Today I’m sharing six tips for making your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd.
Your LinkedIn profile is a living resume, and it’s your chance to professionally present yourself without individually reaching out to people. This is true regardless of whether you own a business, are happily employed, or looking for your next opportunity.
Your LinkedIn presence should grow as you grow, so here are my top tips to put your LinkedIn profile to work doing just that.
Tip #1: Upload a Professional Profile Photo
The photo is the first thing we all look at when we visit someone’s profile. It’s human nature. With this in mind, you’ll want to upload a photo of yourself that:
has been professionally taken with a clean (non-noisy) background
is not too zoomed in or out: the photo should take up about 60% of the frame
accurately presents what you currently look like: a photo from within the past 3 years is recommended
is professional in nature: your attire and demeanor in the photo should present how you’d look in a work setting, not while vacationing or relaxing on the weekend
If you don’t own a photo that meets these criteria, consider getting a professional headshot. It’s probably less expensive than you imagine and it’s an investment in yourself and your next professional opportunity.
Tip #2: Include Current and Complete Contact Info
The Contact Info section within your LinkedIn profile contains contact & personal information. In this section, you can add or edit:
Your LinkedIn URL
Business and personal email addresses
Start by personalizing your LinkedIn URL. Remove the random numbers at the end of the link to make the link look cleaner.
Make sure your email address and phone number are up to date. If, on the other hand, you don’t want your professional email or phone number publicly visible, go to settings, and hide your contact details. By default, the email you entered during registration is visible to your direct connections.
Should you include your birthday? It’s not required, but a nice benefit of doing so is that LinkedIn reminds your contacts of your birthday in their newsfeed. So even if you don’t write posts or share anything, your profile will get some attention at least once a year. And don’t worry, you don’t have to add your year of birth.
Tip #3: “Sell” Yourself with a Compelling Headline
The headline section is located under your name on your LinkedIn profile. By default, it will be listed as “job title at company,” but you have complete freedom to customize this.
For example, you can use your skills or specializations to craft a compelling headline that better communicates your value than a simple job title. There is a 120 character limit, but that should give you more than enough space. You can find some great examples in this article.
LinkedIn uses the words in headlines as keywords to power its search feature. Therefore, a strong headline will help you look good to people viewing your profile and help you show up in more searches.
Tip #4: Tell Your Story in the Summary Section
The summary section gives you 2,000 characters of space to tell your backstory. Although this is your professional story, it doesn’t have to be dry. Use a narrative format and add photos if you think they are relevant.
You can also include hashtags and mission statements.
When writing the summary, try to use industry-specific terms. Again, this gives LinkedIn signals for its search engine.
Tip #5: Limit Your Personal Experience to Recent Positions
This may be the most important tip I want to share is: do not list every position you’ve ever had in the Personal Experience section. Most of us have had temporary jobs or transitional positions which do not necessarily reflect the career path we’re currently on or aiming for. It’s best to include recent experiences that are relevant to your current position or goals.
You can add photos here as well. And if you have good ones, they will help you attract attention.
Tip #6: Pick Your Top 3 Skills & Endorsements to Feature
One thing about the Skills & Endorsements section is that you can pick the top three skills that you want visible to peers. If someone wants to see all your skills, they can still click on the Show More button.
If you don’t have sufficient endorsements, the easiest way to get endorsed is by asking your contacts in a polite email or LinkedIn message. Also, use the law of reciprocity: if you endorse your teammates and other connections, they’ll likely return the favor.
Your LinkedIn profile is your live resume. With a small investment of time, you can ensure you look good to your professional connections and attract more opportunities.
If you update your profile regularly, you won’t find yourself in a frenzy trying to bring your profile up to date if you lose your job or need to expand your professional reach. Start today with a quick LinkedIn makeover and set up a quarterly reminder in your calendar to log into LinkedIn to keep yourself looking your best.