If you’re anything like me, you’re probably unecessarily lazy when it comes to LinkedIn. I KNOW how valuable it can be to have a well thought out LinkedIn profile, but the process just seems so daunting.
In the interest of saving you the hassle of floundering about trying to figure out exactly what you should be doing with LinkedIn, and in the hopes of making the whole Profile Revamp process super easy so you’ll actually do it, I’ve listed 9 simple updates you can make to your profile that will dramatically improve your rankings.
1 – Update your vanity URL
LinkedIn automatically assigns you a lengthy url with a bunch of numbers tagged onto the end of your name. Make it easy for people to find you and claim your very own vanity URL.
To change the URL from the default, look to the right hand side of your profile and click on the button that says ‘Edit Public Profile & URL’. Click on the URL and add the name you want to use at the end of www.linkedin.com/in/_______________
Don’t get too clever here, use your name or a variation of your name if that’s not available. There are a million Sara Frasers on the planet (I haven’t counted but they seem to be everywhere) and so I’ve added in my middle initial.
Use your new vanity link when sending people to your profile. And consider adding it as a hyperlink on your résumé to save the hiring manager the trouble of having to search for you manually (because it’s pretty much a guarantee they’ll look up your profile). Old-school resume enters the digital age.
2 – Upload a professional, yet friendly photo of yourself.
According to LinkedIn's 2017 Statistics Report, LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages. If that's not an endorsement or uploading a headshot, I don't know how else to convince you.
A few tips to help you choose a great photo:
- Avoid covering your eyes with hats and sunglasses, and questionable locations.
- Don’t post a group photo, how will they know who’s who?
- A simple shot of just you with, cropped close to show just your head and shoulders works well in pretty much every situation.
- If you're stumped as to how the hell you're going to get your hands on a good photo of yourself, I wrote this article on how to take great a profile headshot, along with some tips on how to look good on camera (squinching, anyone?)
3 – Update your Title
Your LinkedIn title defaults to your current title and company name, but you can edit it to be anything you want. This 120-character section is prime real estate, and a great place to add in important keywords to help you get found in searches.
Use this space to showcase your value or specialities, and feel free to get creative. Anything beyond the default title and company name is bound to stand out. For the record, my own title is:
WordPress Designer and Developer | Writer and Photographer | Dream Career Advocate | Eternal Optimist
4 – Complete your profile summary.
This is the most valuable piece of property on your profile, and factors in greatly as to whether or not you’ll appear in search results. This is one of the first things people will see, and is the best place to introduce yourself.
Remember, LinkedIn is very different from your résumé. Here you want to showcase your personality, all those nuances that make you the awesome human being that you are, that just don’t fit on a résumé. Think of your résumé as your dating profile and your LinkedIn profile as a first date.
The first two to three sentences of your summary appear first, so make sure to make them count: keep the most relevant information front and center. Think about which keywords recruiters would be searching for to fill your dream position and try to incorporate them into your profile. Look through job postings that interest you and make note of the terms that come up again and again, and find a way to incorporate those into your summary.
Write like you’re having a conversation with your reader (albeit a reader who happens to be the CEO of your company). And unless you are royalty, write your summary in the first person. Writing about yourself in the third person, I.e. if i were to write my profile as ‘Sara’ instead of ‘I’ just comes across as snooty and unapproachable.
5 – Work Experience
Complete all the work experience sections that are relevant. Like your résumé, you don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever held. If it’s not relevant to the positions in which you’re interested, and it doesn’t leave a big hole in your work history then feel free to leave it off entirely.
Like with the summary, write in full sentences. Use your résumé as a guide, but don’t simply copy over a bunch of bullet points. Expand on your experiences in a conversational tone, and feel free to elaborate on projects or achievements of which you are especially proud.
LinkedIn allows you to add photos and external links. Add them where appropriate to highlight your accomplishments and showcase your personality.
6 – Profile Sections
Add and complete every profile section that is relevant to your experience. Education, Languages, Volunteer experience, Courses, Certifications, Organizations, etc. Add them all.
Follow LinkedIn’s prompts and add in additional context or achievements where possible.
7 – Featured skills and endorsements
This is another great section for adding in keywords that will help you be found. Add in all skills relevant to the career roles that interest you, and remove any that aren’t relevant lest you want to be approached for jobs that hold no interest for you.
Make sure to adjust your endorsement settings to prompt others to endorse you for those keywords listed. When editing keywords, scroll to the bottom and click on ‘Adjust Endorsement Settings’ and make sure they are set to ‘yes’.
8 – Get some recommendations.
This section is somewhat out of your hands as you need to rely on the kindness of others to get this completed. Offering to write recommendations for your own peers goes a long way towards enticing people to return the favour.
Feel free to approach people and ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation. It’s today’s equivalent of writing a letter of recommendation, but a heck of a lot easier. And if someone writes you a recommendation that isn’t aligned with your career goals, it’s okay to remove it. It’s your profile and you get the final say on what you want people to read about you.
9 – Be Social
LinkedIn is, after all, a social network, so get out there and, well….be social. Reach out to current and former colleagues and students and invite them to join your network.
Log in regularly to see what your peers are up to. Comment on their posts and articles and post your own articles in turn. Congratulate people when you see they’re celebrating anniversaries or have scored a promotion
Interact with organizations and alumni groups of which you are a member and follow influencers and companies in industries. Like the real workplace, like and support your peers and colleagues, and they’ll extend the favour.
Taking these simple steps to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile will go a long way in helping you use LinkedIn successfully to build your network and improve your chances in landing your dream job.