With more than 675 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest network for professionals. Having a strong LinkedIn profile can help you distinguish your personal brand, connect with other professionals, be more visible to recruiters, and more easily find a job. In fact, data shows that 85 percent of all open roles today are filled through networking, making LinkedIn a more crucial tool in the job search than ever before.
Yet having a solid LinkedIn profile doesn’t just happen overnight. Instead, it’s important to invest time in cultivating your network. This includes, continuously updating your information, connecting with colleagues, and joining groups in order to improve your profile.
Read on for the top eight LinkedIn profile tips that can help take your profile to the next level and, in turn, improve your marketability as a candidate in your job search.
8 Top LinkedIn Profile Tips
1. Write a Compelling Summary
Think of the summary as a cover letter to your audience—it’s one of the first things people see. Create a compelling summary by emphasizing who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re interested in. Don’t forget to highlight your professional achievements, such as how you’ve helped grow sales by $500,000 or increased department productivity by 20 percent. Lastly, integrate industry keywords into your summary to mirror your headline and stand out to hiring managers.
The summary section can be used to your benefit when looking for jobs, as well. If you have a specific role in mind, weave in some of the language from the job posting that you are interested in. This can help you stand out and resonate with the hiring manager, without being too heavy-handed in your approach.
2. Create a Descriptive Headline
Job titles aren’t always the best at conveying why you’re the right person for the job. Avoid being generic by making your headline pop with descriptive words and phrases. Use keywords that hiring managers utilize to find top-tier talent in your industry.
For example, instead of a “Marketing Manager at XYZ Company,” try, “Published Content Marketer Specializing in SEO, Blogging, Google Analytics, and Content Strategy.” The more detailed you can be in your headline, the better you will convey the unique value that you bring to the table.
Headlines are extra important because they tend to be one of the first pieces of information that someone reads on your LinkedIn profile. By crafting an engaging headline, you’ll be better able to grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to keep learning more.
3. Post a Professional Profile Picture
LinkedIn profiles with professional profile photos receive 14 times more views than those without one. Your photo will help your connections recognize you and bring legitimacy to your profile.
Here are some helpful tips for taking a professional photo:
- Make eye contact with the camera and smile
- Dress professionally
- Keep the photo closely cropped to your face
- Use a plain background
- Make sure you’re alone in the photo—without any friends, family, or pets
- Try several camera shots to ensure you pick the best photo possible for your profile
It is important to bear in mind that exactly what makes a photo “professional” will depend on the type of work that you’re looking to do. Those in creative industries, for example, may lean towards less formal attire than someone in a more corporate role.
Pro Tip: When in doubt, think of a company that you would like to work for, and visit the LinkedIn profiles of some of the people who work there. Then do your best to model your photo—including your outfit, pose, and image crop—off of theirs.
Trying to Find Ways to Stand Out in Today’s Job Market?
Learn how a graduate degree from Northeastern can help.
4. Get Endorsed
LinkedIn users with at least five skills listed receive up to 17 times more profile views. Highlighting your most compelling industry-specific skills— such as copywriting, strategic planning, analytics, or project management—can give your profile a little boost.
Have your network endorse your skills, and remember to endorse theirs in return. Getting endorsements from others in your industry for a particular skill demonstrates your expertise and enhances your credibility.
In addition, remain relevant by keeping your skill set updated. If you switch careers, develop new competencies, or take on new tasks, drop outdated skills from your profile and add new ones that are more relevant to your career and goals.
5. Give and Receive Recommendations
Having strong recommendations that speak to your accomplishments is one of the most powerful LinkedIn profile tips to showcase your personal brand. These recommendations will catch the eye of future hiring managers and give you an added boost of confidence.
When seeking out recommendations, take the time to pick the right people and ensure you are always gracious with your ask. If you’re uncomfortable reaching out to managers, then consider recommendations from professors, advisors, and colleagues. Also, be specific about what you want highlighted to ensure that their comments contribute to the overall goals of your profile.
Remember that networking is not just what other people can do for you, but what you can do for them, too. Make sure to give recommendations to people you know well and have worked with. This is a great way to provide value to your network.
Pro Tip: Check your “Social Selling Dashboard,” or SSI, to see what areas you need to work on in order to improve your engagement. According to LinkedIn, your SSI measures “how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships.”
6. Join Industry-Aligned Groups
More than half of all users belong to at least one group on LinkedIn. Become a part of relevant industry groups to help round out your network. These groups also allow professionals in the same field or with similar interests to connect, share content, ask and answer questions, view and post jobs, and gain industry expertise. And with over 2 million groups on LinkedIn, there’s something for everyone.
Keep in mind, however, It’s not enough to simply join a group. You also want to be an active and respectful participant in any group that you join. Doing so will help you showcase your unique personal brand and develop relationships with others in your industry who could one day become an employer or coworker.
7. Be a LinkedIn “All-Star”
Having an “All-Star” profile helps you become more visible on LinkedIn—in fact, research shows that those with this feature are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than those without.
You can achieve “All-Star” status by having the following information on your LinkedIn profile:
- A profile photo
- Your industry and location
- Your education
- At least 50 connections
- An up-to-date current position, including a description
- Two past positions
- Three or more skills listed
You can also boost your visibility by including additional information, such as:
- Special projects you’ve worked on
- Certifications that highlight your specialized knowledge
- Social media links like Twitter and Facebook
- Any publications you’ve written for or been featured in
- Volunteering experiences and meaningful causes to you
- Awards you’ve received
8. Create a Custom LinkedIn URL
When you first create your LinkedIn profile, you are given a unique URL so you can share your profile with others. This URL tends to be a little messy and includes numbers or characters. However, you also have the option of customizing your URL to something more professional. A cleaner URL may seem like a small detail, but taking the time to make this change can demonstrate to your network that you are invested in your career and your personal brand.
Building a Strong Network
In order to create connections and open more doors to job opportunities, you have to build a strong professional network. Professional relationships are the building blocks to a successful career. LinkedIn’s powerful social platform can transform your career path with just a few clicks.
Joining groups, sharing ideas, and getting noticed is what LinkedIn is built for, so don’t be afraid to utilize it. Invest your time in creating a strategic, branded profile so that any potential employer that does reach your page can immediately see your value.
Interested in learning more about how earning a graduate degree from a top university like Northeastern can help you stand out in today’s competitive job market? Get in touch with our admissions team to get all your questions answered.