Did you know that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a primary source for finding new talent?
When it comes to finding a new job (or a new employer finding you), there's no online tool more powerful than LinkedIn. 500 million people actively use the platform to look at over 10 million job posts.
The question is: How can you separate yourself from the pack and ensure employers notice your profile? The key lies in polishing your LinkedIn profile to encourage recruiters to reach out to you.
In this post, we'll reveal 8 expert tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile. Read on to learn more—your next job depends on it!
1. Go Public
This is a simple but often overlooked step in setting up your LinkedIn profile. No matter how amazing your profile looks, recruiters can't find you if it isn't public.
To manage your public profile visibility, visit your account settings. You can customize your options to allow as much (or as little) of your public information you want to display.
2. Include Your Location
Recruiters will likely begin their search with professionals living in their locale. They may use search terms like "photographers in Seattle" or "marketing specialists in Austin."
If you're not sure how recruiters use LinkedIn to find prospective employees, you can always find out more about the process. In the meantime, help them find you by including your town or city in the public information on your profile page.
Bonus tip: This is also a great way to take your online presence offline and into the community. When people in your area can see that you live nearby, it opens up local networking opportunities.
3. Include the Right Pictures
Your profile picture is the first thing recruiters will look at, and it matters more than you think.
Research shows that humans form an opinion of someone within 40 milliseconds of viewing an image. That's not a lot of time to make a first impression!
Your profile picture should be recent, professional, and up close. Your face should take up at least half the shot, and your smile should be sincere and inviting. The photo should also include only you—this is not the place to display your family, hobbies, or pets.
Don't forget to include a relevant background photo for the top of your profile. Select a standout image that fits the context of your work and helps recruiters understand what's important to you.
4. Optimize Your Summary
The Summary, or "About" section, is one of the most powerful parts of your LinkedIn profile. This is your place to highlight your unique skills and why you're an expert in your industry.
Start by optimizing your headline to include more than just your job title. Consider these sample headlines:
- Travel Agent
- Bilingual travel agent (English & Spanish) with 15 years' experience coordinating luxury travel for CEOs and VIPs
See the difference? The second example packs a powerful punch and instantly lets recruiters know who you are and what you're capable of.
Be sure to also select an industry, as recruiters often use that as a starting point. Include major accomplishments and language skills, as well as relevant professional certifications.
5. List Standout Skills
Are you motivated? A real team player? Proficient in Microsoft Word and Google Docs?
Guess what? So is everyone else on LinkedIn.
Profile pages and resumes are full of overused skills and traits that do nothing to make you stand out. Avoid cliched words like "experienced," "specialized," or "leadership." Instead, focus on showing and not telling.
Use the Summary section to tell a story about yourself, your work, and what makes you unique. Include important skills relevant to your field, but don't simply list words like "creative" or "innovative" without demonstrating it in your profile.
6. Request Recommendations
Never underestimate the power of recommendations. A professional recommendation from a former colleague is like an advance reference to a potential employer.
Start by recommending a LinkedIn member you've worked with in the past. By attesting to their great qualities, they'll be more inclined to do the same for you.
You can also get recommendations the old-fashioned way—by asking for them. Reach out to former employers, mentors, or professors and ask for a professional recommendation to include on your profile.
7. Include Volunteer Work
41% of employers consider volunteer work to be just as valuable as paid work experience.
If you've volunteered for different causes in the past (or currently engage in volunteer work), this could give you a valuable edge with hiring managers. Go to the "Add Sections" button under your profile and click on "Volunteer Experience" to add your story.
Who knows? The time you spent at the soup kitchen or the wildlife sanctuary could be the standout feature of your profile that prompts a recruiter to contact you.
8. Customize Your URL
We all like to think we're unique, but chances are there many other LinkedIn users that share your name.
When you sign up, you're given a long, impersonal URL to your profile page. Rather than being Kim294768134, wouldn't it look more professional (and easier to find) if you were KimCarlyle?
To change your URL, go to "Edit Profile" and click "Edit" right under your photo. This will give you the option of creating your own professional and optimized URL.
How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile: Now You Know
When it comes to job hunting, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools on the internet.
It's time to put this powerful tool to work for you. By updating and improving your LinkedIn profile, you'll be in a better position to attract the best employers.
Put the above tips into practice today, and you'll be one step closer to landing your dream job.
Now that you know how to improve your LinkedIn profile, what's next? Check out our Job Alerts page for openings in your area.