Let Your LinkedIn Profile Work For You

When LinkedIn first started, I didn’t join. I thought it was a trend that wouldn’t stick around and was meant for executives.

Whoops, I had that all wrong!

Today, LinkedIn has over 800 million members in 200 countries and territories worldwide! This platform has connected me to professionals for shows I’ve hosted, networking opportunities, clients, jobs, and informational interviews – to name a few.

If you’re part of the workforce and aren’t on LinkedIn, now is a great time to join!

Below are ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile, according to recruiting professionals and hiring managers.

Step 1: Turn off “Share Profile Changes with Your Network.” Click here to learn how to do this. This will prevent LinkedIn from notifying your connections that you’re updating your profile.

Have an All-Star Profile. On your LinkedIn profile page, there’s a dashboard that’s only visible to you. This dashboard lets you know if you have an All-Star profile or what you need to do to achieve All-Star status. This is important because when recruiters or contacts are searching for someone with your expertise, the All-Star profiles go to the top of the search. The algorithm favors All Star profiles. In addition, an All-Star LinkedIn profile is 40X more likely to receive job opportunities, according to LinkedIn.

Add a background photo. The background photo, or banner, reflects your professional brand and showcases your personality. Having a graphic or photo in place connects you to others, beyond a page of words.

Leverage keywords. Recruiters find your profile by using keywords from job descriptions. When you want to change roles, update your LinkedIn profile (and resume) to reflect the keywords on the job descriptions you want to align with. For example, if the job description wants an individual contributor to lead initiatives, and you HAVE led initiatives, make sure your LinkedIn profile (and resume) reflects this.

Have an updated, professional-looking photo. This can easily be achieved with a high-quality camera phone and good lighting. Helpful tips for a phone headshot are located here. Confirm your profile photo is set to Public so recruiters and hiring managers can see your photo while searching for people to hire.

Give your headline attention. The headline is the description below your name. This feature helps you tell more about how you see your role and why you do what you do. Include keywords for roles you’re targeting so recruiters can find you. Example: “Project Manager | Leader | Mentor.” Search profiles of people with the same job title you’re seeking for ideas. You have the ability to add more than your job title so that you reach more recruiters.

Open to work feature. Let recruiters know you’re open to work by clicking on “Open to” at the top of your profile. LinkedIn shares more about this feature here. Note: The #OpenToWork graphic around your photo is favored by some recruiters and not by others. Keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to use this graphic. You can use the Open to Work feature without the graphic.

Skills and Endorsements. Add at least three skills for All-Star profile status. The more you include, the more keywords you have to appear in recruiter searches. Confirm they’re relevant to the positions you want to be considered for.

Design Tip: When using bullet points on your LinkedIn profile, copy a Symbol from Microsoft Word or a Special Character from Google Docs for an easier-to-read format. The goal is for a recruiter or hiring manager to scan your LinkedIn profile and find what they need as easily as possible.

Having a presence on LinkedIn sets you up for success in three key areas: 1. 90% of recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn to fill company job openings, 2. You’re able to control your professional brand and key messaging for hiring managers and recruiters, 3. It also provides an easy way to connect and build community on a trusted social media platform built for professionals.

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