You’re looking for a new job — great! The bad news? So are hundreds of others, competing for the same opportunities. But there’s good news: with an optimized LinkedIn profile, you’re actually helping recruiters find you first, which can help streamline the job search. When it comes to personal branding, enhancing your LinkedIn profile can help you land the perfect job. These 11 tips will help you do just that.
Why you should optimize your LinkedIn profile
Think of LinkedIn as your online business card — you want it to be remembered, not found in someone’s back pocket six months later and thrown away. Whether you’re actively seeking a new role or are simply open to new opportunities, recruiters are constantly searching for potential candidates via LinkedIn. And if your page isn’t checked proactively, it will definitely be after applying for a job.
LinkedIn profile tips
In today’s competitive market, making yourself easy to find on LinkedIn can give you a big advantage — follow these LinkedIn profile tips to catch recruiters’ attention and increase your chances of being discovered.
1. Make a great profile picture
No wedding photos, vacation shots or bar selfies — it’s got to be professional. Find a neutral background and wear something you’d wear to an interview. Use natural daylight, and avoid a dark silhouette by facing a window, not away from it. A busy background or crazy shirt distracts from what matters: you. Best to avoid a selfie — have someone else take the photo for you. In addition to a profile photo, the banner photo is also important. Choose one that fits your industry, not a stock photo of your favorite beach.
2. Customize your URL
Become easier to find in three seconds — optimize your LinkedIn profile’s unique web address. You can do this by simply clicking on 'Edit public profile and URL' at the top right of your profile. Instead of the long, ugly URL that LinkedIn automatically creates, you can enter your own name, and voila! This allows you to easily share your LinkedIn profile, boosts your personal branding, and makes it much easier to type in your URL manually — giving you a more professional edge. For bonus points, you can add the URL to your email signature, CV or business cards.
3. Make a crystal clear header
After your photo, the first thing a recruiter sees on your LinkedIn profile is the headline. Make it clear, yet unique to you. Most people use their job title or study, but don’t limit yourself to this. Use keywords and be creative, but remember that the goal is clarity. Think about keywords recruiters may be searching to find candidates with your experience.
4. Write an “About”, but avoid the clichés
Write a short bio of about five lines to introduce yourself. The goal is to come across as ambitious, yet authentic. Mention your experience, career goals and aspirations — for example, “In my next role I am looking to apply my technical knowledge in a managerial capacity, sharing best practices, encouraging a team and creating a high-performing culture.”
Watch out for clichés and overly-used corporate jargon. If you’re more “yourself”, you’ll make a much better impression with a recruiter. These days, recruiters are focused on finding a match on a personal level — meaning a unique profile (which you can also put on your CV, by the way) is worth gold. It’s no longer just about your diplomas and experiences, but also the cultural fit.
Another source of inspiration? Ask yourself about a great day in your current job that stands out – what made it so great? How did you make it happen? What was your contribution? This can help you identify the skills and attitude that makes you “you” (your personal brand).
5. Education and experience
Describe your education and work experience, complete with a brief explanation for each. For example, name what the company does, the work you did (or do), which courses you took and which projects you completed. This is a simple but effective way to enhance your profile. Use concrete numbers and specific examples whenever possible, such as that you helped increase online leads by 50% in six months.
6. Skills, endorsements and recommendations
LinkedIn allows you to make specific skills visible on your profile, creating an easy way to show recruiters your unique strengths. These skills influence your position in the search results. Choose a few that are the most relevant for you, and link them to your experience. Even better if you can ask a few people from your network to endorse these skills — if they’re feeling really generous, they can give a recommendation too (you can always offer to give one back).
7. Licenses, certifications and projects
Have you earned certificates or completed certain projects that are worth mentioning? Add them! These are concrete examples of what you can do and are very interesting to recruiters. Do you speak multiple languages? Excellent! Don't forget to put this on your LinkedIn profile.
8. Share volunteer experience
Are you volunteering on the board of your local marketing association? Helping a local pet shelter? Helping refugees learn English? No matter what it is, employers like to see it, as it often tells them about your passions, values and what you truly care about. Even better if it’s related to the job you’re seeking!
9. Get active
Another way to increase visibility is to follow relevant companies and groups within your industry. This also helps you build a professional network with people who have the same expertise as you. When you’re active on LinkedIn by sharing and liking posts that are interesting for your field, you show recruiters which topics are important to you and that you’re committed to keeping up with industry trends. You can even show your authority and expertise by posting a few of your own articles.
10. Let recruiters know you’re available
Another easy way to optimize your LinkedIn profile for recruiters? Telling them you’re available. Remember, LinkedIn is only a tool to make personal human connections. Networking is very important in the search for a new job. You can respond to job openings and contact recruiters for an open application. On your profile, you can set 'Career interests' to ON in your dashboard and choose which type of opportunity you’re interested in. This increases your visibility and shows recruiters you’re open to new positions.
11. Turn on your inMail notifications
Lastly, remember to check your InMail messages: turn on your desktop or mobile LinkedIn notifications. Recruiters will often reach out initially through InMail, so make sure you aren’t missing any messages. It’s amazing how many people forget to do this and miss out.
Now that you know how to optimize your LinkedIn for recruiters, there’s no reason you can’t succeed in finding the next big step in your career. Now go find that job!