Whether you have decades of experience or you’re in the first phase of your career, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can help tell your professional story to recruiters and potential employers. It allows you to convey much more than a resume and is often the go-to resource for anyone preparing to interview a candidate.
In fact, according to a Jobvite Recruiter Nation study, 77% of recruiters use LinkedIn when searching for and evaluating candidates.
No matter where you are in your career, it’s a good idea to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and optimized. You never know who will be looking.
Here are eight of our top tips for improving your profile:
Your photo is one of the first things someone will see when viewing your profile. If it’s not shot by a professional photographer, that’s OK; but make sure you have a high-quality, clear and professional-looking photo. Dress as if you are heading into an interview. Keep the background neutral and pay attention to accessories, hair, etc.
LinkedIn’s headline feature gives you a chance to grab attention and succinctly market your best traits. Don’t be shy — tout your experience and use adjectives that will help you stand out in a crowded field. With character limits, make every word count. A few examples: “Finance Leader + Strategist Seeking Sr Level Role” or “Growth-Focused Accounting Pro | Team Player | Process Geek.”
With more than 50,000 recognized skills to choose from, LinkedIn allows you to add skills to your profile in addition to your employment history. Utilize this feature by selecting skills common to your industry. Be strategic by selecting the best suited skills rather than as many skills as possible.
Engage and Connect
When you spend time on LinkedIn, engage with other users and post your own content, the LinkedIn algorithm ranks your profile higher, making it more visible to potential employers. Join groups, comment on your connections’ content and post your own content, including shared articles and observations. But always remember: Anything you say or do on LinkedIn (and any social media) might be seen by a current or future boss.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Paying extra close attention to the details on your profile will speak volumes to recruiters and employers. This goes beyond correcting typos. Make sure your profile is consistent by using the same punctuation and capitalization throughout, as well as past tense for previous roles.
Less is More
While LinkedIn allows you to add as much information as you want to your profile, you don’t need to include everything back to your high school physics club award. You want to add details about your past experiences and skills but not clutter your profile with irrelevant content. Focus on your profile being readable and engaging rather than a memoir.
The Summary is Not an Objectives Section
Use the summary section to tell your story and add personality to your experiences. Simply stating your objective in third person is outdated and just sounds stuffy. Instead, include approachable and professional language to share what makes you unique. First-person is recommended. If storytelling is not your forte, ask yourself passion-based questions such as: What made you want to go into this industry? What is something unconventional that ties into your industry?
Customize Your URL
LinkedIn allows you to customize your URL to appear as linkedin.com/in/your-name, which is much more visually appealing when included on resumes, email signatures or social media bios. You can update your URL by following the instructions in this LinkedIn help article.
Taking these eight simple steps to spruce up your LinkedIn profile will not only help you stand out from the crowd — it could help you land your next dream job.