This section holds the greatest significance after your job description and summary portions of your profile, so make it awesome! Don’t shy away from asking those you’ve worked with for a stellar recommendation. 

 

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