LinkedIn is an amazing tool to keep up with your network, highlight your accomplishments, and help search for the job of your dreams, but figuring out how to optimize the platform can be tricky. If you’re struggling with how to create a great LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile should look a lot like your resume. Think about your LinkedIn profile as if it is your resume, but with a little more personality and flair. LinkedIn should always remain professional; however, it allows you to give a little more insight as to who you are as a person. Here’s how to translate your resume into a great LinkedIn profile:
Make your headline align with the headline of your resume.
By default, LinkedIn will make your headline whatever your current job title is, but your headline can be a lot more interesting than that! You can manually go in and change your LinkedIn headline.
By updating your headline, you’ll gain two major benefits:
1) Your headline will be more interesting and will be more likely to grab someone’s attention.
2) Integrating keywords into your headline makes you more searchable and will increase your chances of coming up on related keyword searches. (There are recruiters who spend the entirety of their days scouring LinkedIn for potential candidates.) You want your headline to grab someone’s attention and use key words and phrases so that you come up on keyword searches.
Here’s a great example of a headlining statement:
“Accomplished IT professional offering 20+ years of progressive leadership in technical assistance and an expertise in client facing communication”
This statement uses key phrases such as “leadership,” “technical assistance,” and “client facing communication” while highlighting this person’s extensive experience (20+ years). The statement is much more effective than simply using the job title “IT Help Desk Manager”.
Add skills to help attract recruiters.
This is an easy way to optimize your profile and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Add skills to the skills section of your resume. Figure out what kind of jobs you want to attract and include related search terms.
An easy way to figure out what terms to include on your profile is to look at a job description posted on LinkedIn. Often LinkedIn will show you the keywords that they are looking for, and will tell you what terms you have and have not included throughout your profile.
Use these as a guide to figure out what skills to add in the skills section. This will vastly improve your LinkedIn visibility and will help you attract attention from recruiters and hiring managers.
Make sure that your job history and job descriptions align with your resume.
When you’re working on your LinkedIn profile it is essential to make sure that your profile aligns with your resume and shows the same career path. It can differ slightly since it is important to cater your resume to each specific job; however, someone should be able to look at your resume and see essentially the same career trajectory on your LinkedIn profile. Consistency across channels is key, and inconsistency can cause skepticism from recruiters or potential employers.
Creating a cohesive personal brand is extremely important for developing your career, and using consistent branding across channels helps build your credibility. Think about it this way: If you search for a person or business and see multiple platforms and channels come up with the same information and visuals, you can assume that this person has put in the time to create a consistent branding strategy. If you see different visuals, as well as inconsistent verbiage and job history across platforms, it’s harder to believe that the person is professional and trustworthy.
It’s important to present uniform content across LinkedIn and your resume. The more channels and social platforms you utilize, the more reputable and trustworthy your brand becomes. If someone is unable to find a source of your work, including examples, contact information, and recognition, they’re unlikely to trust you as a professional. If you can’t establish trust among recruiters and/or hiring managers, you won’t be able to land a job.
Ask for a recommendation.
Referrals, recommendations, and testimonials are a huge part of building online trust and maximizing your online footprint. When a trusted friend tells you about a business, you transfer that trust to the company. Similarly, when a trusted industry professional recommends a person, you transfer that trust onto the person they are referring. LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to highlight your expertise and leverage your connections.
If you’re stumped on how to reach out to someone about writing you a LinkedIn recommendation, try phrasing it like this:
Hope this note finds you well! I’m working on building my online footprint and I was wondering if you would be willing to share some feedback on your experience working with me? If so, I’d really appreciate it if you could write me a short LinkedIn recommendation.
Thanks, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor!
Update your photos.
Having a great LinkedIn profile photo is essential—members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages. However, many people don’t realize that including a background photo is an important element of a great LinkedIn profile as well. One of the amazing qualities about LinkedIn is that it lets you put a face to a name, which subconsciously establishes an emotional connection. You’re much more likely to remember someone who you’ve seen a picture of then simply remembering their name out of a stack of resumes. Including a background photo provides further insight as to who you are and what your personality is like. This helps strengthen that connection with the reader.
Your cover photo or background photo gives you the opportunity to highlight your personality and/or your field of work. If you’re feeling stuck on what kind of photo to use, try going with one of these two options: Pick a photo related to your career (my background photo is a photo I took of a keyboard). If you want to show more personality, pick a photo that you connect with. If you like hiking or camping in a certain place, pick a landscape image of that area. If you’re from a specific city that adds to your identity, pick a cityscape. If you do pick a photo without obvious correlation, be sure to reference it somewhere in your summary.
For example, if you picked a landscape of a hiking location you love, you could say something along the lines of “when I’m not working, you’ll often find me outside either hiking or camping…”
Change your LinkedIn profile URL.
This is one of the easiest ways to make your LinkedIn profile look more professional. When you create a LinkedIn profile, by default your profile URL will be something along the lines of https://linkedin.com/in/firstname-lastname-99765bxkjhjhy with that ugly long string of random letters and numbers at the end of the link. You can change that!
You can actually change your LinkedIn profile URL to almost anything after the linkedin.com/in/ however I recommend sticking with something along the lines of your first name and last name. If your first and last name are taken, try adding a simple number (i.e. birth year, graduation year, etc.), middle initial, or something else fairly neutral. I’ve seen people use city or state initials which works as well.
The goal is to make your LinkedIn profile URL more simple, clean, and easy to remember. Here’s a step by step guide on how to change your LinkedIn profile URL.
A great LinkedIn profile is an essential element of your personal brand and is a very important tool to utilize when looking for a job. Updating your profile can take time; however, doing so will help you increase your visibility on the platform.
About the Author
Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer, personal branding expert, and founder of Write Styles. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals' application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles provides resources to enhance your resume, professional appearance, and boost your confidence. Michele strives to help others gain the confidence to put their best foot forward in a personal and professional light.