8 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Whether you’re on LinkedIn to look for a job, to network, or to engage in business or career development, one of the most important assets you can have is a well-crafted profile. Many people neglect to optimize their profile page, and this could mean lost opportunities down the road. The truth is that with just a bit of time and effort, you can transform your profile and make it more attractive to potential employers, clients, prospects, and colleagues. Below are some of the best tried-and-true tips for revamping your LinkedIn profile.

Choose a Great Photo: First things first: you absolutely must use a profile photo. As pointed out by Joshua Waldman from “Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, 2nd Edition,” the lack of a picture is one of the biggest reasons that a profile is looked over or rejected without further consideration. With that being said, the picture you choose should be clear, well-lit, and should indicate your professionalism. A professionally-taken headshot in business attire is ideal. Read last month’s newsletter for a great tip on headshots.

Make Yourself Visible: One of the biggest mistakes people make with their LinkedIn profile is failing to consider that their profile may not be visible to professionals that are searching for them. The reason? Lack of specific keywords that are popular within your given field. Be sure to research top keywords, and use those words both in your summary and under your experience sections. A great tool for researching keywords is Keyword Planner through Google’s AdWords. Also, avoid the urge to pack your profile name with information, since this can easily confuse the search function.

Make the Effort: Though it may seem daunting or even unnecessary, it is vital to take the time to fully complete your profile. This makes it much easier for recruiters to find you, and it reflects well on your dedication and attention to detail. LinkedIn even tracks the completion percentage of your profile and offers suggestions on what to improve next, so there’s no excuse for not putting in the effort to polish your profile.

Use Numbers and Statistics: When writing your summary or list of qualifications, use solid data to demonstrate your skills and experience. Avoid vague statements– instead of saying you “increased sales” during a given fiscal year, give an exact percentage. Having raw numbers to back up your accomplishments makes you look more credible and successful.

Highlight Your Accomplishments: Just like with a resume, your LinkedIn profile should offer a short and sweet look at everything you have accomplished and what you have to offer. Mention any awards, special qualifications, recognitions, or successful projects you have achieved. Use action words and avoid passive voice in order to really make your accomplishments stand out.

Cut the Fat: While it’s important to give a full, accurate picture of yourself, be careful not to go too far – avoid any fluff or irrelevant information. When someone views your profile, it is important that they are able to quickly judge whether or not you possess the qualities they are looking for, and making that job more difficult is not likely to win you an interview or connection.

Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements: Asking people that you’ve worked with for recommendations and endorsements is a great way to make your profile more attractive. To make an even better impression, get recommendations that offer specific, focused praise that highlights what you bring to the table. Endorsements are similarly helpful, but be mindful to keep up with them: don’t be afraid to get rid of endorsements for skills that don’t apply to positions you are looking for. Having streamlined, tailored endorsements makes it easier to your relevant experience.

Make Connections: Ideally, you should make the most of the connections and groups that LinkedIn offers. Join groups strategically. Don’t just limit your groups to your own industry or become too insular: branch out into related fields, competitor groups, and groups focused on general networking. You never know where the next opportunity could come from, so staying connected with a wide range of people is ideal.

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About Charlotte Weeks - Executive Career Coach / Executive Resume Writer / Outplacement Consultant

Prior to founding Weeks Career Services, Inc. Charlotte Weeks worked in human resources at a national association, where she experienced the hiring process from the other side. She's also the past president of The National Resume Writers' Association (The NRWA). Charlotte specializes in providing C-level executives (CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.), association executives, executive directors and senior-level professionals (director, VP, SVP, etc.) with comprehensive career coaching services and high-ROI resumes. She is author of "I Want a Job in an Association -- Now What?? A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society" and featured author of "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career." Additional book contributions include "The Twitter Job Search Guide," "Resumes That Pop!," and "Step-by-Step Cover Letters." As an internationally-recognized expert, Charlotte provides programs and documents tailored to each individual’s needs. To ensure that each person is given the highest quality of attention and service, Charlotte works with a limited number of new clients each month. For more information about Charlotte, please visit her Web site at www.WeeksCareerServices.com.
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