In 2022, a LinkedIn profile isn’t just another social media page. It’s your resume, your network, and your business card– all in one place. It’s also where some of the most successful thought leaders focus their marketing and build their personal brand. Here are just 8 quick ways you can polish your LinkedIn profile and put your best virtual foot forward.
1) Make your profile easier to find
There’s a number of reasons why people would want to find you on LinkedIn. They could be a colleague wanting to connect with you, a prospective employee checking out their future coworkers, or even a recruiter looking to offer you an opportunity. Make their job easier by optimizing your profile for LinkedIn’s search engine. Set your profile to ‘public’ and capture a custom URL to make your page stand out.
Don’t neglect the basics either. Make sure your name is spelled correctly and your job title is accurate. You may also want to add to the “previous names” section if you have gone by a nickname or maiden name in the past.
2) Put a face to your name
Have you ever searched someone on LinkedIn with no profile picture and had to decipher who they were? Avoid this issue by making sure you have an updated profile picture and header image. Choose a profile picture that is recent, professional, and clearly displays your face– don’t make any of these common profile picture mistakes. A white or black background is best, but even a less-than-ideal picture is better than a default grey icon.
Banner images add a touch of personality to your profile. You can search the web for free templates, use a picture of your office or university building, or even customize your own through Photoshop or a service like Canva.
3) Fill out your location and industry
Location and industry are the most popular sections that recruiters use to filter when searching on LinkedIn. Location is also one of the sections the LinkedIn algorithm prioritizes when looking for keywords. Even if you aren’t job searching, having these sections filled out with accurate information can be helpful to potential connections trying to find you.
4) Write your headline and summary
The LinkedIn algorithm favors thoroughly completed profiles, so make sure your LinkedIn’s sections are robust. Fill out your “headline” section with a short description to appear under your name – the bare minimum headline can include your current job title, but make it more specific or add industry-relevant keywords to help your profile stand out. You have 120 characters, so use them wisely.
Creating a LinkedIn summary can be intimidating, but it’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to potential connections. Make sure to write in the first person, or omit pronouns entirely and approach it like you’re writing a resume. Double check your summary for errors and typos before saving. Consider running it through Grammarly or having a trusted friend look it over as well.
Your bio can also include a call-to-action– if your workplace is currently hiring or you’re encouraging potential clients to reach out to you, ending your profile with relevant contact information can drive leads.
5) Display your experience
Fill out your “experience” section with information on your employment history. Pull from your resume to include information on your job duties and what you accomplished in each position. This is a great place to put keywords related to your industry. Brag about yourself, list your accomplishments, and let everyone know about your successes.
If you have a long work history, you should consider pruning this section to include only the positions that are the most recent, impressive, and/or relevant to your current employment goals. Your high school Steak ‘n Shake job may not make the cut.
6) Add your education
A resume would be incomplete without your education credentials, so make sure this information is on your LinkedIn profile.
When you fill out this section, make sure to select your school’s name from the drop-down suggestions so the logo will appear beside it. This will add more credibility to your profile and help alumni from your school find you to connect. You can also edit the section underneath your school’s name to list specializations, your specific area of study, and accomplishments from your time in school.
In addition to the institutions you’ve studied at, you can also fill out this section with certification courses and any other additional education that is relevant to your career.
7) Showcase your skills
The skills and endorsements section is a place for you to show off your hard-earned skills. You can add up to 50 skills to your LinkedIn profile, but only the top three will be displayed without clicking the “show more” link.
If you don’t select your top three skills, LinkedIn will do it manually, so it’s best to approach this section strategically. Consider making your top three your most developed skills, skills with the keywords most relevant to your industry, or the skills that best encompass your job responsibilities.
You can also reach out to a colleague and see if they will write an endorsement for one of your skills on LinkedIn. Anyone can claim to have learned something, but a testimonial from a third party goes a long way for establishing credibility.
8) Keep on top of connecting
Once you pass 500 connections, your profile will be listed as “500+ connections.” This is an impressive metric to have, but if you’re nowhere near 500, don’t fret. 50 connections is a good goal for an inexperienced LinkedIn user, and once you build your profile up, you may find yourself receiving more connection invites organically.
Start with adding colleagues from your current workplace and people from past jobs who you were particularly close with. If they’re somebody you would put as a reference on your resume, they should be on your LinkedIn. You can also add alumni from your college who work in a similar industry. Check your “recommended” section regularly and connect with people who you recognize.
LinkedIn also offers virtual networking events and industry-specific groups to join. These are great ways to make more connections with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and those connections can turn into opportunities– or new friends.
Grow your profile by following these tips, updating your profile regularly, and sending a personalized invite to connect after you meet someone new. You’ll be a LinkedIn rockstar in no time!