Over the past decade, LinkedIn has grown from a simple job board and a place to store your resume to the most powerful career development tool, with more than 875 million members and 58 million listed companies. If you don't use this platform yet, it is the ultimate time to change that. To help you get started, we've put together a list of 15 LinkedIn tips on how to optimize your profile, get noticed by recruiters, and land your dream job in the shortest possible time.
# 1. Choose the right LinkedIn profile picture.
Your LinkedIn profile picture is what other platform users see when you appear in their searches or if you add a comment to their post. You don't necessarily need a professional headshot. Most smartphones today allow you to take perfect pictures. However, there are a few things to remember:
- Use neutral background, such as a white wall
- Make sure you have good lighting in the room and your face is evenly lit from all sides
- Look at the camera so that viewers can see your eyes in the photo
- Dress appropriately for your industry
- Avoid distracting accessories like big and bright earrings
- Do not wear sunglasses or hats
In short, you need an up-to-date photo where you look professional and friendly.
If you are unsure which of your photos will work best for a LinkedIn profile image, consider testing a few options in Photofeeler. This platform allows you to gather unbiased feedback and check how likable, competent, or influential you look in different pictures.
#2. Add a background image that reflects who you are.
A background image is the second visual element at the top of your LinkedIn profile page. Instead of the default blue banner, use something that catches people's attention and reflects what is important to you. It might be a picture of your workspace or something you use in your line of work. For example, if you are a software developer, you can use a photo of a computer screen with a piece of code on it. Or, if you are a data analyst, it can be an image of graphs and charts.
You can also customize your background photo with words. It can be names of the core services you offer or the address of your personal website. If you have doubts about your graphic design skills, adjust the template you like in Canva. It is easy to use and has a free plan, so you don't have to pay for expensive tools.
#3. Use the headline section wisely.
By default, LinkedIn uses your current job title as your headline. However, the platform allows you to add up to 220 characters. Therefore, you can use this space and be more specific in describing who you are and what your core skills are. This is a perfect place to incorporate different keywords that recruiters might use to find you.
For example, instead of the job title QA Analyst, you can use something like that:
QA Engineer | QA Analyst | Software testing | Database and API testing
# 4. Focus on where you want to be instead of where you've been.
Most people build their LinkedIn profiles around their previous experience and education. That seems to be a logical thing to do. However, your job search will be much more effective if you focus more on the roles you are looking for. Let's look at this headline:
Computer Science Student at XYZ University.
At first glance, there is nothing wrong with it. But think about how recruiters search for suitable candidates for open positions. Would they use the keyword "student" when looking for a developer? Most likely, not. So, what can this student use instead? For example:
Junior Software Developer | Seeking entry-level programming position | Python | Django | SQL
This headline is much better as it is packed with keywords and clearly tells recruiters who this person is and what he is looking for. Besides, this individual will see more relevant recommendations in the Jobs section now as LinkedIn better understands which positions might be suitable.
So, think about your ideal job and build the entire LinkedIn profile around it. Use keywords relevant to this role across various sections: Headline, Work Experience, Skills, etc. If you have limited experience in the position that interests you, start with words like aspiring, entry-level, or junior.
# 5. Complete the About section.
Many people leave the About section in their LinkedIn profiles blank. If you are one of them, you miss an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself, highlight your strength, and emphasize how you can help your potential employers. In addition to your profile picture and headline, this is one of the most crucial sections, as it is at the top of the page and draws viewers' attention.
The About section is nothing more than your professional summary. And there is no need to write something super complicated. You can follow this structure:
- Introduce yourself. Tell readers who you are and what you do in one or two sentences.
- Highlight your skills and achievements. In the following paragraphs, tell more about your professional accomplishments and the most important skills. You can use such phrases as I'm best known for X, Y, Z among my coworkers or I'm the go-to person for all things X, Y, Z on my team.
- Briefly mention what you like to do outside of work. You never know which of your interests will resonate with a potential employer.
- Add a call to action. Think about what you want readers to do after reading your summary and ask them about that. For example, you can invite them to connect or take a look at your portfolio.
The About section is where you can show your personality. And if you want to write something more creative, go for it. Just keep in mind that the text should be easily readable, so remember to use paragraphs or bullet lists.
# 6. Complete your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn has three levels of profile completion: beginner, intermediate, and all-star. Aim for an all-star level because you are far more likely to appear in recruiters' search results if your profile is complete. Try to fill in as many sections as possible: Education, Certificates, Skills, Endorsements, Recommendations, etc.
Another thing you can do is change your URL. When you create a LinkedIn profile, the platform automatically assigns your page an address with random letters and numbers. However, you can easily customize it by pressing "Edit public profile & URL" in the top right corner. Ideally, it should be something like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. This way, it will look much better when you share the link in emails or resumes.
# 7. Use the skills section strategically.
Although LinkedIn lets you add up to 50 skills to your profile, instead of quantity, you should focus on how relevant the mentioned competencies are to your ideal job. And keep in mind that only the first 3 skills are visible on your LinkedIn profile page when the Skills section is collapsed. It is essential to reorder your list so you have more critical skills for the position you are looking for at the very top.
Endorsements from other LinkedIn users are a great way to add credibility to your Skills section. The easiest way to get them is to review your network and endorse your coworkers' skills. Usually, it triggers people to return a favor. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with proactively reaching out to people you worked with and asking for endorsement politely.
In addition, you can take skill assessments within the platform. Those online tests verify your expertise in a certain area and help you earn a "Verified Skills" badge on your profile. According to LinkedIn data, candidates who completed skill assessments are 30% more likely to get hired. So, it is worth giving it a try. After all, if you fail the test, you can choose not to show the result and retake it as many times as you want.
# 8. Adjust the privacy settings of your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn allows you to easily control what sections of your profile are visible to your connections, other logged-in users, and people on the internet. For example, you can adjust your settings so that your profile photo is visible only for your 1-st degree connections or that your Education section doesn't appear at all. Before you start actively applying for open jobs, it might be a good idea to go through your privacy settings and ensure that recruiters will see everything you want them to see. Otherwise, your perfectly optimized page can remain unnoticed. To adjust your settings go to Settings & Privacy - Visibility - Edit your public profile.
# 9. Use the "Open to work" function wisely.
Open to work section is an excellent way to signal recruiters that you are actively looking for a new job opportunity. You can click the "Open to" button under your headline and choose the "Finding a new job" option. It will take you to a page where you can specify your preferences: desired roles, job locations, on-site or remote positions, full-time or part-time, and start date.
You can also decide who can see that you are looking for a job: people using LinkedIn Recruiters, in other words, only hiring professionals, or all LinkedIn members. Many career consultants agree that setting the visibility to recruiters is a better choice. You want to look interesting, not desperate.
# 10. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile match.
You have to customize your resume for each position you apply for. However, you cannot do the same for your LinkedIn page. And although, for that reason, they cannot be identical, make sure the data in your profile are consistent with those you provide in the resume. Remember that employers might check your social media pages, including your LinkedIn, even if you do not share the link to it in your application. Double-check that details regarding your education, degree, certificates, and job experience match in both sources.
# 11. Actively use LinkedIn.
Remember that your LinkedIn profile is not a static resume. The platform offers you much more than an opportunity to store information about your skills and work experience online. You can share articles relevant to your industry and write posts to showcase your expertise in a particular area. You can also connect with other professionals, comment on other people's posts, build relationships, and participate in discussions. Actively using LinkedIn will help you to expand your professional network and therefore increase your chances of quickly finding a new job opportunity when you need one.
# 12. Follow your ideal companies on LinkedIn.
You can only find a job you want if you know what you want. So when your LinkedIn profile is optimized, and you are ready to start applying, take time to make a list of the top 10-20 companies you want to work for and 3-4 positions that you are interested in. This simple step will allow you to approach the entire job search process more strategically and help you understand where to focus your effort on LinkedIn.
Once you have such a list, follow these companies. This way, you will see what updates they are posting, what new products they are launching, and so on. It is also a great way to learn about companies' culture, be among the first who know about new open positions, and be better prepared for the interview if any questions regarding the company's news arise.
# 13. Follow recruiters from your ideal companies.
Another great way to boost your job search on LinkedIn is to follow recruiters from your target companies. You can find them in the people section of the company's page or simply use the search bar at the top. Use such terms as a recruiter, talent acquisition, or human resources to find relevant profiles. Then, engage with their posts, leave meaningful comments, and participate in the discussion.
Following recruiters on LinkedIn is beneficial for several reasons:
- They often post about open positions for which they are searching suitable candidates.
- They might share insights on the hiring process in their company, trends in the job market, or other career-related topics.
When you regularly engage with recruiters' content on LinkedIn, you stay on their radar. And it will be easier for them to find your profile and consider you for a job when they have a suitable opening.
# 14. Connect with employees from your target companies.
In addition to following companies' pages and recruiters, you can also connect with employees from your ideal companies. For example, if you are looking for a QA Analyst job, search for employees with similar job titles and send them personalized requests to connect. Here are two main reasons why such connections might help you in your job search:
They can provide valuable insights into the company's culture, work environment, or growth opportunities. You will also have contact to ask questions you wouldn't be comfortable asking a recruiter or a hiring manager.
When you find a suitable opening in their company, they might be willing to refer you. And while referrals don't guarantee a job, they certainly increase the chances that hiring professionals will notice your resume.
# 15. Use the platform even if you are not searching for a new job at the moment.
And our last LinkedIn profile tip is don't do all of the above only when you are actively searching for a new position. LinkedIn can allow you to stay up-to-date with industry trends, discover topics related to your field, or learn new skills. When you actively maintain your LinkedIn profile and update it regularly, you make sure that you present yourself in the best light possible on the job market. And building a strong professional network on the platform can benefit a career in almost any industry. In other words, LinkedIn helps you stay connected, informed, and engaged in your field, no matter where you are in your professional journey.
In 2023, LinkedIn is not just a job board and a space where you can host your resume. This biggest professional network in the world allows you to connect with professionals in your industry, grow your network, and highlight your skills and accomplishments for potential employers. To get the most out of the platform, start optimizing your profile, make meaningful connections, follow thought leaders from your industry and companies that interest you, engage with other people's content, and keep an eye on exciting job opportunities.
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