10 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Whether you are actively hunting for jobs or passively keeping a look-out for the right roles, recruiters are constantly interested to know about you. They are always working on building their talent pool for specific skills, and the candidate with the right skills might be you! But to make sure that you do not slip through the filters of recruiters, you need to be prudent about a few things.
Read our series of tips just below to help you get better noticed on LinkedIn.
- TIP 1 - Keywords
- TIP 2 - Headline
- TIP 3 - Skills
- TIP 4 - Summary
- TIP 5 - Work Experience
- TIP 6 - Recommendations
- TIP 7 - Profile Image
- TIP 8 - Contact Details
- TIP 9 - Open for opportunities
- TIP 10 - Linkedin Routine
LinkedIn is not just a platform where you publish your resume, it is a powerful search engine. Just like Google, LinkedIn works with an algorithm that selects the content that best matches with the #keywords of your search. So, you want to make sure that you showcase the right keywords in your profile content to make it possible for recruiters to find you. Here is a guide on how to use this powerful tool!
Step 1 - Decide what skills/keywords are relevant to you. Pick 2-3 relevant keywords. Spend some time thinking about your line of work. Most importantly: think of what a recruiter will search for. Let's say you're a "Scrum Master". "Agile" could be a keyword, but also know that the average person might just search "Project Management" for this need. So, use both!
Step 2 - Make sure your keywords appear in these 4 places
- Your headline (the tagline that appears under your name)
- Your summary
- A past job description
- A present job description
The more keywords appear in your profile, the better you rank in the LinkedIn search! And if you want to stack all the odds in your favour, write a post or publish an article using these keywords!
Your headline is the first thing people read in your profile. It is your one opportunity to compel potential recruiters to read your profile, so don't waste this valuable space. By default your headline shows your current title or position, but don’t stop there, customise it! Add another competence that’ll help you stand out - such as emphasising what you excel at or what you're passionate about. Update your headline with keywords relevant for you & recruiters. Think about the terms recruiters would use, to look for profiles matching the positions you’re interested in.
For example instead of “Talent Specialist at Alpha”, our consultant who specialises in the IT area & commits her spare time to an education cause could write “IT Talent Specialist at Alpha | Volunteer Primary School Teacher & Mentor”. Among other Talent Specialists, with this headline, her profile would stand out more & highlight what makes her unique.
And if you're looking for a job or your next assignment, you can mention in the headline that you are “open to new opportunities”, but be sure to specify the industry/jobs you are targeting, when you are available and for how long. Eg. Senior Software Developer | Open to New Opportunities | Available Now for Short-term Contracts.
Do you have dozens of skills that do nothing to help you stand out? Do you have the generic Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel? If so, you would benefit from doing some clean up. Here is why!
You want your skills section to include keywords that make you more searchable, and reinforce the story you’re telling of who you are and what you can do. So, click into that section and let’s make a few changes:
- Delete any irrelevant skills
- Add skills that are key for someone in your industry and role
- Realign the list prioritising the most important skills on top
- Add new skills as when you complete a new course/training/certification etc.
- Ask for recommendations (it supports your expertise)
⚡ Also, your Skills & Endorsements provide you with food for thought. It shows your learning curve and can be a mirror to your own self-growth. If you think you’ve had nothing new to add in a very long time, then it may be time for you to acquire a new skill! Dedicated hobbies could be a great skill too and recruiters enjoy knowing whether you are passionate in rugby or kayaking!
Your summary is the key place to draw the attention of potential recruiters. Below are some helpful tips on how to write a great summary:
- Describe what drives you, besides your paycheck ;-). Passion is the heart of some of the best summaries.
- Explain your present role. Share the problems you solve, for whom, & how, this is a great way to demonstrate your skills, industry knowledge & work style.
- Frame your past. If you’ve made career pivots or have held seemingly unrelated roles, connect the dots so they make sense.
- Highlight your biggest successes.
- Choose stories & words that show who you are as a person, not just a professional.
- Share a hobby, interest, or volunteer role & relate it to your work, if you can.
- Hook recruiters with your first sentence.
- Highlight your top skills.
- Write how you speak.
- Tell stories. For example leading with “When I was 10 years old...” or “My former boss sat me down one day…” to reveal why you love coding, has more impact than just stating “I’m passionate about coding”.
- Ensure readability, don't bunch your summary text all together, instead separate paragraphs with a blank line.
- Think about what you want your audience to do after reading your summary & ask for it. E.g. an invitation to connect.
In a nutshell, the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. While you might not include every past job on a traditional resume, it is appropriate to include your entire work history on LinkedIn. Employers expect your resume to be somewhat condensed and specific to the job you seek. But your LinkedIn Profile should be more vast and complete. We recommend that you write each experience as below
Start with an overview of the role. Use 2 or 3 sentences to give the reader an overview of what your job entails, including some facts and figures. So, if for example you are a manager, who do you manage, what do you manage, budget?
Leave a space
Describe your achievements under a section header such as "Achievements" followed by the bulleted information
- Break down your achievements in that role so that they are grouped in no more than 3-5 achievements. If you have more than that, create different section headers.
- Use action words with the correct tense (past tense/present continuous). E.g. managed, reduced, saved etc.
- Use keywords.
- Illustrate your achievements with figures.
- Check the spelling and grammar.
If your experience level is junior or intermediate, you can list the skills developed.
No one goes to a restaurant without first checking the restaurant's reviews, so why would someone want to hire you without first seeing a few reviews? Don’t be afraid to ask your current or past colleagues, supervisors or managers for recommendations. A good goal is to have a minimum of one recommendation for every role you list.
In order to stand out, ask for recommendations from managers who have supervised you through a difficult phase or a highlight in your career.
Anticipate and ask bit by bit for recommendations. Don’t rush to ask all of a sudden. It will be quite easy for a recruiter to figure out if you have rushed asking them, by simply looking at the date stamp.
And think about it as a reciprocal exchange. If you ask others to write recommendations for you, give recommendations to others.
Just having a picture makes your LinkedIn profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. So, the question is not whether having a picture or not but how to pick the right picture for your LinkedIn profile?
- Pick a photo that looks like you. Your photo should give recruiters a clear idea of what you would look like if they met you tomorrow. Make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is up to date (within the past few years) and reflects how you look on a daily basis - your hair, glasses, makeup, and so on. If you do change your appearance drastically, consider taking a fresh picture.
- Choose the right expression. Your profile picture is an opportunity to convey your personal brand.
- Wear what you’d wear to work
- Be the only person in the picture.
- Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame.
- Avoid distracting backgrounds.
- Take the photo in soft, natural light
- Get someone else to take the picture for you. While it’s fine to use a photo taken with a mobile phone, it’s probably best to steer clear of a selfie.
- Use a high-resolution image. The ideal size for your LinkedIn profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. Larger file sizes are also fine (although 8MB is the max), but try to avoid small, low-resolution images.
When you move to another country or town don’t forget to update your location (country, region, city). The same applies for your contact details (phone number, email). Here's why!
Let’s say you are an engineer who recently moved from Wellington to Auckland. You have not updated your location but you are looking for a new job in Auckland. A recruiter may run a location-wise search for candidates like you and you would easily slip through the filters! Or you may have come from overseas and have the right to work in New Zealand but may have forgotten to update your location to New Zealand. Then it is very likely that you will not appear in a recruiter’s search at all!
Likewise, make sure your professional email, professional phone number (or personal phone number if you feel comfortable), website and other professional social media platforms are listed on your profile and up to date. It would be too bad that a recruiter noticed you on LinkedIn but can’t reach you out because of wrong contact details. Also, remember that LinkedIn InMail is only available to Premium users, so add your email address to make sure anyone can contact you about great opportunities.
Updating your location and contact details just takes a few seconds. So, update it now if you haven’t yet!
Help the right people find you by showing what opportunities you’re open to. To make sure recruiters or others know you are looking for opportunities, you can display it on your profile adding a new section at the top of your profile as shown in the picture below. It will help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.
Once you click on this option you can add what kind of work you’re open to (job title and job type such as full time, contract, part time…) and your preferred locations. This feature doesn’t send notification to your network or recruiters. But they can see your preferences at the top of your profile when visiting it. You can also choose your audience: either all LinkedIn members or only recruiters. If you choose to show your preferences to only recruiters, then only people using LinkedIn’s recruiter product will see this information. If you are worried that your employer gets to know that you’re open to opportunities elsewhere, be aware that LinkedIn takes steps not to show recruiters at your current company you’re open to new jobs.
If you engage just a little bit each day, you'll be a LinkedIn superstar in no time. Most people visit LinkedIn only when job hunting or when they fear being laid off. But to stack all the odds in your favour to land the job of your dreams, keep your professional profile up to date and your activity frequent.
Do a LinkedIn task every day! Update your experience section with new responsibilities you took on at work. Take time to read someone's article or post and like it, comment on it or share it. Maybe you have knowledge and expertise you can share, then do it! Write a LinkedIn article on what you learned on your last internship or your new job.
Keeping active on LinkedIn not only will improve your searchability and help you get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers but also will feed you with interesting content.
That concludes our candidate tips for improving your LinkedIn profile. We hope you’ve found these tips useful and that they will help you stand out from the crowd and land the job of your dreams!