By Josh Hrala
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is a great way to land your dream job, break into the workforce after college, or simply connect with other members of your field.
While the platform itself is pretty straightforward, some may still find LinkedIn optimization intimidating, especially if they have limited experience.
Today, we’ll go over best practices to optimize your LinkedIn profile based on two common situations: college students or others seeking to enter the workforce and seasoned professionals looking to get the most out of their profiles.
But do you know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum exposure? And why should you care about optimizing your LinkedIn profile in the first place?
WHY LINKEDIN OPTIMIZATION IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE
LinkedIn has become the go-to social network for professionals with over 830 million members worldwide, but it’s much more than that.
By offering job boards, professional groups, courses, and much more, LinkedIn is a one-stop shop for career development.
- Add credibility to your resume.
- Provide an easy way to apply for jobs.
- Build your personal brand.
- Keep you informed with news about your field.
- Help you connect with others like no other online tool.
The last point is vital. Networking is a fantastic way to not only land a role but also gain valuable insights from real people working in your field. These connections can be extremely powerful throughout the course of your career.
As Mod Girl Marketing and Luminetics CEO Mandy McEwen said in a recent Motivational Mondays episode, “LinkedIn is the very best place in the world to connect with people that are going to take you to the next level.”
Check out our full conversation with Mandy here:
Now that we understand the importance of LinkedIn, how should you go about optimizing your page? Let’s start with how students can begin optimizing their LinkedIn profiles.
OPTIMIZING YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE AS A STUDENT
One of the biggest hurdles students face when entering the workforce is the belief that they don’t have the skills or experience needed to transition into a career.
While early-career resumes may not be as long as one of a seasoned professional, LinkedIn is a great place to tell your story, showcase your achievements, and let the world know your professional goals.
Before we get into that, students should start off by making sure their profiles are complete. This also goes for people just getting started on LinkedIn.
While these tips are simple, they go a long way toward LinkedIn optimization. In fact, some people claim that having an incomplete profile is worse than not having one at all.
According to LinkedIn, new users should take the following steps:
- Add an appropriate profile picture and background photo. A headshot helps people identify you and makes your page more human. Having a blank or obscure photo isn’t a good idea on LinkedIn where networking is a major aspect.
- List your jobs and experience. Even if you don’t have much to add here, it’s important to list whatever experience you do have. Use the description area to highlight your skills and what you bring to the table. List your accomplishments, honor societies, community service initiatives, etc.
- List five or more skills. Providing skills is a great way to boost your profile even if your experience is limited. Don’t forget to include soft skills like leadership, emotional intelligence, and teamwork.
- Write your summary. This shouldn’t be a retelling of your resume. Instead, focus on what drives you, what you do in your current role, where you want to go, and include real-life stories. In short, make this section personal. LinkedIn provides a list of great summaries here.
- Fill out your industry, postal code, and where you went to school. These details help people in your area connect with you and it’s a great way to start networking.
By following the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your LinkedIn profile. These steps should be considered mandatory as it’s important to get the baseline details out of the way.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you can start adding connections. Set a goal to obtain 50 or more connections quickly to get your profile off the ground.
Though that number may seem challenging, remember to add fellow students from your school, professionals you may already know, and then dig into your industry.
4 STEPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Do you have a LinkedIn profile optimization checklist? This section is designed for people who already have an active profile but want to get the most out of the platform by going above and beyond, such as:
WRITING A BETTER HEADLINEA lot of people skip this step by leaving their job title as their headline. To make yourself stand out, use the headline to show you know specific information about your field, what you’re focused on, and what you’re an expert at. Feel free to get creative!
Paying Attention to EndorsementsEndorsements are an amazing way to add credibility to your profile while also doing the same for others. According to LinkedIn, “Go through your network and identify connections who you feel genuinely deserve an endorsement from you – that’s often the trigger for people to return the favor. Don’t be afraid to reach out with a polite message asking for endorsement for a few key skills as well.”
Taking Skill AssessmentsAnother way to increase your credibility is by taking LinkedIn Skill Assessments, which showcase your expertise. Those who successfully complete an assessment receive a digital badge. It’s worth noting that no one will see your actual score and failed tests do not go on your profile. You can retake assessments after some time has passed.
Becoming a Thought LeaderBecoming a thought leader is the end goal for many avid LinkedIn users. One of the best ways to get started is to stay up-to-date on your industry, share relevant news, comment on other’s posts, and write your own content. This strategy fosters engagement, builds connections, and adds credibility. This type of strategy only works if you really spend the time to create and share thoughtful content.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Key Takeaways
Following the tips above will get you started on optimizing your LinkedIn profile. The key takeaway is simple: make sure your profile is complete.
After that, start to utilize the features that many other people overlook, such as adding a better headline, sharing more content, endorsing skills, and making meaningful connections.
One of the most important aspects of an optimized LinkedIn profile is to remain active on the platform. Many professionals leave their profiles untouched unless they’re looking for a new role.
A great way to be proactive and gain a stronger network is to take advantage of LinkedIn as the social network and sharing platform that it is.
Listen to our Motivational Mondays podcast featuring Mod Girl Marketing and Luminetics CEO Mandy McEwen to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn.