With over 500 million users in more than 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful professional and networking tools to find jobs, connect with like-minded people, share your work experience and promote your business.
If you’re a LinkedIn user, head over to Google and do a quick search of your name. Chances are your LinkedIn profile is one of the top search results that will appear. From a personal branding perspective, it’s important that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and reflective of who are you and where you are in your career.
Whether you’re in the midst of looking for a new job or your LinkedIn profile is out of date, here are some simple tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile and make it standout amongst the rest.
1. Optimize your headline with keywords and phrases
Along with your name and picture, your professional headline is visible in LinkedIn search results. Your headline should summarize who you are in 120 characters or less. Similar to Google, LinkedIn uses keywords and phrases to determine how highly your profile will rank in search results, so consider which keywords are most relevant to what you do and what skills you have to offer. Ask yourself, “what search terms would my ideal employer use if they were recruiting for the job I want?” Voila! You now have your keywords and/or phrases. Editing your headline is fairly simple. If you need some help, here are the step-by-step instructions to editing your LinkedIn headline.
2. List your achievements
Within the work experience section of your LinkedIn profile, for each position you have listed you should include a summary of your responsibilities as well as your achievements in the role. Bonus points if you’re able to quantify your achievements. For example, if the social media referral traffic/community size increased, or you saved time and/or money on a project – include how much. Step-by-step instructions on how to edit your LinkedIn work experience can be found here.
3. Complete all sections including education, certifications and volunteer experience
Showcase how well rounded you are with listing your volunteer experience, certificates and education. Similar to your work experience summaries, try to include an achievement-focused summary for your education and volunteer experience.
- Instructions on how to edit your education section can be found here.
- Instructions on how to edit your certification section can be found here.
- Instructions on how to edit your volunteer experience can be found here.
4. Update Skills and Endorsements section
The “Skills and Endorsements” section is important because your LinkedIn connections are easily able to endorse these skills. Also, if employers/recruiters are searching for potential candidates, they can search by skills. Make sure that your list of skills are up to date and remove any duplicates or skills that aren’t relevant. Learn how to edit your skills section here.
5. Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations appear directly on your profile and act as an informal reference letter that speaks to your skills and working style. If you worked with a LinkedIn connection on a project or you were members of the same board, send them a recommendation request. To make it easier for them, remind them of your role on the project and as an incentive, offer to give them a recommendation, too. Here are instructions on how to send a recommendation request.
Other “quick fixes” for improving your LinkedIn profile include:
- A professional headshot for your profile photo;
- Claim your LinkedIn profile vanity URL;
- Upload a background image;
- Upload samples of your work in the media section;
- Promote your LinkedIn profile;
- Be active, post updates and engage with your connections updates, too.
How do you make your LinkedIn profile stand out amongst the rest? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments! And if you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me here.