If you’ve been working in the corporate world, chances are good you are familiar with LinkedIn. Even if you’re re-entering the workforce, you’ve likely heard of the social platform that’s less about vacation snaps and more about snapping up a new job.
This networking tool is key when marketing yourself as a professional. It gives you the ability to connect with others in a related industry, grow current work connections, and follow people that you may have an interest in seeing what they are up to. But how do you enhance your LinkedIn profile and get attention in a sea of digital noise?
Why you should enhance your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile represents your brand. It can be intimidating to write and feel egotistical to line up all your accomplishments and achievements, but it’s arguably the best place to show potential connections where you’ve come from — and where you’d like to go next.
Among other things, LinkedIn tracks:
- Career trajectory
- Areas of interest
- Skills endorsements from other professionals
It positions you as a legit contender in your field and gets current and potential connections involved in your professional life. Additionally, if you are moving to a new city for work, your LinkedIn headline might capture the attention of your next group of colleagues. This is especially important for remote workers who might already feel isolated. But how does one perfectly enhance your LinkedIn profile?
13 tips to enhance your LinkedIn profile
1: Start with a great picture
Visuals rule the digital realm, and Linkedin is no different. Your profile picture should be professional without being boring. Make sure your photo is recent and close enough so people can see your (smiling) face. If you are moving for a job and setting up interviews, this might be the first visual your new (potential) employers have. Make it a good impression.
2: Write the best LinkedIn headline
Don’t let your last job be the default headline on LinkedIn. The headline is one of the most searched areas of a LinkedIn profile, by recruiters and colleagues alike. Your headline should illustrate the work you do now or aim to do in the future. Use frequently searched keywords to get your name on a recruiter’s radar.
3: Mind your job titles
Even if you were the specialized Happiness Consultant at your last position, no one knows what this means in a LinkedIn job title. Use the hundred words you have to get more specific with titles that make sense. If you were a Global Customer Relationship Manager, say so.
4: Bump up your SEO
SEO is not just for websites anymore — a few strategic words can put your name at the top of the search results. So how do you optimize for search if you haven’t been in the workplace for a minute? Take a look at jobs you are interested in and note their specific qualifications. Use these words as you tell your story.
Note: this is not the same thing as giving your profile over to buzzwords. Simply using the word “passionate” or “innovative” doesn’t prove you are either of those things (even if you are).
5: Assess your skills
Skills assessments are an often-overlooked way to put your money where your mouth is. Recruiters pay attention to who has a Verified Skills badge — and who is all talk.
6: Focus on your work — not your company’s
No one wants to read about the company you worked for. They want to know what you did and how you were instrumental in that company’s success. Focus on your specific job and accomplishments.
7: Connect with others
You might think this has nothing to do with how to enhance your LinkedIn profile, but it’s one of the most critical pieces of this puzzle. Connecting with others in your field, current colleagues, and anyone who shares the same professional interests as you demonstrates your desire to work with and learn from others.
LinkedIn recommends a network for at least 330-500 people. This builds common connections that make your name more likely to appear higher in relevant search results.
LinkedIn experts make connecting a regular practice, reaching out to add to their people after meetings, panels, and other interactions. Since you can approve each requested connection, you’ll build the network you want to have.
8: Endorse other people
When you have made a connection with people you admire, take the time to endorse the skills that you admire them for. It doesn’t hurt to send a note asking for an endorsement, but taking the first step and recognizing colleagues for their expertise is just another way to show you’re for real.
9: Ask for recommendations
Most people ask for recommendations when they are leaving a job, but LinkedIn allows you to have them posted right where everyone can see them whenever they want. Aim for at least five recommendations posted on your profile.
10: Let recruiters know you’re exploring your options
You have made an offer on that new house and are getting ready to move to a new city. The Open to Work/New Job section is only visible to recruiters and allows you to add up to five job titles you’re interested in.
Haven’t told your current employer you’re leaving? LinkedIn does its best to keep your prospects open without alerting your company’s bosses and recruiters.
11: Get chatty
LinkedIn has a discussion board much like other social media platforms, only this time it’s tailored to professionals. You won’t necessarily post pictures of your latest culinary creation, but you might use them to post surveys, gather information on the economic trends in your area, and discover relevant trade shows or conferences.
12: Share content
Sharing someone else’s content is a generous way to support them and strengthen your connection to their work. Share judiciously, though — for example, if people post about a difficult time making a decision they regret, re-post only if it helps others learn, not as a bit of schadenfreude.
13: Get personal — sort of
Finally, to enhance your LinkedIn profile, be yourself and share your authentic approach to business, but it pays to keep a bit of distance between your personal and professional life. It’s not a place to ask for financial advice or overshare about your weekend. Save that for other platforms.
By: Alyssa Evans