There are over 562 million profiles on LinkedIn, which means there is a lot of competition. With digital business happening 24/7, and the platform steadily increasing in user growth, standing out and getting attention is becoming more important. Your LinkedIn profile page can be one of the most important assets in your personal brand toolbox— especially in the job search realm.
When we neglect personal branding, we don’t just sell ourselves short, we also miss a big opportunity from a career perspective.
LinkedIn regularly adds features that not only increase its capabilities as a personal marketing platform and give you new ways to signal your skills and motivations – they also allow recruiters to scope you and your personal brand as a potential candidate.
In consultation with LinkedIn research and WPA Executive Recruiters, we compiled a list of what makes a candidate’s profile optimized and stand out.
Here are some worthwhile features you should implement or update to maximize your job search potential:
1. Let Recruiters Know You’re Open to Work
You can let recruiters and your network on LinkedIn know you’re open to new job opportunities with the #OpenToWork feature.
If you’re looking for a job, you can let recruiters and your network on LinkedIn know that you’re open to new job opportunities. If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, LinkedIn will help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.
You can even check that you’re open to remote work or relocation to a specific place.
2. Keep your contact information up to date.
Adding your email and phone number allows recruiters to reach you directly to your preferred contact method, avoiding your LinkedIn inbox completely if that’s your preference.
3. Choose the right profile picture for LinkedIn
Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and it governs their impressions from the start. A professional headshot, on average, will attain 14 times more profile views than other types of profile pictures.
Some quick tips:
- Get someone else to take your picture (no selfies).
- Make sure the picture is recent and looks like you.
- Make sure your face takes up around 60% of the space in the image.
- Wear what you would like to wear to work.
- Smile with your eyes.
Here’s a helpful 2 minute video on how to get a headshot: Pro Headshots with your Smartphone in 6 Easy Steps.
4. Add a background photo
Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page. It grabs people’s attention, provides context, and shows a little more about what matters to you. The right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention, and stay memorable.
5. Make your headline more than just a job title
There’s no rule that says the description at the top of your profile page has to be just a job title. Use the headline field to say a bit more about how you see your role and why you do what you do.
6. Turn your summary into your story
Make sure you have a summary! Many people mistakenly leave this field blank when creating their LinkedIn profile, but your summary is your chance to tell your own story – so don’t just use it to list your skills or the job titles you’ve had. Try to bring to life why those skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Don’t be afraid to invest some time, try a few drafts, and run your summary past people you know. This is your most personal piece of content marketing – and it’s worth the effort.
7.List your relevant skills
It’s one of the quickest of quick wins on LinkedIn – scroll through the list of skills and identify those that are relevant to you. Doing so helps to substantiate the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you.
The key here is staying relevant. A long list of skills that aren’t really core to who you are and what you do, can start to feel unwieldy. Take time for a spring clean of your skills list every now and then.
8. Spotlight the services you offer
Services is a LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers, and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. Filling out the Services section of your profile can boost your visibility in search results.
9. Spread the endorsement love
Endorsements from other members substantiate your skills and increase your credibility. How do you get endorsed on LinkedIn? For starters, go through your network and identify connections who you feel genuinely deserve an endorsement from you – that’s often the trigger for people to return the favour. Don’t be afraid to reach out with a polite message asking for endorsement for a few key skills as well. Remember though – relevance matters. Reach out to people whose endorsement you’d really value.
10. Take a skills assessment
A skills assessment is an online test that enables you to demonstrate the level of your skills, and display a Verified Skills badge on your profile. Data shows that candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply for – and displaying proof your abilities strengthens your personal brand more generally as well. Displaying the results of your skills assessments is entirely voluntary, and you can retake the tests as often as you like before showing that you’ve passed.
11. Request recommendations
Endorsements give people viewing your profile a quick, visual sense of what you’re valued for. Recommendations take things a step further. They are personal testimonials written to illustrate the experience of working with you. There’s a handy drop-down menu in the Recommendations section of your profile that makes it easy to reach out to specific contacts and request recommendations. Take the time to think about who you would most value a recommendation from – and personalize your request. It’s worth the extra effort.
12. Respond to all LinkedIn Messages You Receive
Even if you just reply with a polite “Thank you for contacting me, I am not interested at this time” when someone reaches out, responding to your LinkedIn messages will amplify your profile in the LinkedIn algorithm as someone who is responsive and open to communication.
13. Joining Groups on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.
While joining groups on LinkedIn is great for networking purposes, it’s also a way for recruiters to find you based on mutual connections and relevant interests or industry. There are LinkedIn groups for almost every profession and every industry, and if you can’t find your niche, you can easily create a group.
With more than 20 million companies listed on the site and 20 million open jobs, it’s no surprise that 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. Maximizing the information and personal branding you share on LinkedIn’s platform is an integral step in your job search, as your exposure to these recruiters increases your chances of being a relevant candidate for their pipeline or your potential dream job.