As a recruiting company, trust us when we say we know a thing or two about what makes a great LinkedIn profile. With 450 million active profiles, LinkedIn is packed with candidates who have every skill, experience, and proficiency under the sun. LinkedIn also stays fresher than most resumes. Unlike resumes, which tend to be updated when someone is actively job hunting, most working professionals keep the LinkedIn profile relatively up-to-date.
If you’re even thinking about changing jobs, an updated LinkedIn profile should be at the top of your priority list. Not only will it lead hiring managers to come to you with relevant job offers, it’s almost universally used to vet job applicants. A great LinkedIn profile can give you an edge over another candidate who has only done the bare bones.
NOTE: If you’re going to be making a lot of updates to your LinkedIn profile, make sure turn off notifications to contacts – there is an on/off switch to the right when you view your own profile. This will prevent your contacts from being overloaded (and annoyed) by numerous emails detailing what changes you made. This will also help you keep your job hunt confidential if you don’t want your boss to know.
get the basics down
- First and foremost, adopt a custom URL, ideally, it should be an easy-to-remember variation of your name, and include it on your resume and any emails to recruiters and hiring managers
- Write a compelling headline that isn’t your job title
- Upload a professional photo. No selfies, please. You should be professionally dressed in a brightly lit environment. A smile goes a long way, too.
- Check that your email, phone number and other contact information are up-to-date
- Include a background photo. This is an oft-overlooked feature that adds the finishing touch to your profile. Just make sure you choose a professional image that’s relevant to your industry.
polish your summary
- The summary section of your profile should paint a picture and inject a little bit of personality. Think of it as an opportunity to make a first impression – it’s the equivalent of a “tell me about yourself” interview question. If you don’t hit it out of the park, hiring managers may not read any further.
- Refer to yourself as “I” in your summary. Everyone knows you’re writing your summary yourself. No need to pretend otherwise.
- Include relevant pictures, videos, or a portfolio if you have them. As we all know, a picture can say a thousand words, and a video can say a million.
showcase your work experience
- Be detailed, particularly about your skills and accomplishments
- Bulleted lists are an easy to scan format that gets across key information quickly
- Avoid writing in long, dense paragraphs. These are troublesome to read, and most hiring managers won’t bother.
- Make sure you have a separate listing for each job you’ve held, even if some are for the same company.
- Don’t be afraid to reuse or repeat content from your resume or CV. There’s only so many ways to describe your work experiences. Recruiters and hiring managers won’t judge you for reusing well-crafted content.
- That said, your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a carbon copy of your resume. In most cases, your LinkedIn profile will be more detailed than your resume.
- Make sure your profile is ordered so that important roles appear at the top of your profile. Hint: this isn’t always chronological order. Bump up the roles that are most relevant to the jobs you want.
update your skills and collect endorsements
- Keep an eye on your endorsements and recommendations. Remove any that are unflattering or not relevant.
- The best way to build your endorsements is to be proactive. Endorse your connections and they might just endorse you back as a thank you.
- Make sure to add new skills as you learn them
build your connections
- Connect with coworkers or clients you work with on a regular basis
- As for etiquette on connecting with people you don’t know? There’s no harm in building new relationships. It’s not taboo to connect with people you don’t know well – say a new client you’ve just met, or someone who works for a company you’re interested in working for.
- Remember it’s quality, not quantity, that matters
don’t forget about the extras
- Have you done any volunteer work? Have you won any awards? Do you have certifications from any professional organizations? Make sure to fill out these sections.
- Do you have a professional website or contribute to any blogs? Link them!
Though your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool that will amp up your job hunt, for the best results, be proactive about finding and applying to jobs you love.