If you’re like most job seekers, you probably use LinkedIn.
As a thriving professional hub, you can stand out among potential employers, meet like-minded people, and showcase your experiences, talents and successes. Additionally, a professional looking LinkedIn profile can significantly strengthen your personal brand and position you as the winning candidate when searching for a job.
Fortunately, creating a good LinkedIn profile doesn’t take a lot of time. Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Create a custom profile URL
It’s something we have to have. A personalized URL not only adds a professional touch, but also increases the likelihood of your profile being clicked on when it appears in search. This means more views of your profile, which can lead to more connections and job opportunities.
Custom profile names are available on a first come, first served basis, so don’t delay claiming yours. Follow LinkedIn’s easy step-by-step instructions to get it.
2. Upload a professional photo
It’s almost a clichÃ©, but I have to mention it because I notice a lot of my clients still refuse to have a public, professional photo of themselves on their LinkedIn profile. In today’s world, it’s not just a good idea, it’s an expectation. Not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile will prevent recruiters and hiring managers from contacting you.
A photo that was taken while you were out with your friends is also not the best choice.
If you can, invest in a personal headshot. Alternatively, you can take a photo yourself, as long as you make sure the photo:
- has a clean background
- portrays you from the shoulders
- shows you smiling at camera
- is taken in a professional setting (in other words, do not use a photo taken by a friend on your outing)
3. Add keywords to your profile
Every day, thousands of recruiters search LinkedIn for people with your job title and skills. If you don’t show up in search results, you reduce your chances of being offered job opportunities.
To improve the visibility of your profile in LinkedIn search results, ensure that your LinkedIn profile contains relevant keywords in your main job description, summary, job titles and descriptions in your job history as well as in the recommendations / skills section.
For example, if you are a communications manager for a national nonprofit organization, the obvious keywords to include would be âcommunications managerâ and ânonprofitâ.
However, recruiters may also search for you using desired skills as criteria, and your job title won’t always necessarily reflect those skills.
Therefore, if you were the communication manager above, you might also consider adding keywords like “community management”, “project management”, “campaign management”, “print” , “TV” and “digital” in your profile.
To further improve the chances of your LinkedIn profile showing up in search results, I recommend asking a few of your colleagues and clients to recommend skills that match your job title.
4. Update your status
You should read interesting and career-relevant online content on a regular basis.
When you find something you like, post it on your profile, adding a few words to provide your own context. This not only keeps you informed, but also makes you feel up to date and relevant.
You’ll find lots of high-quality, relevant articles on LinkedIn Pulse.
5. Join and participate in a group
What aspect of your career are you most passionate about? Chances are there is a heated discussion going on right now in one of LinkedIn’s groups on this topic. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to connect with other people in the nonprofit sector.
The best thing is that being part of a group allows you to bypass LinkedIn’s standard requirement to be connected with someone in order to contact them. If you and another professional are in the same group, you can communicate without limits.
6. Link to your other personal brand assets
What other web properties do you own that can improve your online appearance?
Do you have an interesting Twitter thread? A blog where you post your ideas? An online portfolio of your works? A company page that mentions you?
By linking to them from your LinkedIn profile, you give recruiters a more complete view of who you are as a professional.
Make sure you only link to material that aligns with your personal brand and follow a well-thought-out strategy, rather than posting material online haphazardly.
If you don’t have a personal branding strategy yet, check out my definitive guide to personal branding to save a lot of time and avoid the pitfalls of this journey.