Your LinkedIn profile is probably more important than your CV nowadays when it comes to finding work – whether that be your next perm role or a contract.
Getting it to come to the top of a recruiter’s search (and then stand out in those search results) can be a daunting task, but it needn’t be. Just some simple tweaks can make all the difference.
So read on for our top, easy-to-implement tips to optimise your profile (from a team that LinkedIn’s own scoring system rates as in the top 5% of their network).
Our Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Tips
Updating your Linkedin profile can seem like a mammoth task but it needn’t be. Here are our top ten ‘wins’ you can get going with now.
Your headline is the first thing that people read, so if it doesn’t entice them to read more than any other hard work you put into optimising your LinkedIn profile will be in vain.
In the Forbes article How to Write the Perfect Headline for Your LinkedIn Profile, personal branding expert, William Aruda, recommends a ‘proven formula’ of:
Job title/company + Keywords + Zing!
The ‘Zing’ can be the value you add to an employer/client or an interesting hobby that makes a great conversation starter.
However, another approach (which we use at Cast UK) is to optimise for keywords. We just don’t have room for the ‘zing’ (and it doesn’t hurt our score!).
For more candidate tips, check out our Candidate Advice page.
Your ‘About’ section
We see many candidates with a blank ‘about’ section, or one which simply lists their experience. Instead, you should use this section to sell in your experience.
If you’re a contractor, there’s no limit to what you can say. If you’re an employee, your employer will undoubtedly want you to sell in your company’s services too, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t add in what makes you great (and therefore your company greater).
Add videos and PDF/article links
If you’ve authored a thought leadership blog or article you’re really proud of, make sure you link to it. Or why not upload a video to your ‘About’ section talking about your experience and how you can help your clients/customers (see my colleague Lindsay’s intro video below)? Don’t fear being ‘found out’ – we’re in the age of social selling for businesses. So say what you do and can achieve – and your company in the process.
If you’re a contractor with your own website, include it. Or if you’re an employee link to your company website.
Here’s an example of some of the uploads we include on our profile.
Skills and Endorsements: clean up your act
Most hiring managers and recruiters will not check out your skills and endorsements section but optimising this section will help you appear in searches.
Review your skills – do they accurately reflect what you do? Can you add more relevant ones or remove outdated ones? You can also pin your top three most relevant skills to the top, to help those that do review this section identify your biggest strengths easily.
Endorse others and they’ll often do the same. If not, simply ask the question. It’s not a red flag to ask for endorsements, because everyone should be developing their professional brand whether they are looking for work or not.
Now for the difficult part: recommendations. Many people shy away from this because of the fear factor. But we often find that people are more than happy to help you develop your personal brand. Just ask nicely.
Reach out to customers, clients, managers, those you’ve managed and colleagues (both old and current).
Finally, some basics
If you’re going to the effort of making sure your LinkedIn profile stands out, let’s address the simple yet effective things that will instantly make your profile pop without analysis-paralysis:
LinkedIn URLs with a series of numbers after them don’t look amazing. Editing your URL so that it’s optimised for your keywords and name.
For example, mine is:
Here’s how to edit you URL:
Select a professional, headshot profile picture. You don’t need a professional to take it, but a plain background and a good camera help. Don’t forget to look friendly!
Increase your chances of standing out even more by using a banner image.
If you use Twitter, add it to your LinkedIn profile so that people can see what you have to say and connect with you there.
Whereas Facebook stalking is not cool, LinkedIn profile views are not seen as creepy – unless they’re in private mode. We positively encourage candidates to check out the hiring manager’s profile as it shows an interest in their career and anything you’ve discovered can be used as an ice-breaker.