6 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
It’s hard to believe, but LinkedIn was actually founded in 2002. With over 400 million users as of 2015, it is one of the largest social networks for professionals. Many college students started joining at the recommendation of their professors and career counselors. Over the years, it has garnered much respect, and has carved out a niche that works perfectly.
Since LinkedIn is the go-to profile for hiring companies, as well as businesses looking for strategic partnerships, we want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. We’re going to show you 6 ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile, either as a job hunter or someone looking for the right connections.
1. Fill Out Your Profile Completely
Sounds simple enough, right? You’d be surprised how many people are walking around with the equivalent of a Twitter egg on their LinkedIn profile. If you have a long employment history, or quite the freelance career, it may feel daunting. But the more complete your profile, the more relevance it will show in searches.
At the very least, your LinkedIn profile should include:
- Your full government name, or the closest equivalent that you will be called in a business setting
- Your headshot (Social Media Search has a few examples of photos you shouldn’t use)
- Your headline/title, which you can get a little creative with (and I do mean a little)
- Recent professional experience (if your part time jobs you held in high school or college are at least 10 years behind you, you may want to leave them off)
- Skills/Endorsements, which we will talk about shortly
2. Use the Right Keywords
Similar to any other social network or search engine, LinkedIn’s search feature is heavily influenced by keyword rich content. If you are trying to be recognized and found as a Columnist, you need to have that language sprinkled throughout your profile. This can be in your headline/title, your summary, job experience, and/or your skills.
This could be a personal pet peeve of mine, but for the love of all that is holy, please do not overdose on buzzwords like “ninja”, “growth hacking”, “guru” or “influencer” unless these are in official job titles of yours. Everybody is trying to show that they are an authority in their field. But it’ll make most professionals roll their eyes rather than want to actually get in touch with you.
3. Get Endorsements For Your Skills
The thing about LinkedIn, as well as any social network online, it’s easy for anybody to call themselves anything. That’s where endorsements come in. Endorsements are basically people vouching for you and insisting that you are knowledgeable in a particular skill. The more people endorse you for a particular skill, the higher that skill shows on your profile. So you want to be sure that people who know you’re good at a skill are willing to back you up on that.
Don’t just put any ol’ skill! Just like a resume, you will be found out if you’re faking it. But also make sure the skills are relevant to the opportunity you’re looking for. For example, my top 3 endorsed skills are blogging, social media, and SEO. That’s because my network knows that I do these things, and do them well. And those happen to be skills needed in any job or business opportunity I would pursue.
4. Get Real Recommendations From Real Connections
The one thing I wish I was more selective with in the beginning is who I accept as a connection. LinkedIn allows you to connect with (similar to following or friending) just about anyone if they give you the green light. While the majority of my connections are, indeed, people I know and have worked with in some capacity, others are people I’ve never met, nor have I spoken to. I plan on changing that very soon.
In any case, recommendations take the skills endorsements to another level. Someone you’re connected with will actually write a recommendation for your profile! This is golden on the network because it shows people that 1) you actually know your connections, and 2) you really are good at what you do. A glowing recommendation from a variety of connections can speak louder than anything you type on your own profile.
5. List Your Accomplishments & Clout
You’ve talked the talk, but can you prove that you can also walk the walk? Again, anybody can say just about anything nice about you. It’s time to put your experience where your mouth (or mouse) is. LinkedIn allows you to list any accomplishments you’re proud of (professionally of course) to serve as more clout.
For example, on my profile, I list several relevant college courses I’ve taken, 3 certifications I earned in PPC/SEM, and 2 awards I won while at my current company. These things can easily set you apart from others who may be applying for the same job as you.
6. Have Updated Activity History
It amazes me how many people set up LinkedIn and forget all about it. You still see their headshots from 12 years ago, and their profile is collecting dust. Just like any other network, favor is given to those who are using the site on a regular basis. This could include sharing posts (especially publications you’ve been featured in), liking/commenting on others’ posts, and keeping your profile information up to date.
Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is not a passive “build it and they will come” type of profile. Those who frequent the site and keep their profile updated with fresh information are rewarded with higher placement. Of course, like any other platform, there is a premium paid version that gives you preferred visibility for opportunities. We’ll talk about that at a later date. First, make sure you have the above 6 tips complete before moving on to the next phase of optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
Do you have any tips on optimizing LinkedIn profiles?