LinkedIn is known as the premier social media and networking platform for your career. Whether you are a job seeker, career changer, or someone looking to grow yourself in your career, it’s important to make sure your profile presents you in the best way possible for the types of opportunities and employers you want to attract either now or down the road. Here are my top five tips on impactful things you can do today to make sure your LinkedIn profile helps the right people find you.
Having a photo makes your LinkedIn profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. Investing in a good profile photo makes sense since your photo is your first chance to show your professional brand visually. You want to wear attire that shows you as the professional you want to portray to your relevant industries/companies. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional photo with the available features on many smartphones and cameras today, such as the ability to take portrait shots where the background is blurred out.
The ideal size of a LinkedIn profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. For the photo to look professional, choose a plain background and make sure your face fits 60% of the frame. You should crop the photo from the top of your shoulders to just above your head so that it looks like a headshot. Use soft natural lighting and avoid photos that look like selfies. Have someone take the photo for you or set a timer. Avoid photos that show you from far away, have busy backgrounds, or where you are not making direct eye contact with the camera. Your facial expression should be smiling to show that you are someone who is friendly, trustworth, and likeable.
You want to use a background image (or banner) that will compliment your headshot photo and not compete with it. You want to think about how the design theme, color, and look of the banner matches the style of your profile photo. The banner should be sized for 1584 px x 396 px in file formats JPG, PNG, or GIF. Canva, a user friendly graphic design platform, offers some great LinkedIn banner templates that you can customize and upload immediately to your profile. Many of the Canva templates allow you to include text. You can also just use any photo of your choosing as long as it makes sense for your personal brand.
Here is an example of how to create an easy LinkedIn banner on Canva:
Your LinkedIn headline is tied to its search algorithm and is one of the most visible sections of your profile. Not only should your LinkedIn headline show your professional expertise, but it should also contain specific keywords that will help you appear higher in LinkedIn searches by recruiters or hiring managers.
The keywords you choose for your headline should be relevant and important to your job function, expertise, and/or industry; and your headline can maximize the 220 character limit if needed. Your headline should also illustrate the value you bring to the table. Here are a few examples of headlines that are optimized for keywords:
Marketing Director | Social Media Expert | Customer Engagement & Retention | Passionate About Mission Focused Brands & Companies
Product Management Leader in the SaaS Space | Define Product Vision to Drive Revenue and Deliver Value to Customers
There is not one perfect way to write a headline but keep these tips in mind as you think about the best way to showcase your professional brand to the audience you want to target.
Here is an example of my LinkedIn profile photo, banner, and headline:
LinkedIn uses job titles as a way to help recruiters or hiring managers find you. Both your current and previous job titles are weighted heavily by LinkedIn’s algorithm when a recruiter or hiring manager searches for candidates. The job title field allows up to 100 characters so if your actual job title does not reflect the right keywords that a recruiter might search, you can include descriptive words next to your job title.
For example, if you worked at a startup where your job title might not match the types of jobs you are targeting, you can either change it (if appropriate) or you can add a descriptor next to it that is more widely known for that type of job title. This way, you can ensure that your LinkedIn profile will come up in a search for a particular job title.
Here is an example of how to add relevant keywords to your job title:
LinkedIn allows you to include up to 50 skills on your profile. This is an easy way to build your personal brand and engage your network. When you add a skill to your profile, your first degree connections can “endorse” you for skills that will actually help the strength of your profile. It will allow you to be discovered for opportunities that are related to those skills.
People who list at least five skills on their profile receive up to 17x more profile views according to LinkedIn. If you are in a job search, review the top keywords (hard and soft skills) that are listed in the jobs that you are targeting and make sure to add those to your skills section. Ask people in your network to endorse you for those top skills as well to help you come up higher in searches by employers. You can also “pin” your top 3 skills to the very top of your Skills & Endorsements section in a subsection titled Top Skills.
Here is an example of my Skills & Endorsements section:
Now that you know these five tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, head over to your LinkedIn profile and start making these changes today. Teal offers classes, events, and other resources that will help you continue to learn how to present your personal brand on LinkedIn to attract the right people to reach your career goals.