I’m going to share my 11 best LinkedIn profile tips to help you get noticed immediately by recruiters, employers, and anyone else who is searching for talent on LinkedIn.
You want more clicks and views, but you also need to impress people once they click or they’ll just leave. So we’ll cover how to get clicks, but also how to look great once someone is already viewing you.
The first step to improving your LinkedIn profile is to identify your audience. Who do you want to connect with or be seen by?
Are you trying to get a new job, grow your network, connect with people to start a business, or something else?
However you plan to use LinkedIn, you should sit down and get that clear before moving on to the next steps. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all best LinkedIn profile, and one of the most important tricks to LinkedIn is to have your message laser-targeted to your audience.
You need to write your headline, your professional work experience, your skills and keywords, and even choose your LinkedIn profile photo based on your audience. (For example, while most people should have a professional image, I once spoke to the founder of a travel website and he was using a photo from a backpacking trip. This wouldn’t be a good choice for most people, who should use a professional headshot, however, it was perfect for his audience).
Keywords help you get found in search results on LinkedIn. Recruiters and other professionals run searches every day to find people.
And your LinkedIn skills count as keywords. Even if you don’t have a certain word anywhere else in your profile, putting it as a skill will make your profile show up when someone searches for that word or phrase.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to put up to 50 skills, so take full advantage. Choose skills that are relevant to the person you want to attract and receive messages from. Think about what keywords that person is searching for, or what will catch their attention.
There’s no better place to put keywords on your LinkedIn profile, so this is a LinkedIn trick that everyone should use.
Sure, you could go try to cram 50 keywords into your latest job or summary but it’s going to completely ruin your profile (and turn off anyone who reads it). So take the opportunity to do it in your skills section!
This is probably my favorite LinkedIn profile tip because it takes just one or two minutes to do and can have a big impact on how many recruiters and employers find you in their searches.
A recruiter or anyone else running a LinkedIn search is going to see 10 people per page in the search results. Then they’ll choose who to click based on just a few pieces of info (since they haven’t seen your full profile yet).
Your image and your headline (the sentence right below your name on your profile) are the “big two” that they look at first.
So you need to make sure your profile is great in these two areas.
First, make sure your image looks professional and friendly. I don’t go around LinkedIn all day judging people on looks, but it’s human nature to have a reaction when we see a photo of somebody. Most people are very visual, and will automatically have some type of reaction to your photo. Even if it’s subconsciously.
Then there’s the headline. It appears right beneath your name in search results (and right beneath your name on the “edit profile” page if you want to go change it).
It’s usually in this format by default: Job Title at Company (i.e. – Software Engineer at Apple).
If I searched for “software engineer,” and you had that headline, those words will be bold as I scroll past your profile. It’s a great way to grab attention and it immediately shows me that your profile is relevant to what I searched for.
So here’s what I recommend:
If your title is pretty standard for your industry and has some good keywords, leave it, or just add one or two more keywords. These are all examples of good titles that don’t need much adjustment:
Head of Sales at ____.
Recruiting coordinator at ____.
Senior Project Manager at ____.
However, if your job title is unique to your company or isn’t very specific, like “Technical Associate,” put something more detailed and add keywords so people can find you and know what you do. Like this: “Technical Associate in Software and Information Systems.”
That has a lot more keywords and also gives people a much better idea of what your actual job is.
Note: You don’t have to change anything in your employment history. We’re just changing the headline here.
Other things to keep in mind here…
Don’t take this too far and make it spammy, and don’t make the headline too long. Avoid saying things like this: “Award Winning Inbound Marketing Expert and Published Author With 10 Years of Experience.”
It’s too much, it looks like you’re trying too hard and makes you less-trusted.
Also, avoid having too many abbreviations or certifications in your headline (or in your name). It’s okay to put one, like PMP (Project Management Professional). A lot of people put this in their headlines. John Brown, PMP. That’s fine.
But one of the quickest ways to look like a spammer is to flood your profile with abbreviations. The people who put a ton of abbreviations in their name or headline are the last people on earth I want to talk to as a recruiter. I avoid them at all costs. Don’t do this to yourself!
If you have multiple certifications, pick the one or two that matter most. There’s a saying I like a lot: “If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” Choose the most important certification and forget the rest, otherwise, the reader will ignore all of them and assume none of them are important.
Further reading: 10 great LinkedIn headline examples
If you followed the two profile tips above, you should start getting clicks to your LinkedIn pretty soon.
Now you need to make your profile impressive to the reader after they’ve clicked.
The best thing you can do is get some recommendations on your profile. I wrote this article on how to get LinkedIn recommendations quickly and easily. I suggest checking it out. It has a word-for-word template you can use to ask people to recommend you, and six different ideas for the types of people you can ask (in case you’re thinking “I don’t have anyone to ask”).
The goal is to get two or three recommendations. It’s the most attention-grabbing thing you can have on your profile. It’s also the most powerful thing for building credibility and making companies want to interview you once they’ve viewed you on LinkedIn.
If you’re a job seeker or anyone looking to network, one of the best tips I can give you for writing your LinkedIn profile is to spend a lot of time and attention on your LinkedIn experience section.
LinkedIn gives you a lot of space and flexibility here. It’s a chance to include keywords to get your profile found more often, but also relevant professional accomplishments, career accolades, and more details to grab a reader’s attention as they read through your profile page.
So every great LinkedIn profile should have detailed content in the work experience section. This is absolutely essential when it comes to LinkedIn best practices and cannot be skipped/neglected.
This is one of my favorite tips for boosting a LinkedIn profile and is not used by enough job seekers in my experience.
Here’s what to do: Mention specific numbers and accomplishments in your bullet points under each previous job. Consider doing this in your profile “About” section, too.
Don’t just say, “Responsible for ___”. Instead, start with a verb like, “Grew” or “Led” or “Increased” and then put as many real results and accomplishments as you can. How did you help your employer? That’s what to talk about.
Listing a bunch of responsibilities doesn’t say anything about how good you were, so it’s not nearly as impressive as listing results and numbers.
Here’s an example of how to put this LinkedIn tip into action when writing bullet points: “Increased department revenue by 11% by acquiring 16 new clients throughout 2020”.
Another example: “Hired and trained 8 new team members.”
One more example: “Managed three separate project teams totaling 12 employees, to produce five successful client projects per month on average in 2019.”
So go take a look at your bullet points or job descriptions and think about whether you’re talking about what you actually did, or only what you were responsible for. By the way, this is a great way to improve your resume too. This isn’t just a LinkedIn tip.
Some recruiters and employers will judge you based on the number of people in your LinkedIn network.
Fortunately, after 500 connections, LinkedIn simply says, “500+ connections,” so that’s a good target to aim for in terms of the number of people in your network.
Now, this isn’t an urgent step in your career and isn’t the most crucial tip on this list. And you shouldn’t go out and send connection requests to people who aren’t relevant to your work, aren’t in your industry, or who you don’t have a personal connection to.
But over time in your career, be mindful of trying to connect with people you meet or people in your industry. Eventually, you’ll get to 500 connections which is just another way to boost your LinkedIn profile and make it appear slightly better at first glance.
One of the first sections on your LinkedIn profile page is your summary/about section.
Since your summary is one of the first impressions you make, you should include keywords and relevant info that shows a reader that they should keep reading.
Not only that, but you need to entice the reader to want to read more of this specific section, too.
Here’s everything that LinkedIn shows a reader at first glance in this section. You can see it’s not much space, yet you can show much more once they click to expand the section. So make them want to read on.
That’s one of the most important tips I can share here: Your LinkedIn summary shows just a few lines of text unless someone clicks “see more”.
So be aware of the two goals of this section:
This is one of my favorite LinkedIn tricks, and one of the easiest, too…
The tips above are the best strategies you can use to quickly improve your LinkedIn profile. But there’s one more thing you should do, and it can help you with everything we just covered.
Take a look at what other people in your industry are doing. Let’s say you’re a scientist. Search on LinkedIn for “scientist” and find a couple of profiles that look great to you. See what skills they are listing, or what their headline is. Try to notice what made you click their profile in the first place from the search screen.
Now take what you observe and use it on your own profile. Blend a few ideas from the best profiles out there.
You might see a great keyword that you forgot to use. You might see a way to make your headline slightly better, etc.
Overall, your LinkedIn profile will be much better if you’re looking for outside inspiration and not just going off of the ideas in your head. Start with your own ideas but don’t be afraid to use some of the best of what other people are doing. It’s a winning strategy that will help you immediately.
As a former recruiter, I can tell you that nobody likes to read a LinkedIn profile written in the third person (e.g. “Beth is a nationally-recognized HR leader, with 18 years of experience in…”)
Either write in the first person, using “I,” or just leave the pronouns out and simply write, “Nationally-recognized HR leader…”
One or two certifications can boost your headline and help people quickly recognize your professional qualifications. However, it’s a big turn-off when someone has eight obscure abbreviations and certifications in their LinkedIn title/headline.
So be selective and think critically about whether a certification is going to be known/recognized, and whether it’s relevant and significant.
If you’re not sure, ask recruiters which certifications they look for in a particular job. Or, ask them which of your certifications is most relevant.
Or, review a couple of job descriptions for the type of new job you want and see which certifications are mentioned, if any. That will help you know which formal certifications may be relevant to recruiters and hiring managers.
If you implement the LinkedIn tips above, you’re going to stand out and get more interviews in your job search.
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