Do you want to increase your chances of getting hired by recruiters? Are you looking for new job opportunities in your field? Having a great LinkedIn profile will help you attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers to do just that.
“Why?” you may ask. First, research shows that 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn when in search of new talent. This is because LinkedIn has 575+ million users, with more than 260 million monthly active users. Second, LinkedIn is popular among college students and graduates. In fact, it has more than 133 million active users in the US, which makes it a good source for new talent. Lastly, having an optimized LinkedIn profile helps you rank higher on LinkedIn searches, getting your profile in front of the eyeballs of a recruiter. Research reveals that an optimized LinkedIn profile receives more than 132% views, which results in more job opportunities.
So, do you want recruiters to notice your LinkedIn profile? Want to know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for increased search appearances?
Then let’s optimize your LinkedIn profile so you can stand out among other job candidates.
Steps to Optimizing Your LinkedIn profile
What most job candidates do not know is that their LinkedIn profile is a professional landing page. Basically, it tells potential recruiters who you are, your qualifications, and your job experience. To land your dream job, you need to look the part online.
No matter where you are on your LinkedIn Profile journey – brand new account, started but not completed, or have had your profile up for a while – these next steps will help you optimize it for the best results.
1. Customize Your Profile URL
It’s essential to customize your LinkedIn profile URL if you want to stand out among other candidates. Besides looking more professional, easier to read, and easier to share, a good customized URL will get you ranked higher.
Go to your LinkedIn profile and if you haven’t yet customized your profile URL it will look something like this:
Customize it so it reads something like this instead:
While your custom URL can contain 5 to 30 letters or numbers, avoid special characters and symbols. The best custom URLs will be or at the very least include your name. Including your name makes it easier for the platform to rank you higher among the millions of profiles.
If your name has special characters, change them to universal characters. You can still use special characters for your name on your profile, but for the URL we want to keep it simple. This makes it easier for search engine bots to index your profile.
What do you do about doppelgangers?
If you have a common first and last name, and with millions of LinkedIn users worldwide, you may come across hundreds or even thousands of profiles with a similar name as yours. If that is the case for you then consider using your middle name, middle initial, or a professional nickname (e.g. Ron instead of Ronald). Whatever name you choose to go by then make sure to use that same name across all your platforms. You want someone to know that when they see your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles that John T. Smith is John T. Smith. If you are John T. Smith on one platform and Johnny Smith on another and it will be hard for them to connect you. It also looks more professional to have consistency.
2. Use a Professional-Looking Photo
A professional-looking photo increases the credibility of your LinkedIn profile. Also, it helps you to stand out among other profiles. Research shows that LinkedIn profiles with a professional-looking photo get up to 21 times more views.
Choose a good quality background photo that represents you. Avoid unprofessional photos that are grainy or out of focus.
3. Fill in Your Relevant Work, Education, and Volunteer History
LinkedIn is more than a resume. This is the place to go ahead and wax a little poetic as this is your professional history. Of course, you don’t have to include that summer side-job if you don’t want too, but you also can if you think it’s relevant, interesting, adds to your credibility or diversity of skills, or you’re proud of it. And remember to fill in volunteer work! Research shows that 42% of hiring managers say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to job experience.
4. Include Relevant Keywords
It’s essential to pay attention to terminology and wording. Keywords are powerful phrases that make it easy for recruiters to find the right candidates. Many recruiters use keyword searches that include the specific job title they are looking for.
For example, a hiring manager for a tech company who is sourcing for system engineers could use the keywords “system engineer” or “system engineer LA.” By adding a location to the search LinkedIn will return system engineers located in the LA area.
A majority of candidates are unsure of what keywords to use. Select keywords from your relevant skills or job descriptions from jobs you’d like to have. Now, apply these keywords to your LinkedIn profile.
You can also optimize your keyword weight to increase search visibility. First, create a list of terms that are relevant to the specific job you desire in your industry. Next, go to your LinkedIn profile and select all text. What you’re going to do next is see what words pop up the most frequently. Find a website such as www.worldclouds.com, which creates visual mind maps of the words you input. Copy and paste your list of words and allow the tool to do its magic. If the top words you’re using on your profile (common words like the aside) don’t include important keywords then update your profile until they do.
5. Update Your Headline and Summary
Now that you have a list of relevant keywords, we recommend that you incorporate them in your headline and summary. Just like including keywords throughout your profile, keywords in your headline and summary makes it easier for recruiters to find your profile.
When it comes to the headline be creative, original, and clear. Describe your profession in 120 characters.
Keep your summary exciting and brief. In the summary section, LinkedIn allows you to add quality media. For example, you can add documents, images, videos, and links. We recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity and upload relevant media. For example, include a link to a newspaper article introducing your work or a video demonstrating your skills.
Remember, be specific about your industry and location.
A majority of LinkedIn users list their past achievements. While this is good, spice it up a little by not only listing your past achievements but also including your future goals and ambitions as well. Giving a glimpse of your future goals informs the recruiter that you are ambitious.
Consider the following headlines:
Author | Coach | Speaker | Social Media Strategy Consultant
San Francisco | CA
Lead System Engineer at XYZ, Inc
Seattle, Washington State
For more great insights on how to write your profile summaries, check out these 10 LinkedIn Profile Summaries That We Love.
6. Upload Your Work Samples
Embrace the visuals by uploading your work samples. You can upload presentations from SlideShare, YouTube videos, and documents from Google Docs. You can also add other items such as projects, patents, volunteering, and charity work.
7. Request colleagues and friends to endorse your skills
Endorsements affect how you appear in LinkedIn search results. When a colleague endorses your skills, not only does it help others understand your strengths, but it increases the likelihood of recruiters discovering you.
It’s better to have fewer skills but more endorsements than list different skills but have no endorsements. Every year on LinkedIn update your skills and job experience section. Add newly acquired skills and remove skills that are no longer relevant to your career, especially those that have few or no endorsements.
8. Request Recommendations
As proof of your skills and strengths, LinkedIn recommendations can make a positive difference to your profile and have a positive impact on your online reputation as a job candidate.
They help you stand out among other profiles applying for the same job. They add a level of credibility to your skills and job experience. If you want to be at the top of your game and convince hiring managers that you are the one then include recommendations.
You can request recommendations from colleagues, friends, and business partners. There are two ways of getting recommendations: you can either send a request to a LinkedIn contact asking them to write a recommendation, or you can write a recommendation to someone hoping they will write to you.
Keep in mind, however, that not every recommendation will improve your profile equally. Seek professional recommendations from mentors and colleagues who can speak to your unique skills and qualifications in a very positive way.
If you have recommendations that do not suit your career or professional goals you can hide them. Do this by going to the Recommendation section and tap the Edit icon. Tap the Received tab followed by the Edit icon. Now locate the recommendation you would like to hide. Toggle Hide the Recommendation and then tap Save. To show a previously hidden recommendation repeat the previous steps above but instead of switching the Toggle to Hide, Toggle to Show.
9. Write and Post LinkedIn Articles
Writing original, relevant articles is a sure way of increasing your professional credibility by improving your thought leadership position.
Google indexes all LinkedIn articles as long as they are visible to the public. We recommend that you try to write a new article every three months, making sure your article is specific to your career and industry. It should contain information that helps other users in the same industry.
Here are a few tips to help you write a great article:
- Research efficiently
- Include relevant keywords
- Create compelling headlines that do not exceed 60 characters
- Have a compelling introduction, body, and conclusion
- Keep it simple
- Proofread before publishing
10. Be Active on LinkedIn
A majority of LinkedIn users think that having a profile is enough to convince recruiters they are the ideal candidate. Well, it’s not. You have to be active on the platform.
One way to be active is to join groups related to your personal interests and field. For example, if your field is digital marketing, join digital marketing groups.
Follow different companies on the platform relevant to your field. This can open your eyes to more opportunities. While you are following company XYZ you discover an employee of theirs has moved on to pursue his personal interests. Since you are following them you already know that there is an opening and you can reach out to the HR department and seek a job interview.
Besides being active, you need to expand your connections. Experts recommend that you aim for 300 to 1500 connections. The more connections you have, the higher the chances of you getting discovered by the right company. But don’t connect with just anyone. Make sure the people you connect with on LinkedIn are relevant to your interests and goals.
11. Be Discreet
It can be harmful to you if your current employer finds out you are seeking a new job. If that is keeping you from posting on LinkedIn, then fear not. You can update your privacy settings so that your current boss will not be aware of your job search. You can also discreetly let recruiters know that you are seeking employment and this status is not reflected publically on your profile.