In today’s working world, LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional brand and stand out to potential employers. But it’s not as simple as creating a LinkedIn profile page and doing nothing else. To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, you’ll need to treat it like a resume that is kept updated and optimized.
With more than 875 million members in 200 countries around the world, there’s plenty of competition on LinkedIn. The more you can do to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, the better chances you’ll get that job interview.
Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
1. Choose a Professional Profile Photo
While there are many social media sites out there, LinkedIn is more professional than the rest. This means that using selfies or mobile photos for your profile picture is discouraged. With potential employers also viewing your profile, we recommend using a professional headshot to help make that great first impression. The key here is “headshot,” meaning that half of your face should be viewable in the photo. Far-away photos will appear small and you want to display how you would normally look at work.
2: Customize Your Headline
Along with a professional profile photo, another important part of your profile is the headline. A LinkedIn headline is the section at the top of your profile where you can describe what you do in 220 characters. This description also appears in search results when potential employers search your name on the platform.
While LinkedIn offers a default option that matches your current job title, we recommend crafting a customized headline that distinguishes you from the competition. Here, you can highlight a big project you’re currently working on or any achievements and awards you’ve recently attained. Think of your custom LinkedIn headline as a mini pitch to highlight yourself and write according to the audience you want to attract.
3: Follow Up With a Great Cover Photo
With your profile photo and headline being two of the most important assets on your LinkedIn profile, your cover photo should complement them. You can either choose from one of the templates that LinkedIn provides or choose your own photo. You can either showcase your home office or feature the latest project you worked on. Get creative here, especially if you’re a photographer or graphic designer who relies on thinking outside the box.
4: Get Detailed in Your Summary
Your LinkedIn summary, or the “About” section, is where you can tell a story about your professional experience and skills and provide more information to potential employers. Think about your profile summary as a chance to really tell potential employers about yourself. This is where you can bring those skills to life and assess how they can make a difference in the workplace. Don’t be shy!
5: Customize Your URL and Take Your Profile Public
With all the hard work you’ve put into maintaining your LinkedIn profile, you should also make sure it is easy to access and view. This can be done by customizing the URL (or website address) that was originally made for your profile. Instead of sticking with the default URL which is a mix of your name and random numbers, take the time to edit this to display your full name for easier identification. That way, it’ll be easier for others to find you on LinkedIn by searching for you by name.
6: Grow Your Network
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a social network. It’s a tool that you can use to make connections. Start off by syncing your profile with your email contacts and adding those who you are closely associated with: coworkers, peers, classmates, etc. As you grow your network, you will be added to LinkedIn’s system of first-, second-, and third-degree connections. This shows how closely associated you are with another person and could make your profile more visible to others. By growing your network, you’re more likely to be seen on LinkedIn.
7: Highlight What You’re Skilled At
Another important LinkedIn feature is the chance to showcase skills on your profile. Make sure to list only skills that are relevant, as it can be easy to go overboard. Too long of a skill list might not grab a potential employer’s attention. Your connections can also endorse you for certain skills, further elevating your expertise. Being endorsed for key skills can help employers know that you’re qualified for a job.
8: Ask for Recommendations
While your colleagues can endorse the skills you’ve listed on your profile,, there is another way to get endorsements through LinkedIn Recommendations. Here, you can request a recommendation from another LinkedIn user you are connected with and they can provide a personally written testimonial on their experience working with you. This is worth the extra effort and could go a long way as it shows prospective employers that your colleagues enjoy working with you.
9: Follow Your Interests
Aside from growing your own personal network, you can also follow influencers in your industry or join certain interest groups. You can access content that is outside of your network but still relevant to your professional pursuits. This will also provide more context for your profile and showcase what you are passionate about.
10: Stay Active
Just like with any social network platform, staying active on LinkedIn is key to maintaining your profile page. This could mean either interacting with other connections’ posts by liking or commenting. You can also create your own posts. Staying active is a great way to keep your name in the main feed and stand out in your network.
Whether in-person or digital, first impressions in the professional world always count. You can stay on top of this by building, optimizing, and consistently maintaining your LinkedIn profile. Use these tips to help you enhance your profile and stand out to potential employers.