When was the last time you stopped and took a moment to improve your LinkedIn profile? Like most people, you have probably ignored it as you may not be looking for a job at the moment. Sure, you add people you meet at networking events, accept connection invites from those working in the same industry as you, and respond to an occasional message. How about everything else though? Your personal brand and how to communicate your strengths may be getting neglected during quieter times, so a LinkedIn profile overhaul is something you should probably consider doing right now.
Whether you’re gathering leads, networking in your industry, or hunting for a new job, having an eye-catching, professional LinkedIn profile is a great way to make sure that you can be found by the right people at the right time.
Here are five top tips from our team to effectively boost your LinkedIn profile today.
1) Have A Professional Photo
Did you know that LinkedIn profiles which have a photo are 11 times more likely to be viewed? If you haven’t added a photo to your profile yet, you need to fix that right now.
Choose a friendly, professional, and clear photo that positions you as someone people should trust and want to work with. If you’re not sure what type of photo is suitable, take a look around at what other people in your company, sector, or business level are wearing in their photos. This should give you a fair idea about what you should request from a headshot photographer when you book an appointment to for a new set of shots. Remember, your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be from 10 years ago. It needs to look like the person you are now, doesn’t have other people in the shot, or anything that belongs on a dating or stock photo website. LinkedIn is a social media network for professionals, so be on.
2) Regularly Refresh Your Profile Basics
Many people forget to keep their LinkedIn profiles updated. Whether you’re someone that’s completely new to the platform, kicking off a search for new opportunities, or starting a new job, there’s no excuse for having outdated information on your profile. It shows a lack of care on your part and will reflect badly on you. It’s worth refreshing the basics of your profile every couple of months as it’s easy to forget about them when pre-occupied with other tasks.
Your headline: The goal behind having a headline is to encourage people to click through to your profile. It doesn’t have to be your job title and company – in fact, if you’re searching for a new role, or trying to source new business, it shouldn’t be. Instead, use that space to highlight your specialty, value proposition, and skills that tell everyone who you are what you do, and why they need to connect with you. The more specific you can be about what makes you a standout candidate, the more it will set you apart from the competition.
Don’t forget that if you want your profile to be searchable, it’s important to include relevant keywords in your headline. Try to keep it under 10 words though.
Industry and location: Have you moved to a different country or changed career? Double check the location and industry sections on your profile is reflective of your current situation. There’s nothing worse than having outdated information that missells who you are as a person.
3) Ask For Recommendations
Endorsements are great, but recommendations will be what sets you apart from others in your industry. They’re pretty easy to get if you feel comfortable reaching out to past colleagues, managers and other associates who you have worked with in the past (or even present). LinkedIn makes it really easy to get recommendations as they provide a “Ask to be recommended” link which allows you to message existing connections with a personalized message about why they should take the time to write one for you.
It’s important to be picky about who you contact though. Most people have connections on LinkedIn who they have never met before, so it doesn’t make much sense to contact them about a recommendation. You need to be selective when reaching out to people as it’s only those that really know you who will be open to blocking out the time necessary to write a comprehensive recommendation. If there are specific skills you want your industry contacts to highlight in their recommendation, don’t be shy about telling them about what you’d like to be included. It’s also worth considering writing a recommendation for them first as it will increase the odds that your contact will feel obligated to return the favor.
4) Prune Your Endorsements
Endorsements are a great way to highlight your skills – as long as your profile isn’t overloaded with them and communicate only those that are relevant to your career.
LinkedIn allows people to endorse you for all sorts of skills which you may not even have. It’s possible to be endorsed for “eating”, “weight gain”, “stealth”, “fun” and “parties” and many more which are not applicable to most industries or roles. While it may be a joke among friends by doing this, you need to remember that LinkedIn is a professional social media network, and needs to be treated as such when carefully managing what’s noted on your profile. You can easily remove irrelevant skills and endorsements so there’s no excuse for lying about your skill set.
5) Use Numbers
Most of us are guilty of simply copying and pasting our job description onto our LinkedIn profile without giving it a second thought. However, you should treat your LinkedIn profile like your CV by highlighting past results in your summary. Did you work on a campaign that you’re particularly proud of? Include numbers and case studies to highlight your successes as it will help show others why you’re worth chatting to.
Recruiters and hiring managers may only glance at your profile so if you want to make yourself stand out, you need to position yourself as an expert in your field who will have a measurable return if they take a chance by hiring you for a role. They want to imagine how you may be able to help them, so rather than saying “I managed the link-building campaigns for “X””, you might say, “I generated 97 top-tier links from 52 authoritative websites which contributed to our organic traffic improving by 22% MOM within 6 months of me starting at the company”. Which one do you think will help attract the most attention? Yep, it’s the latter one.
If you implement these five simple tips today, your profile will be more attractive to recruiters and hiring managers. Just be sure that you refresh your profile on an ongoing basis so that you can attract new connections, grow your influence, and hopefully get that job you have always dreamed about having.