Your LinkedIn profile holds a lot of weight. It acts as your resume, networking tool, portfolio of work, and references from others. It is part of your business toolkit.
It is important that your LinkedIn profile makes a strong first impression with everyone you connect with. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it.
Here are 17 easy ways to strengthen your LinkedIn profile.
1. Get a professional profile photo
Your LinkedIn profile should have a professional photo that reflects what you look like now. Make sure it is updated every couple of years at least. You don’t need a professional photographer to do it for you, but it does need to be a professional photo.
Don’t leave your image as the grey default. Profiles with photos are 11 times more likely to be looked at.
2. Don’t forget your background image
While the default blue banner image on your profile is pretty enough, it does nothing to give your profile page more personality. This image is a great opportunity to visually brand yourself. Find a professional image that represents you and your career. Your marketing department may even have a preferred image they would like you to use.
3. Keep your profile up to date
Most people only think about their LinkedIn profile when they start looking for a new job. Instead update your profile as soon as your position changes, or you get new responsibilities. You never know who look at your LinkedIn profile.
Plus keeping your LinkedIn profile updated will be one less thing to worry about when you start a new job search or have an interview.
4. Add all sections that are relevant to you
If you never completed your LinkedIn profile, now is the time. Detail out volunteering you have done. Complete the details on your education, including any professional qualifications and certificates. If you speak Mandarin, include it in the languages section.
Add sections to your LinkedIn profile that help display your skills and round out your experience.
5. Include your location
There are a million John Smiths on LinkedIn, but you may be the only one living in Timbuktu. Improve the chances of someone finding the right you by including your location in your LinkedIn profile.
6. Keep contact information current
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your LinkedIn profile is ensuring that your email address, website, and other professional social media are listed and up-to-date. You want to make sure anyone can contact you about exciting opportunities.
7. Optimise your headline
The line of text under your name is highly visible and just as important as your name. Your heading should give people a clear idea of your title or position, as well as a couple key attribute that makes you stand out. Use your LinkedIn profile headline to highlight why you are amazing.
8. Customise your URL
Your LinkedIn profile has automatically been assigned a clunky numbered URL. Update it to show your name so that it is easier for people to find you online. Google uses the same details to make you more searchable. LinkedIn provides detailed directions on how to do that here.
9. Write an engaging summary
Your summary is your story, so make it an interesting one. It allows you to show who you are and what makes you great, while bringing to life the difference you can make. Keep it to 3-5 short paragraphs, lose the corporate jargon, and write how you speak. Proofread it at least twice before saving it to your LinkedIn profile.
10. Add multimedia to your profile
This feature allows you to add documents, links, photos and videos to your LinkedIn profile. If you have items you can add, it is a quick and easy way to demonstrate your skills in an interactive way.
11. Share your accomplishments
Don’t just copy and past your employment history into your LinkedIn profile. Instead specifically outline any accomplishments that show how and why you were successful. Use numbers and case studies where possible.
12. List all your relevant skills
Scroll through the list of skills and select the ones that are relevant to your job now, as well as the ones you want. Your skills should backup the details in the rest of your LinkedIn profile.
However, don’t select skills like Outlook and PowerPoint that do nothing to help you stand out. Prioritise the list to highlight what sets you apart from the competition. And don’t forget to spring clean your skills occasionally to keep them up to date.
13. Manage your endorsements
Endorsements validate your skills and increase your creditability. They add value to your LinkedIn profile as long as it isn’t overloaded with too many. The secret is to keep them updated, so that when connections see your page they can only endorse your relevant updated skills.
14. Request recommendations
Recommendations are a personal testimonial on what it is like to work with you. You should only request a recommendation from someone you value and will enthusiastically talk about you. Recommendations improve your LinkedIn profile and boost your creditability. Request one at least once every quarter.
Don’t wait for a request to come your way. If you work with great competent people, show your appreciation by writing them a glowing LinkedIn recommendation. It is not a novel. Keep it concise, but not so brief that no one has any idea what you are talking about. Proof read it a couple of times, then hit send.
Once you write a recommendation for someone, they will generally return the favour.
15. Follow key leaders and join relevant industry groups
Add a personal touch to your LinkedIn profile by following key leaders you respect, alumni groups, and industry organisations. This allows you to connect with people that have similar mindsets and careers.
If you join a group, try being an active participant. Thinking of it as networking online – you never know who you may meet and impress.
16. Share relevant content
Share great professional articles you have just read, or posts you find interesting. Consider writing long form articles that are relevant to your industry and add value. Comment on other connections posts. Remain active and visible on LinkedIn to stay top of mind.
17. Indicate you are open for opportunities
It can be hard to let the world know you are looking for a new job without that your current employer finding out. Thankfully LinkedIn has a feature called Open Candidates. When you enable it, recruiters on LinkedIn to see that you are open to new opportunities and can contact you.
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