Your LinkedIn profile is the gateway to your personal brand and often the first impression for potential employers - your profile matters, and it probably needs an update!
Competition for the best jobs is always fierce - so if you're going to land your dream role, you'll need to stand out from your rivals, including on LinkedIn! With 930 million members currently using the platform, it’s vital you have an eye-catching and succinct LinkedIn profile if you want to attract recruiters and potential employers and enhance your career prospects.
As recruitment specialists and avid LinkedIn users, we have carefully considered what makes a great LinkedIn profile and wanted to share our top tips. If you are looking to refresh your LinkedIn profile but unsure where to start, read on to discover your LinkedIn checklist.
Craft a compelling LinkedIn headline and summary
When writing the copy for your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that recruiters and potential employers are often time poor. Research shows you only have 7 seconds to make a first impression before somebody decides whether you deserve further exploration or not. Maximise these seconds by giving new eyes all the information they need to make a quick decision about your future fate by keeping it clear and concise. The more someone must scroll or click to gain an understanding of what you do and your value, the higher the chance of losing them.
Craft a LinkedIn headline and summary that concisely describes your role and expertise. Your headline can be more than just a job title - you can use it to emphasise your skills and summarise your personal ethos. Following this, use your About section to go into more detail, providing a quick overview of your capabilities and how you’ve made a positive difference in your previous working roles. Remember to showcase your personality and passion to keep it engaging and memorable!
Feeling uninspired? Take a look at the LinkedIn profiles of other well-regarded professionals in your industry.
Add skills relevant to the roles you’re applying for
Your skills act as keywords and allow you to increase the visibility of your profile to employers seeking those skills - LinkedIn recently reported that 50% of hirers explicitly use skills data to fill vacancies. Therefore, it is vital that the Skills section of your LinkedIn profile is kept up-to-date and showcases to the professional community what you can do.
Firstly, ensure your Experiences section lists all your work experience, so that when you add skills, you can indicate which jobs you’ve used and developed those skills in. Secondly, delete any skills irrelevant to the roles you’re applying for to ensure the focus is on the relevant skills you want to be known for. It’s a good idea to look at other profiles of professionals like yourself and make note of skills you may have missed from your profile and would like to add or any others that you may need to develop.
Once you’ve created a list of relevant skills, you may want to reorder the skills and group them into LinkedIn’s three skill categories: Industry Knowledge, Tools & Technologies, and Interpersonal Skills. You can also ask former colleagues and employers to endorse you for any skills they feel comfortable commending you for.
Top tip: Keep a text version of your LinkedIn profile on your computer, and each time you update your profile copy, add a new version and date it. That way, if you ever want to revert to something you wrote previously, you can easily do so.
Put a face to your name
Make sure you include a photo on your LinkedIn profile. Employers will appreciate being able to put a face to the name - it makes you more approachable and encourages connections on a personal level. A high-quality professional headshot shows that you take your online presence seriously and will help you build trust with your audience. So, consider which profile photo you will use, as those early impressions can make all the difference.
When choosing or updating your LinkedIn headshot, ensure it is well-lit and has a background that isn’t too distracting. It doesn’t have to be a formal studio portrait - a clear and well-composed image that reflects your professional identity can also be achieved on a smartphone. Remember, while you may want to express your personality, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, so keep those pictures of you at the pub for elsewhere.
Grow your network
It’s surprisingly easy to forget, but LinkedIn is a social networking site and provides you with the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and prospective employers. You’ll find lots of people you know, including past and present colleagues, and it’s a good idea to add them to your network of contacts as your foundation. Next, connect with and follow professionals in your industry or your dream position to build your network and gather tips and advice. Having a healthy number of connections on LinkedIn will help you appear more authoritative. However, don’t add people at random; it’s bad etiquette and is guaranteed to annoy people. Employers will also be able to identify the accounts who have genuine connections.
You can also follow companies you would like to work for to see when they post job listings and stay on top of their business activities – this may help you with future applications or will prove a great starting point for conversation. For more practical networking advice, read our recent article, 'How to master digital networking: your key to career success’.
Stay active on LinkedIn
To sustain a great LinkedIn profile, you’ll need to remain active. Not only will this help you grow your connections, keep your profile up to date, and hear about the latest jobs and industry news first, but you can also use LinkedIn to build your reputation.
When building your reputation, consistency is key - regularly posting updates, sharing relevant content, and engaging with your network will help build and nurture your professional presence and network. Once you are confident with posting regularly and have become an active member, you may consider turning on LinkedIn’s Creator mode and utilising the ‘Talks About’ feature. You can see how this looks for Holly Tucker and how it has added an authoritative tone to her opening headline below.