Nowadays, securing your dream job often requires more than just submitting your CV to online job boards and advertised roles.
A high percentage (I’ve seen 70% quoted in several places) of jobs are secured through networking, rather than an advertised role. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to network and is often underutilised by job seekers. There are 30 million+ employers and 20 million+ open job opportunities on LinkedIn.
Why Your LinkedIn Profile Matters
Your LinkedIn profile is different from your CV. Your CV is tailored to a specific role, but your LinkedIn profile speaks to many potential employers. You can add so much more to your LinkedIn profile, including a bit more personality, emojis, presentations, and links to articles.
LinkedIn brings your career history to life!
According to LinkedIn, profiles with “All-Star” status are 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities. Only about half of LinkedIn users have fully completed profiles, so optimising your profile is an excellent way to stand out and be noticed.
So, how do you attain All-Star status?
When crafting your LinkedIn profile, you’ll be guided by a profile strength progress line with prompts on actions to take to progress through various stages of strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and All-Star.
To reach All-Star status, focus on completing the following key areas.
LinkedIn Profile Picture
Your profile picture is your first impression on LinkedIn, so it’s crucial to make it count. Profiles with a picture receive 21 times more profile views than those without. For an effective profile picture, use a high-quality headshot of yourself against a neutral background, well-lit from the front, with no shadows on your face. Remember to smile and appear approachable. You can easily create a professional profile picture using tools like pfpmaker.com.
LinkedIn offers some useful tips here 10 Tips to Take Professional LinkedIn Profile Pictures.
The banner image at the top of your profile is prime real estate to showcase your personality and skills. Stand out by creating a customised banner using tools like Canva. A unique banner can make your profile more memorable – don’t settle for the default one.
LinkedIn Profile URL
LinkedIn often provides you with a default URL containing random letters and numbers. Clean it up by clicking on the “Me” icon, selecting “View Profile,” then clicking “Edit public profile & URL.” Edit the last part of your URL to include your name for a cleaner and more professional look. Finally, click “Save.”
Remember to add the updated URL to your CV.
Your headline appears just below your name and usually defaults to your current job title. To stand out, maximise all 220 characters to highlight what you do, your expertise and your interests. If you’re using the mobile app, you can add an extra 20 characters.
Your LinkedIn summary (About section) is your opportunity to tell your professional story. Unlike your CV, it doesn’t need to be overly formal. Inject some personality into it. Avoid long paragraphs; instead, use emojis, and bullet points, and vary your sentence structure. Steer clear of starting every sentence with “I.” Share key achievements, and specialities, and include a call to action. The character limit for your summary is 2600, so make the most of it.
You can add up to 50 skills to your profile and according to LinkedIn, users with 5+ skills are contacted up to 33 times more by recruiters.
Ensure you list skills that are relevant to the industry and job that you’re targeting. To optimise your skills section, review several job advertisements in your field and industry to identify recurring keywords. These keywords should also be strategically placed throughout your profile.
Get these skills endorsed by colleagues and ask for recommendations.
Your experience section should be achievement-based and include keywords relevant to your industry and the specific job you’re seeking. Use bullet points instead of large blocks of text to make it more reader-friendly and engaging. This section should effectively communicate your professional journey and achievements.
Maintaining Your Optimised LinkedIn Profile
Once you’ve optimised your LinkedIn profile, it’s crucial to keep it up to date, even when you’re not actively job searching. Networking and staying visible on the platform can lead to unexpected career opportunities. Here are some ongoing actions to consider.
Follow Relevant People and Companies
Keep an eye on industry leaders, influencers, and companies of interest. This helps you stay informed about trends and opportunities – great for finding roles and for interviews.
Engage with and Write Posts
Share insights, articles, or thoughts related to your field. Engaging with others’ posts and writing your own can enhance your visibility and credibility.
Check Your Feed Daily
Stay active on LinkedIn by regularly checking your newsfeed and engaging with relevant content.
Ask for Endorsements and Recommendations
Politely request endorsements for your skills from connections who can vouch for your abilities. In return, offer to endorse their skills as well. A recommendation is a commendation written by another LinkedIn member and can be requested from your 1st-degree connections you work with or have worked with.
Update Your Profile with Relevant Keywords
Whenever you come across a job posting that aligns with your interests, highlight key phrases and incorporate them into your profile.
Experiment with Your Headline
Change your headline every 3-4 weeks and monitor how it impacts your visibility in search results.
Include Your LinkedIn URL in Email Signatures
Add your LinkedIn profile link to the footer of your email communications, making it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to connect with you.
Regularly Review and Update
Keep your profile error-free, professional, and aligned with your current career pursuits.
Additional Resources on Using Your Optimised LinkedIn Profile in Your Job Search
LinkedIn has a detailed presentation on how to make the most of LinkedIn that I highly recommend reading. It is the one entitled “LinkedIn for jobseekers” and there’s some other great info on the site here.
LinkedIn also offers a premium subscription, which comes with several features that can turbocharge your job search:
- Direct Message Recruiters: Reach out directly to recruiters and hiring managers.
- See Who’s Viewed Your Profile: Identify potential connections and opportunities by viewing who has checked out your profile.
- View Applicant and Salary Insights: Gain insights into job applicants, including their education, current roles, and more.
- Access Courses via LinkedIn Learning: Improve your skills and knowledge by taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning courses.
You can try LinkedIn Premium for free with a 30-day trial. Just remember to cancel if you decide not to continue, as it costs around £30 per month (at the time of writing).
By following this advice and taking the recommended actions, you can improve your chances of securing your next role through the power of networking. And remember, your LinkedIn profile is not a static document. Those who get the most out of LinkedIn are the ones who create and optimise their profile and then consistently engage on the platform.