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Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

If your LinkedIn profile feels more like an online résumé graveyard than a vibrant career billboard, it’s time for a makeover. Think of your profile as your personal digital storefront—it needs to showcase your best self and attract the right kind of attention. Whether you’re networking, job hunting, or just showing off your professional prowess, optimizing your LinkedIn profile is up there with personal grooming – kind of a big deal if you don’t want to stink! 

 

Which store would you rather walk into: a Target after the shelves have been ravaged on Black Friday or a Target freshly organized after the annual stock take? Exactly. Your LinkedIn profile should be the latter. But I get it keeping up with all the new features and optimizing your LinkedIn profile can feel as challenging as finding a matching sock in a laundry basket full of singles – we’ve all been there.

Let’s dive into some simple yet powerful tips and tricks to make your profile pop.

Best Practices for LinkedIn Profile Optimization

  1. Professional Headshot: First impressions matter. Use a high-quality, professional headshot. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages. Think of it as your chance to look less like a mugshot and more Time Magazine Cover. Tip – be mindful of what’s in the background of you image … do I really need to say more…no-one likes a business at the top, party at the bottom on full display in the mirror you took your photo in front of…

  2. Compelling Headline: Your headline should be more than just your job title. Highlight your specialty, value proposition, or what you’re passionate about. For example, “Helping Businesses Grow with Data-Driven Marketing Strategies.” Remember, you’re more than just a title; you’re a walking, talking success story. This is your most valuable piece of realestate on your profile. This is where you want to make sure you are using the key terms to boost your visibility in the search algorithm. Be careful with abbreviations unless they are commonly used (and understood) in your industry they could be wasting valuable characters with no ROI.

  3. Engaging Summary: Your summary is your elevator pitch. It should tell your professional story, showcase your achievements, and highlight your unique value. It is another place where we want to go heavy and strategic on the keywords relevant to your industry.  Now listen up – if you take nothing else away from this article, let it be this – Use first person! I know it won’t take you long to spam my inbox with examples of people using third person, but it’s a NO from me. Your summary is your pitch to introduce yourself – if you want to be introduced be someone else save that for your TedX talk or podcast interview. Unlike. Your resume, your LinkedIn summary affords you more luxuries to be conversational and long. When I say long – I mean length, not long in the tooth. It still needs to be compelling where every sentence adds to the story – not takes the reader on 10 tangents before you finally make your point! Think of it as your LinkedIn Tinder bio—but for jobs, not dates.

  4. Detailed Experience: Go beyond listing your job titles. Describe your responsibilities, achievements, and the impact you made. Use bullet points for clarity and include keywords that recruiters might search for. This isn’t your diary; it’s your highlight reel. I like to include 2 sentences to accompany the bullet points – one that explains what the company is, and the second explaining in your role of <insert your job title here> I was accountable for <insert the purpose of your role or position>. Your bullet points should be your “Oscar Nomination Worthy Achievements” – if it isn’t quality then just leave it off, because you don’t get points for quantity. Whatever you do don’t embellish or lie – even if you were to get away with it – you have to be able to put your money where you mouth is for every claim you make. 

  5. Skills and Endorsements: List your key skills and ask colleagues to endorse you. Skills with more endorsements tend to rank higher in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. If your mom can endorse your cooking, your colleagues can endorse your project management. A more recent feature is the ability to sign up to 5 skills to each of the roles in your experience section. If you are going to do this then I encourage you to approach it in one of two ways – list the skills most utilized, or if you want want to go for that Gold Star, think through how you could assign 5 different skills to each role, where the skills assigned were the skills that you developed in this role. By doing the later you will be showcasing your skill development over time. Use a mix of soft and hard skills – and technology skills even if you aren’t in the tech world! Final note on skills – write the skills as simple as possible – Change Management not Developing Enterprise Change Strategies for Mining Companies. Broad, simple common keywords … you seeing the them here yet …

  6. Recommendations: Request recommendations from colleagues, supervisors, and clients. A few strong recommendations can significantly enhance your profile’s credibility. It’s like having your own cheerleading squad who believe in you that much that they are willing to risk their professional reputation to associate their name with yours. I encourage you to get a variety of stakeholders – your colleagues, your clients, vendors, leaders, direct reports, mentees … rather than people all at the same level in an organization. Like with any recommendations, think through what you would like each person to highlight and include clear instruction to them in your request. Don’t be offended if someone asks you to draft something up and send it to them – this just gives you more creative control, and increases your chance to actually get a recommendation. People are time poor – make it easy for them in every way you can.

  7. Custom URL: Customize your LinkedIn profile URL to make it easier to share and look more professional. For example, linkedin.com/in/yourname. Because linkedin.com/in/47ghytusaf doesn’t quite scream “professional” and. It just looks hideous on your resume contact details. This is not a place to be creative or fancy, keep it simple and as short as possible while still being distinguishable. If you have a common name, use numbers e.g. JaneDoe01.

Lesser-Known Tips and Tricks

Now let’s look at some of the lesser-known tips and tricks and dial the heat up on your profile even more. I do want to preface that some of these tips may not be relevant to you now, or maybe at all but it doesn’t hurt to know them. Why? They are all just tools at your disposal to keep carving your brand to be magnetic, potent, and resonant – your profile may as well be an original Rembrandt.

  1. Featured Section: Utilize the Featured section to showcase your top posts, articles, or media. This can help highlight your expertise and key accomplishments. Think of it as your personal highlight reel. Anyone can write articles on LinkedIn – so if you are waiting for a permission slip, signed, sealed and delivered this is it!

  2. Open to Work: Activate the “Open to Work” feature to signal to recruiters that you’re open to new opportunities. Customize your preferences to control who can see this status. It’s like wearing a “Hire Me” sandwich board but way more subtle. One caveat – I have had mixed experiences with clients using this while there profile identifies they are ‘still currently in this role’. It may yield better results for those in between roles or laid off and looking for employment…all you can do is experiment and test it out.

  3. Creator Mode: Turn on Creator Mode to gain access to LinkedIn Live, newsletters, and other tools that can help you build your personal brand. This mode also changes the layout of your profile to highlight your content. It’s like turning your LinkedIn up to eleven and is a great way to start building your authority on a GLOBAL level – world tour anyone?!

  4. LinkedIn Learning: Complete LinkedIn Learning courses and add the certifications to your profile. This not only shows your commitment to professional development but also helps with keyword optimization. Because learning never goes out of style. Most companies now provide you with access to LinkedIn Learning through their enterprise memberships – capitalize on this and save the dollars on a paid tier. Worried your company doesn’t have LinkedIn and you’re missing out – many public libraries are now providing access to their members. Who said libraries were only full of old stuffy books – they are one of the most underrated and undervalued resources at your disposal (and one of my favorite places too).

  5. Engage with Content: Regularly engage with posts, share insightful content, and participate in discussions. This increases your visibility and helps build your network. Remember, lurking is for Instagram, not LinkedIn. In another article I’ll teach you all about your LinkedIn SSI (Social Selling Index Score), but until then here’s a challenge if you choose to accept it – aim to comment on 3-5 different posts each day or week (whatever is manageable for you). It’s about building a habit – and as you do watch your profile work for you.

  6. Keyword Optimization: Use relevant keywords throughout your profile. This includes your headline, summary, experience, and skills sections. Keywords improve your chances of appearing in search results. Think of it as SEO for your career. I feel like if you’ve made it this far … I’ve labored over this point enough.

  7. Join and Participate in Groups: Join LinkedIn Groups relevant to your industry and actively participate in discussions. This can help you connect with like-minded professionals and establish your expertise. It’s like finding your professional tribe and networking without having to leave your house or get out of your sweats or pajamas – what’s not to love about that?

  8. Multimedia Content: Add multimedia elements such as videos, presentations, and links to your portfolio. This makes your profile more dynamic and engaging. Because who doesn’t love a good PowerPoint? Just make sure you aren’t sharing any confidential or proprietary information. If in doubt always ask – we don’t need you up on charges for corporate espionage. 

Standing Out with LinkedIn's Latest Features

If you’ve implemented the above tips and tricks, your profile should be well on it’s way to singing like a canary but I get it you want to be as loud and proud as the Fruit Loops Toucan. If that’s you then these latest features are for you! 

  1. Cover Story: Add a 30-second video to your profile photo to introduce yourself and share what you’re passionate about. This is a great way to make a memorable first impression. It’s like your own personal trailer or cameo video —no popcorn needed.

     

  2. LinkedIn Stories: Use LinkedIn Stories to share updates, insights, or behind-the-scenes content. It’s a great way to engage with your network in a more casual, authentic manner. Think Instagram Stories, but for grown-ups. While I love a good boogie and I know that everyone loves these viral TikTok dancing videos – remember whatever you share should reflect you in alignment with your brand and/or should add value to your audience. Imagine if I just wrote this article and only included pictures of what I had for breakfast – it would not have been worth your time. Don’t do it for the vanity metrics (likes & shares) – be in service of your network and use stories to foster what LinkedIn is all about connection!

     

  3. Newsletter Feature: If you’re an active content creator, leverage LinkedIn’s newsletter feature to reach your audience regularly. It’s an excellent way to build a following and demonstrate your expertise. Because who doesn’t love a good newsletter? Delivered straight to your subscribers (followers) inbox – they don’t even need to remember to take it out of their backpack and put it on the table.  

Conclusion: Crafting Your Standout LinkedIn Profile

Like your resume, your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume—a powerful tool that represents your professional brand to the world. By leveraging these best practices and incorporating some lesser-known tips, you’ll not only boost your visibility but could also open the door to exciting new opportunities. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a living, breathing entity that grows and evolves with your career – no different to your resume. Updates to one should trigger updates to the other – they are two peas in a pod working harmoniously to make sure you are in the window display, not in the back corner on the rack the everyone walks past but never browses. 

 

Stay proactive in keeping your profile fresh. Regular updates that reflect your latest achievements and newly acquired skills ensure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Both your resume and LinkedIn profile should tell the story of your professional journey, highlighting your growth, the unique value you bring to each role, and your evolving skill set. Think about how you can use the different features and explore opportunities, like creating content, to build your brand and eminence. 

 

With a little persistence and a keen eye for detail, you can transform your LinkedIn profile from a static page into a dynamic platform that not only stands out in the crowded digital landscape but also leaves a lasting impression on potential employers, clients, and collaborators. Just as you would tailor your resume for different job applications, ensure your LinkedIn profile remains current and reflective of your latest career milestones, always up-to-date with the latest best practices for a high-performing LinkedIn profile. 

 

So, get out there, and tweak that profile, it’s time for your world tour! 



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