The job market is a crowded arena. With so many talented professionals vying for the same positions, getting noticed can be a challenge.
That's where LinkedIn comes in.
With over 930 million members, LinkedIn has become an indispensable networking tool for job seekers. It's more than just a social media platform—it's a dynamic platform to market yourself, catch recruiters’ eyes, and connect with other professionals.
But to really harness its potential and learn how to make your LinkedIn stand out, you need to go beyond the basics. Below are eight strategies to help you take your profile from good to great.
3 key takeaways
- Key strategies to help your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd
- Common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid
- How to use Teal’s free Chrome Extension to optimize your LinkedIn profile
So how can you use LinkedIn to find a job?
A top-notch LinkedIn profile doesn't just tell, but shows recruiters what you're made of, making it an indispensable tool for any job seeker.
Let’s dive in deeper with eight proven strategies to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
1. Identify relevant keywords for your industry
The language you use on your LinkedIn profile matters. It's not just about what you say but how you say it.
In a world where search engines and algorithms play a major role in what gets seen and what doesn’t, keywords can make all the difference.
Think of keywords as the hooks that reel in opportunities. They're the terms recruiters use while searching for candidates like you. When you incorporate relevant industry-specific keywords in your profile (whether it’s in the headline, “About” section, or job descriptions), you increase your visibility.
Look at job descriptions that interest you and make note of any words or phrases you see repeated frequently. Make it easier on yourself by using tools like Teal. The Job Application Tracker highlights keywords for you and identifies how many times each appears in the JD.
Similarly, you can check out articles by industry thought leaders or influencers to see which topics they’re writing about and pay close attention to the language they use.
These topics and key phrases are the buzzwords you’ll want to include in your LinkedIn summary and headline to help you stand out as a top candidate.
Remember: You're not just updating your profile—you're tuning it to the frequency that will make recruiters and opportunities come knocking.
2. Use a professional, high-quality profile photo
You might have heard the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but in the world of professional networking, your LinkedIn profile picture can make a big difference in that first impression. It's like your digital handshake—the first visual contact with recruiters, potential employers, and peers.
Having a high-quality, professional headshot sends a clear message about your personal brand and professionalism. It can be the deciding factor between a quick skim and a closer look at your profile.
Research shows that LinkedIn profiles with professional photos get 14 times more views than those without because it’s easier to feel a connection than it is to faceless accounts.
This photo could be the first impression a hiring manager has of you, so you’ll want it to set the stage to help you make your next big career move.
Keep these tips in mind to make sure your photo is a good, professional representation of you:
- Make sure it’s recent—from the last two years or less if possible.
- Dress as you would for an interview and smile!
- Choose a clean, clutter-free background (try not to pick photos that you need to crop someone else out of, especially if you can still see their hair, shoulders, etc.).
3. Highlight your accomplishments and key skills
Think of your profile as more than just LinkedIn work experience sections. It's a stage where you get to proudly present your achievements and highlight your unique skills.
Try to quantify your successes with numbers and details where you can. For instance, if you've captained a team of five to finish a project two weeks before the deadline or elevated sales by 30%, that's worth mentioning. These concrete figures are eye-catching because they provide helpful context about your capabilities.
Keep in mind that the “Skills" section of your LinkedIn profile maxes out at 50, but it's crucial to concentrate on those that align with your career aspirations. Receiving endorsements for these skills can strengthen your credibility, reinforcing your fitness for future roles in a professional manner.
4. Connect with industry professionals and thought leaders
LinkedIn is a lively, interactive platform built to forge connections, nurture relationships, and stimulate idea exchanges. By reaching out to fellow pros in your field and thought leaders, you broaden your professional circle and unlock possibilities for mentorship, team-ups, and maybe even fresh job opportunities.
Just bear in mind the power of your network isn't merely about the tally of connections—it's the quality of these connections that truly matters. Get involved with your network: Chime in on their posts, spread their content around, or even start up a chat through a direct message.
When you’re active and authentic in your interactions, you make a great impression on hiring managers and other professionals who are valuable to keep in your network.
5. Post engaging content related to your field of expertise
By regularly sharing interesting industry articles or even personal anecdotes tied to your field, you're not only underscoring your active role but also stimulating engagement with your network. This can kickstart dialogues, amplify your profile visibility, and cement your reputation as someone who knows their stuff.
But remember, just like a good workout, consistency is crucial. Stick to a steady posting rhythm to keep your network talking and your profile humming. You'll not only be learning and sprouting professionally, but your LinkedIn profile will become a living testament to that growth, drawing in like-minded professionals and potential opportunities like a magnet.
6. Use a custom LinkedIn URL for easy visibility
Details matter, and that's true even in your job hunt. Take customizing your LinkedIn profile URL, for instance. Out of the box, LinkedIn sticks you with a URL that's a jumble of letters and numbers, which can come off a bit impersonal and isn't exactly memorable.
But a custom URL is like putting on a tailored suit. It's sleeker, more professional, and boosts your profile's visibility within and beyond LinkedIn. Just picture handing out a resume, email signature, or business card featuring a tidy, personalized URL—it's an instant signal that you've got your act together, and you pay attention to the details.
Why not tweak your LinkedIn URL to include your name or professional brand? This simple move can make it a breeze for potential employers and networking contacts to find you—and remember you.
Sure, a custom URL might seem like a small touch, but it's one that can amplify your personal brand and raise your visibility in the professional world.
7. Join groups and follow pages you enjoy
LinkedIn isn't just about crafting a stellar profile; it's about immersing yourself in a dynamic professional universe. Plugging into groups and tuning in to pages that speak to your industry can unlock perks like insider insights and opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals.
These platforms offer a space where you can get wisdom from others' journeys, dive into compelling chats, and even show off your knowledge a bit. By doing this, you're not only staying on the pulse of industry shifts but also boosting your visibility among colleagues and prospective employers.
8. Change your profile to public
LinkedIn offers you the option to keep your profile private or go public, but flipping your profile to public can really rev up your job search.
With a public profile, anyone and everyone—recruiters, potential bosses, industry buddies—can see you and send you connection requests.
Public profiles reach more eyes, boosting your odds of standing out. It signals that you're game for new chances and keen to mingle with the professional crowd. Remember, the brighter your visibility, the more new job opportunities are likely to come your way.
Common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid
While these tactics can supercharge your LinkedIn presence, it's equally vital to be aware of common slip-ups that could dampen your professional shine.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, and your language should mirror that. Falling into the trap of using inappropriate language is all too common. And not just explicit or offensive words—slang, jargon, or anything too laid-back for a professional arena can be culprits, too.
Remember, every word you use contributes to the impression you make. Choose language that boosts your professional brand, not language that pulls it down.
The “About” section of your LinkedIn page is what sets the scene for what's next. A dull or uninteresting summary section can make your target audience (a.k.a. recruiters or potential employers) bounce to another candidate’s page before they've had a chance to explore your entire profile.
A great LinkedIn profile will have a brief, attention-grabbing summary packed with professional character. It's your shot to tell your unique career tale, show off your wins, and share your career goals. Steer clear of bland language, and instead, use this space to reflect your professional persona and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Check out these LinkedIn summary examples for inspiration.
In the online world, your connections can be as crucial as your skills. While LinkedIn isn't about who has the most followers, having a sparse list of connections can limit your networking reach and visibility.
Every connection has its own web of contacts, each with opportunities that could give your career a boost. Plus, having a healthy number of connections (LinkedIn recommends at least 50) can make your profile appear more credible and active.
Always opt for quality over quantity: Focus on building a network of meaningful professional ties that can aid your growth.
Empty “featured” section
Your “Featured” section is like your professional display case where you can parade your top-notch work, achievements, or recognitions. If it's empty, you overlook a golden opportunity to impress profile visitors. In fact, it’s one of the keys to creating an optimized LinkedIn profile.
Here, you can link to your work: articles you've written, projects you're proud of, or even certifications you've earned. It offers a tangible display of your skills and accomplishments, making your profile more appealing and credible.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile with Teal
Boosting your LinkedIn presence isn't just about giving your profile a makeover. It's about using those LinkedIn features in a calculated way to show off your skills, forge quality connections, and steer clear of the common missteps that might dim your visibility.
A great way to check your LinkedIn profile is to download Teal’s Free Chrome Extension with automated LinkedIn Profile Review.
Once you install the extension, click the Teal logo on your profile page. You’ll see a list of recommendations for optimizing your profile, and you can make updates as needed.
Teal is your one-stop-shop for career development, helping you optimize your online presence and equipping you with a Career Hub chock-full of free resources to streamline and simplify your job search.
Start fine-tuning with Teal today for a quicker path to an optimized LinkedIn profile.