LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools that job seekers can leverage to boost their chances of securing their dream HR or PeopleOps role. In this article, we'll see why it's vital to have a solid presence on this social platform and how to create a profile that can make you stand apart from your peers.
After optimizing your LinkedIn profile, remember to visit our PeopleOps Job Board to find amazing job opportunities in HR, talent acquisition, PeopleOps, and recruitment you can apply to!
8 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
These LinkedIn profile optimizations are easy to do and make a real difference to how you’ll come across to recruiters.
1. Get a Professional Profile Picture
LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms in that it really is about selling yourself as a dependable professional, so you want to look the part.
Choose a profile photo that is a high-quality portrait of yourself with a friendly expression and a neutral background. It is worth the investment to have a professional photographer take it for you, but there’s no need to go crazy with professional styling and make-up. Your profile photo should look about the same as you would look walking into an important interview - a neat representation of your natural self.
Replacing a blurry selfie with a professional headshot significantly increases your chances of being discovered on the platform. It can get you up to 14 times more views!
2. Customize Your LinkedIn URL
When you create a LinkedIn profile, the URL (web address) for your public profile page is assigned automatically by the platform. It generally contains a unique number code that the platform generates, but these numbers don’t mean anything to someone who visits your profile.
You can very easily change this by going to to your LinkedIn account’s profile settings and updating your custom URL to look like this: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname as opposed to a bunch of random characters. Having your name in the URL makes it so much easier to include it in your resume, website, business card, etc.
3. Add a Professional Summary and/or Headline
Having a quick-to-read headline just beneath your profile picture is a powerful first impression. The information you put here will make it easier for recruiters or anyone who comes across your profile to understand your job title, work experience, expertise, and story. Here are some great examples of headlines to get you thinking.
Your summary is the text box near the top of your LinkedIn page (aka the “About” section). This space allows for 2,000 characters where you can give an overview of your professional life and expertise. Bear in mind, potential employers will give a quick look at your profile before moving on if you don’t grab their attention. It is therefore important to introduce yourself in a way that is concise and engaging from the first sentence. Have a look at these highly engaging profile summaries to get an idea of what works well.
4. Summarize Your Work Experience
When describing previous roles, use relevant keywords and specific information that recruiters in your industry would typically search for.
This is a great chance to show recruiters what you're capable of and where your strengths lie. Make sure to include your accomplishments, measurable results from your previous roles, and any other relevant content that would set you apart from your peers.
5. Include Details of Your Education
List any degrees, diplomas, and accreditations you’ve received in chronological order, from the latest to the earliest. Also, be sure to list out any extracurricular activities such as club participation, achievements, awards, and scholarships.
These accomplishments all serve to verify that you are a qualified person with a strong personal brand. As an added bonus, when you add a college, university, or other institution that is also listed on LinkedIn to your profile, the platform automatically displays their logo. These are powerful visuals that serve to make you look impressive and well-educated.
Adding a specific tertiary institution or accreditation body to your profile also helps LinkedIn’s algorithm to suggest new connections that may be valuable additions to your professional network.
6. Add Relevant Skills
Just like you would review your CV for a specific job application, your need to prune and optimize your LinkedIn profile from time to time according to the type of job you’re interested in getting.
Highlight particular skills you have that are most relevant in your profile. This ensures that, when recruiters search for people with specific industry-related and interpersonal skills, your profile is sure to pop up.
The LinkedIn algorithm indexes the skills you highlight and get endorsement for. Recruiters use this algorithmic data to search for and source talent. Listing high-demand and scarce skills in your industry is therefore a great way to get more profile views and be more visible to hiring teams.
7. Include Information about Certifications, Projects, Awards, and Volunteering
If you’re involved with a charity, a community project, or any other humanitarian cause, be sure to add the information to your LinkedIn profile. The same goes for any effort you’ve made outside of work (in sport, culture, etc.) that resulted in an accolade.
Adding this information will make you stand apart from the crowd, proving that you're a well-rounded and knowledgeable individual with a diverse set of skills.
8. Include Recommendations
Ask for LinkedIn endorsement from a few important people (former supervisors, clients, coworkers, professors, etc.) who know you well. Most importantly, choose people who can say great things about you and who are also LinkedIn members.
The social proof of recommendations is a powerful way to reassure possible employers that your really have the skills and expertise you say you do.
3 Ways LinkedIn Can Boost your Job Search
Once you have an optimized LinkedIn profile, you can start putting it to use to find your dream job. Here are the three main ways a great presence on LinkedIn can aid your job search:
1. Building Your Professional Brand
Your LinkedIn profile essentially serves as a marketing channel for your professional brand. It is a way for you to promote yourself as a potential asset and innovative member of a potential employer’s team. It is therefore important to look at your profile from a hiring manager’s perspective. Ask yourself whether you would hire you.
Highlight all your achievements, skills, certifications, etc. along with unique aspects of your personality like your interests, volunteering, and other things that could potentially differentiate you from the rest of the pack! You want a recruiter or hiring manager to remember something about you when they move on to the next profile.
You could even go a step ahead by sharing and engaging with topics relevant to your field. Content marketers will tell you, branding is all about communicating.
For example, you can create a LinkedIn post once a week about a new innovation in your field, an exciting project you’re working on, or just to share content you thought was super interesting. Remember to use hashtags that will make your content discoverable.
You can also join LinkedIn groups relevant to your field where you can read and share great insights with group members, and connect with other LinkedIn users. This will make it easier for others to acknowledge your presence and also your expertise in similar topics.
How your LinkedIn connections engage with your posts and comments, and your own activity on the platform (if positive and valuable) could be stardust when someone looks at your profile. Just remember to check your notifications at least once a day. If another LinkedIn user reached out to you, it’s best for your personal brand to respond in a timely fashion.
Of course, you can go all out and become a LinkedIn influencer or thought leader. This puts you on a much higher bar for creating, posting, and engaging with content that your target audience will find interesting.
2. Get Noticed by Recruiters
87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to source talent. This makes it almost a no-brainer for job seekers to have a strong presence on the platform. With more than 57 million companies listed and 4 people being hired on the platform every single minute, you could be the next one to land a great new job.
The optimization you make to your profile, such as adding specific skills, experiences, qualifications, and keywords, all go a long way in helping you become discoverable to the millions of recruiters searching for a professional like you. If these recruiters find your profile interesting, they will contact you instead of you having to apply for an open role. How cool is that!?
3. Connect and Network with Existing Employees
When you come across an exciting role, you could either send your resume, cover letter, and other details and wait for a response, or you could do all that and then personally connect with the recruiter or employees from the company on LinkedIn. The easiest way to do this is to go to the company page and click through to the employee listing. From here you can send connection requests and learn more about the team.
Even if you can't find the direct recruiter for a role, you could still find other employees who can redirect you to the right person or even recommend you for the role. While you’re at it, ask some questions. Looking for a new job is as much about selling yourself as it is about finding a company that is right for you.
Social networking with existing employees is a great way to know more about the culture, work demands, benefits, etc. from the horse's mouth. Maybe the company isn't what it advertises to be or could even be better than what you saw on their careers page. The people who work there will know better than anyone what it’s like, so their testimonials are a valuable source of truth.
Either way, you'll only end up with a larger LinkedIn network and more information, and as the saying goes, information is wealth!
While these LinkedIn tips to optimize your profile are really important, there’s more to convincing a hiring manager you’re the perfect candidate than your online presence.
Bonus Tips for Job Seekers: Your Checklist for Writing a Winning Resume
Your LinkedIn profile can get you seen and potentially headhunted, but you’re still going to need a great resume to submit when you come across promising job postings. Having a crisp and powerful resume will certainly boost your chances of securing your dream HR or PeopleOps role.
Recruiters look at your resume for six seconds before they move on. So how can you make it stand out? What experiences should you include for the jobs you’ve got your eye on? What resume rules should you be following?
We’ve compiled this essential winning resume checklist to make sure that you add the relevant things and leave the rest out of your resume:
The "All-Weather" Resume Checklist
- Ensure that your contact information is updated. Full name, address, email address, andcontact number.
- Resume length for entry to mid-level is 1 page. If you have extensive skills you can use two pages max. If you’re unsure of how to format your resume effectively, it helps to look at some resume templates.
- Always use the reverse chronological order.
- Size 12 font is standard. Use Calibri, Helvetica, or Garamond styles. No fancy fonts.
- Body text should be black. Use one or max two complementary colors for headers or borders, preferably dark blue or green.
- Align your content to the left to make it skimmable.
- Always save your resume as a PDF. Never submit a Google Doc or Word document.
- Avoid using too many personal pronouns such as ‘i’, ‘me’, or myself.
- Be consistent with the use of periods. Either you use it at the end of every bullet point or you don’t.
- Choose the best introduction. It can either be a summary of your resume, career objective, professional profile, or a summary of your qualifications.
- Customize your skills section for the position and industry that you’re applying for.
- Always include only industry-relevant certifications, licenses, publications, etc.
- Never use a one-size-fits-all resume, always tailor your career objective, skills, etc., to fit the position you’re applying for.
- Add action verbs to sell your abilities.
- Quantify your achievements by using numbers, percentages, time frames, and dollars to help you measure your big wins.
- Always remember that your personality is your biggest skillset.
- Always put the best stuff on the top third of your resume.
- Write explanations for large gaps in your career history. But keep it short.
- Use keywords in your resume - Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points.
- Avoid overused and empty words like detail-oriented, team player, and hard worker. Everyone else will say those things too. We’re sure there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are!
- Ditch the ‘references available on request.' Either add references or don’t. If the recruiter wants a reference, they’ll ask for it.
- Last, but certainly not least, Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!!!
You can also find this checklist in the form of a printable document if you'd prefer that.
We hope these tips will help you expand your LinkedIn network, catch the eye of top recruiters, and land the job you want to build your dream career. For more great insight to make you the smartest person in the room when it comes to HR, PeopleOps, and the latest HR Tech, keep an eye on our blog, and sign up for the SSR Newsletter.