How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

May 4, 2021

17 Min Read

Most job seekers believe that the best tools for securing online jobs are their resumes and network. Having the best tools is good, but applying them on the right platform is much better. If you are looking for a platform to combine everything and present your professional profile better, LinkedIn is the best option.

While LinkedIn makes you share the skills, experience, and qualifications you have with your potential employers, it also allows you to communicate with your network and build your brand like a pro. The platform is highly recommended and very important for job seekers. Therefore, when searching for a new job online, LinkedIn is the right place where you should be spending most of your time.

Before you can draft and present a winning resume, you will need more information to fit in. But on LinkedIn, you will only need a few pieces of information to stand out. Apart from being great for job seekers, it serves as a sourcing tool for most recruiters to locate those applicants that will be a good fit for their job positions.

Therefore, you need to always keep your profile up to date to attract potential clients and other job opportunities. How can you do this?

Here are the 31 best tips that will help you ─ as a job seeker to create your profile, land your new job, build your brand as a professional, and get noticed by recruiters.

The Over-all Tips for Your Linkedin Profile

1. Share Your Story And Build A Personal Brand With Your Linkedin

First, you need to choose a personal brand before you start creating your LinkedIn profile. You must be able to give details about; who you are, what you want to be known for, and what makes you stand out among others in the industry. After you have come up with a personal brand that fits your voice and style, you can display it on your LinkedIn profile for potential employers and recruiters to see.

Unlike your resume, you have plenty of space to display a wide range of your experiences and skills on LinkedIn. With this, there is a greater chance for clients or profile viewers to find something that will push them to connect with you. Sometimes, having a better connection is the deciding factor between you landing a job and the company going with another candidate.

Thanks to LinkedIn, job seekers and people who want to network professionally have one place to add their work style, strengths, and interests.

2.   Identify Your Audience And The Keywords That Will Attract Them

When you are creating your profile, you need to imagine who will be reading it. Whether it is recruiters or other professionals, you need to think of what they want in a candidate or colleague. And if you have a wide variety of experiences, technical skills, or qualifications, you need to think of which ones are most important to display.

You can create some job descriptions similar to your expertise or the job you would wish to have. Do some research on the common topics that employers always talk about and what is important to them. Consider sharing articles that you are familiar with and are closely related to your field. Also,  include keywords that come up often in job descriptions. Keywords are what the employers focus on when looking for potential candidates.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can also look up other people’s LinkedIn profiles who have titles of jobs you are interested in. Check out what keywords they use in their experience, and that can offer some guidance on what to say on your own profile. This could also be a great opportunity to reach out to people in the industry you want to enter. Most people are happy to help a budding member of the tech industry who is looking for advice.

3.   Use Keywords Throughout Your Profile

If you have identified the keywords you should include on your profile, merge them into your; heading, summary, skills, experiences, and other places that will make your profile look comprehensive. Always ensure that your keywords are aligned with your writing and not just packed in a way that your profile will not be meaningful to your viewers. In your about section, don’t just write “Keywords” and include a list without context. Remember that real people will be viewing your profile so ensure there is an authentic and natural tone in your writing.

4.   Avoid Using Buzzwords

Buzzwords are those words you can always find on LinkedIn and job descriptions that do not explain much about a candidate. Moreso, they are not meaningful by themselves. Examples of buzzwords are: hardworking, innovative, successful, effective, motivated, and driven.

These words are vague and do not give specific evidence that you are qualified or unique in any aspect. Think of how you can use some relevant keywords or phrases to add more context if needed.

How will you feel if someone tells you that he/she is “innovative” or “hardworking?” You will be like, “in what way?” or “how have you shown it?”

Therefore, use buzzwords in conjunction with some specific keywords to convince and send a powerful message to show you have the right qualities. Which one is more persuasive: Successful and hardworking? Successful and hardworking Saas Fintech Account Executive? or Saas Account Executive who has brought over $10 million to many fintech startups in new business? If your message is strong enough, viewers will see you as a pro.

5.   Finish Your Profile

One of LinkedIn’s features is that candidates with complete profiles get rewards. And this will give your profile visibility. LinkedIn helps those that have complete profiles by positioning them higher in search results. This is a great advantage if you’re trying to stand out.

When your profile has gained visibility, hiring managers and recruiters will be able to access and assess your profile either on LinkedIn or elsewhere. An ineffective profile will not create a great impression on viewers. Every section is a chance for you to add more keywords and share your captivating story, so ignoring this feature when searching for a job is missing out on opportunities.

6.   Focus Mainly On The Top Sections

There are many technical advantages to having a complete profile on LinkedIn. Still, you cannot expect those that view your profile to read all the way through. Nowadays, professionals and recruiters are busy with one or two assignments. You should grab their attention from the beginning by including your top skills, experience, and qualities in the top section of your profile. This includes adding your cover photo, profile picture, headline, summary, and your most recent experience. The most important ones from the list are your profile picture and headline because they are the things viewers see before they can even see your profile.

If you have a significant certification or won a huge award. In that case, you don’t have to wait till readers reach the “Accomplishments” or “Licenses & Certifications” sections before you state them in one of the areas in your profile. This also applies to the most important keywords you want to add. In the “Featured Skills & Endorsements section,” you should reveal your most marketable skills.

The Tips for Individual LinkedIn Profile Sections

7.   Customize Your Address or URL

When you have completed your LinkedIn profile, you automatically give a string of characters as your profile URL. You should set your custom URL because it contains features that are not very obvious. At the “Personal and contact info,” you can make a few changes to your profile URL to make it easier for people to locate you.

Ensure you can easily remember your URL since you will have to share it on the network. Many people use their names and initials in some format, and if you have a more common name, be creative to make yours unique or add a few numbers to it.

Adding your name and title to your LinkedIn profile will make you appear in Google searches when recruiters or companies search for applicants related to your field. You can also add certifications like an AWS Developer Certification or Project Management Professional (PMP) to boost your profile visibility.

8.   Use A High-Quality Cover Photo That Shows Your Personality

You can add a high-quality photo to the blank banner above your profile picture. Ensure your image is professional since it’s the first thing viewers will see on your profile. You can use your brand, a picture of you working, a view of your favorite place, or a banner customized with your name.

In case you need a tool to design a cover photo, Canva is a good tool. It has many free and customizable LinkedIn banner templates. If you want to add more personality to the cover photo, consider adding a quote you admire or a link to your portfolio. That way, the cover photo space doesn’t go unused.

You can also make use of many free copyright photos on Unsplash or Pexel as your background photo or anything to cover the plain gray box at the top section of your profile.

9.   Use a Quality Profile Picture Or Take A New One

Before smartphones, people needed to visit a professional photographer to update their headshots for job hunting. Thankfully, now most people can update their headshots themselves. There are many editing software out there to spruce things up.  If you are taking a new headshot photo yourself and don’t know where to begin, here are some tips to try out:

– Dress formally, or business casual wear as if you’re preparing for an interview.

– Use a picture where you need to cut out others as it may look awkward.

– If you need a new picture for your profile, position yourself in front of a plain wall before taking a shot.

– Flash a smile and face a natural light source like your window with your phone in front.

– Face the camera to take a clear shot

– Make sure your face occupies about 60% of the image once it’s cropped out on LinkedIn.

10.   Create a Headline To Optimize Your Profile Views

The headline is important because it is a section that is widely read. Having a headline that drives profile views is beyond just inputting any job title. You can use this section to describe yourself in a short sentence (120-150 characters) or a few phrases that highlight what you want others to know about you professionally. You have an upper-hand above others if your title is intriguing and unique. Try to emphasize the most important skills you want to be known for and tell a story that best explains your career identity as to what your ambitions are.

11.   Add a Current Job Entry Even If You Are  Unemployed

Think about the keywords recruiters or other professionals use to find candidates so that your current position can appear as one of the pieces of information shown as results when recruiters search on LinkedIn. There is no way your current job is going to display if you don’t have any.

However, suppose you do not currently have a job. In that case, you can include the positions you are searching for, like Social Media Coordinator or Assistant. Some people include “prospective” in their title, so recruiters know they are looking open to work.

In addition to that, make sure you put a line in the space mainly set aside for the company’s name to let people know that you are looking for a new opportunity.

12.   Perfect Your Introduction

Take note of these smaller introduction sections of your profile. They include:

Former Name: You can use this section if you are worried about being searchable by the names you don’t use anymore, like a maiden name. You can also select the people who can see your former name.

Name Pronunciation: You can find this feature using the LinkedIn mobile app where it was first introduced. If you use a long, unfamiliar, or hard-to-pronounce name, you should leverage this section.

Location: In this section, you can use a metropolitan area over a smaller city or suburb for you to appear in search results. This comes in handy if the companies you are applying to consider nearby candidates who don’t need to relocate first. You can also include the city you are aiming for in your summary if you are planning to relocate.

Industry: You only have the opportunity to pick just one, but you can discuss the other sectors in your summary if you have more than one.

Contact Info: This is where you will add your email address for recruiters to get in touch with you. Companies selling services LinkedIn use phone numbers and addresses more than individual job seekers, so adding your phone number is not recommended. You may end up getting a lot of spam calls if your cellphone number gets out there. Only include other social media platforms that are helpful to your job when there’s a need for that. It may be best to separate social media that is more related to your personal life.

13.   Be Creative With Your Summary

You have the summary (About) section to talk about yourself, so you only need to be creative. These steps can help you structure your summary better: 

Introduce Yourself: You tell people that you are a professional and your skills, experiences, and qualifications represent. Show how you have added value to previous companies you have worked for before.

List your most important skills, experience, and successes: Point out your relevant skills, experiences you have, and what you have achieved so far in bullet points.

Tell them who you are outside work: Though this section is optional, you might not know your interests matching with any connection, recruiter, or even future employers.

Call to action: Try calling the reader to action by requesting them to get in touch with you to discuss business growth, job opportunities, or do anything to achieve your aim in creating a LinkedIn profile.

Furthermore, there are other ways you can write your “About” section. This section is personal, so you need to feel free to tell more about the things that concern you in your profession.

14.   Showcase Your Skill Or Best Works In The Features Section

You can always find the “Featured” section below the “About” section. This section helps display your LinkedIn articles, media, and links to your online portfolios on your profile. You can share jobs related to your brand and LinkedIn goals to show your skills are valuable.

15.   Target Your Experience

Suppose you aim your resume at each job you apply for. In that case, you need to also target your LinkedIn profile at the organizations where you are working or want to work. It also includes the position you have or want to land. Highlight your past experiences that are most applicable to the job you are applying for in your description. At the lower section of your profile, you can add some school projects or any relevant volunteer job to your experience in the “Volunteer experience” and “Education” sections.

16.   Use Powerful Descriptions to Drive Your Achievements

You can provide more details about your achievements than just highlighting your works on each entry in your LinkedIn experience section. In your job description, you need to describe in bullet points on what you did in your past jobs, how you did it, the outcomes, and the impacts on your team or organization.

By any possible means, make sure to include some keywords to prove the skills you have used and the duration. Number your experiences and achievements to make your experiences or projects stand out. It also helps recruiters to understand the nature of your job.

If some people tell you that they are skillful in Excel or they built Excel spreadsheets that use pivot tables and filters to streamline a process to save their company 20+ hours a month, which one do you think is more engaging?

17.   Add Relevant Links and Media to Your Work Experience

Add a relevant link to your company’s website, completed past projects, published articles, or something to make recruiters vividly see the job you are describing. You will also add relevant videos, images, and some files to your “Experienced” and “Featured” sections.

18.   Let Your Resume Match With Your LinkedIn Profile

Ensure your resume and LinkedIn have the same information, and they do not have to look alike. Your degrees, licenses, certifications, previous positions, companies, and dates should match. Also, you need to be true to yourself so that recruiters don’t lose trust in you.

19.   Add Your Languages, Certifications, Volunteer Experiences, Achievements, or Licenses

There are other spaces to showcase your background and qualifications below your work experience and education. What other languages can you speak fluently? Have you won any popular awards or written any published articles in your organization? And do you have a license to perform some tasks in many states or countries? While answering this information in your profile, you should always have in mind that if these skills are good enough to get your next job, you need to apply them to an earlier section as a professional.

20.   Add Your Skills

Try advertising your skills in not just the “skills & endorsements” section but all over your LinkedIn profile. Ensure to place your skills in the context of the experience section. And also, include your most important and marketable skills in your headline and summary.

Note that you can only add about fifty skills in the “Skills and endorsement” section, whereas profile viewers can only see just the top three. And if you don’t have enough experience or skill, learn and work to make up for it, and be sincere.

Therefore, you need to select your most important skills and invite people in your system to vouch for your capabilities.

21.   Search for Relevant and Recent Recommendations

A significant benefit of the recommendations section is that it improves your recognition as a professional. You can ask for an endorsement from your connections you have worked together with, but you need to give them a hint or background on how you want your profile to be viewed.

They need to understand your goals with the skills and experiences you want them to point out. It does not have to be a very long text. So you can make it simple for people to comment on something relevant to your field.

You can always set a calendar reminder to up-to-date your recommendations more than two times a year. Or you can check your Social Media Sales Index (SSI) to measure how to build your professional brand effectively.

22.   Give Them In Return

The best way you can get a recommendation is by giving one. When you send a letter of recommendation to a colleague, they would like to do so in return. If a person highly recommends you or recommends a publication of yours, it costs nothing to appreciate them. LinkedIn will give you the option to do so, so you can start sending a letter of recommendation to help people in your network.

23.   Take Note of Your “Interests” Section

Most candidates do skip the “Interests” section at the lowest part of your profile. What they don’t know is that this section is the key to having fascinating and shareable content on your LinkedIn profile. You will find posts about the topics you would like to add to your “Interests” section on LinkedIn. You can comment and share on these posts and search for other professionals you would like to contact.

Tips on How to Use Your Profile

24.   Pay More Attention to Your Profile Setting

When searching for jobs, you can make a few changes to your profile settings where needed for employers to know you are available to work at any time. And you can hide your settings information if you don’t want recruiters or others in the same company to know about it. You can also select whom you would like to view your info.

25.   Add a Link to Your Linkedin on Your Resume

Always remember to direct people to your past work or projects after putting them into your LinkedIn profile. You can easily make people viewing your resume realize what makes you stand out by hyperlinking the URL you have added to your resume.

26.   Be an Active User

The only means to start seeing more success on LinkedIn is by being active. So you can’t just leave it once you have completed your profile till the next time you are going to apply for jobs. When you are active, you will be able to work with your colleagues, write content on LinkedIn. Before you know it, there will be a rapid increase in your profile views, followers, and connections after a while.

With this, you now know that being an active LinkedIn user has lots of advantages, and they include helping you to;

– Grow your network

– Become more visible to your current network

– Learn more about your position, industry, and possible opportunities.

27.   Request Connections Wisely

Since LinkedIn is a platform to network, you can start building a professional network online by relating with the people you already know. You can also connect with people that might help you grow in your career, even if you don’t know them. You can connect with your college mates who are professionals under the “Alumni” tab on your school’s profile.

You can make your request to connections with the same companies or look for people by entering particular keywords like “product marketer,” “online recruiter,” or “social media manager” in the search bar.

Make sure you always personalize your message when you are requesting connections. Concentrate on what their profiles contain and define what you are going to gain from the connection. It’s also okay to not get accepted when you reach out, as some people don’t check their LinkedIn frequently or may not feel comfortable accepting a connection with someone they don’t actually know.

If it’s successful, you can start with an educational interview to know more about the individual and their company. You can also comment on their posts and updates in your feeds.

28.   Learn and Develop Yourself with Linkedin

LinkedIn is not just a place to network but to share and gain knowledge. Many LinkedIn users post what they have learned, which will create room for discussions among other professionals.

You can learn about the updates in your field as others share their thoughts, and you can join the conversation. You can also learn a wide variety of new skills and add relevant courses from other people’s profiles into your profile.

29.   Ensure to Post Quality Content

You can write posts or articles to help improve your credibility as an expert.

Most LinkedIn users post their views about updates. You can use this opportunity to showcase your writing skills while expressing what’s happening in your field.

You can share some relevant articles you find online to get noticed by contributing something, even if you are new. But if you don’t want to post anything yet, you can write comments.

Use relevant interests on your profile and follow experts and others who have the career you want to learn something from in your field. Through this, you will learn more, gain connections, and be able to write reasonable posts.

30.   Participate in LinkedIn Groups

If you want to connect with more like-minded experts in your job or industry, you need to join LinkedIn groups. You will be able to share your views and discuss important topics that are related to your field. All the members of the group as a whole are a large team of possible connections.

31.   Stay Active Even When Not Job Searching

Apart from updating your LinkedIn for job searches, you might find value in staying active even when you’re content with your current role. One of the benefits of using LinkedIn is to build relationships with other experts in your field to learn about new skills that will help you in your current position.

When you are active, searching for a new job will become easier after landing your new job, even if you are no longer searching for jobs at that moment. You can build up your brand and network before you land your next job.

It will help you stay top-of-mind for those in your network. You will be amazed by the large number of people that will invest in your search, especially when you make your next job search.

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