No matter what stage of the job-search process you're in, you'll always need a LinkedIn profile that stands out
With more than 875 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is easily the largest professional network on the planet. If you're serious about your career and professional advancement, you need to know how to make a good LinkedIn profile that's optimized and up to date. Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to get your name and face in front of hundreds (or even thousands) of professionals in your industry. If you're looking for a job, that's essential.
However, it's not enough to just have a LinkedIn page. You need a good LinkedIn profile that draws attention, says the right things, and helps you to really connect with the people who can help you to develop your career. Here are 12 simple tips to help make your LinkedIn profile stand out:
1. Add your headshot
The most simple thing that you can do is to put a face to your name and add a LinkedIn profile picture - and a good one at that. Be creative if that fits with what you do or who you are, but remember that this is the first impression people will get from your page. If you don't currently have a professional headshot to use, it's worth the investment. With the huge numbers of people on LinkedIn, those without a photo are easily pushed aside.
2. Create an eye-catching headline
Your headline is positioned right below your name on your LinkedIn profile and will be the first thing that profile visitors read. The default settings will fill this in with your current position and that's okay for starters - but it can be whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so why not write something that pops? Think of it as a small billboard advertisement for you and what you do. Instead of just listing your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or customers. Don't forget to keep your target audience in mind. Are you speaking to industry peers, customers, or headhunters? Write for your target audience. For example:
Advertising Sales Rep helping clients create winning branding strategies. Over 300 successful clients.
Just like that you've told them your job, what you bring to the table, and provided a little credibility easily and effectively.
3. Craft an interesting summary
A big part of learning how to create a good LinkedIn profile is recognizing that your LinkedIn summary gives you the perfect opportunity to tell your story. Your summary can be a longer form of your headline; here you have 2,000 characters to work with, so you can dive in a little deeper. Don't just focus on your past experience, but on what you do well and what you can bring to a prospective employer.
Attention spans are short these days, so don't use up all of those 2,000 characters. Instead, keep it to less than half of that. Be creative and paint a picture of who you really are as a professional.
Here's a LinkedIn summary example that we love from our article, How to Write a Powerful LinkedIn Profile Summary:
“As an Information Security Analyst at Acme Hospital in Sacramento, I manage the day-to-day flow of information into and out of five hospitals and two emergency centers. With a focus on database management, my job ensures critical computer systems, medical files, and patient history remain active and never fail. My team and I stay updated on the latest trends in information security, to not only keep Acme Hospital safe but also on the cutting edge.”
4. Use the right keywords
As you craft your summary and other sections of your LinkedIn profile, don't forget to include relevant keywords. Proper use of keywords is one of the most important best practices for a LinkedIn profile. To select the right keywords for your profile, you should conduct a search of job descriptions attached to open positions in your field that are of interest to you. Select some of the most commonly cited skills and duties and make sure to include those specific words and phrases throughout your profile text.
Why are keywords so important? Well, anyone who conducts a search for employees with the same job title and responsibilities as you will likely use some of those common words and phrases in their search parameters. By creating a strongLinkedIn profile that uses those terms, you can make yourself more visible to recruiters and others with an interest in locating people in your field.
5. Highlight your experience
You can do better than simply cutting and pasting your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. You don't have the same two-page rule here, but you do have internet readers with short attention spans. Be sure to include any jobs that you deem relevant to where you want your career to go, and use two to four interesting and impressive bullet points for each job you include.
Also, use engaging action words to show not just what you did, but what you accomplished in each position. The key is to demonstrate the impact you've made, the change you've enacted, initiatives you've led, and the results you've delivered.
6. Don't neglect your skills
As you learn how to make a good LinkedIn profile, don't forget important basic information like your skills. Any recruiter who comes across your profile is going to want to ensure that you have the right skill set for the open positions they're trying to fill. Review your skill section regularly and either add or update information about all of your most relevant and marketable skills.
7. Use visual media
Did you know that you can add a background photo on LinkedIn just like on Twitter and Facebook? It's simple to do and makes your LinkedIn profile stand out, so pick a theme that speaks to your profession or personality.
LinkedIn also allows you to connect other media to your profile like YouTube videos, infographics - you name it. Get creative with relevant media and make your page jump off the screen and demand attention.
8. Customize your URL
Your LinkedIn URL is the web address for your profile. When setting up a LinkedIn profile, the default URL will have your name and some gibberish numbers on it. Why not make it something more relevant? Along the right-hand side of your profile, you will see the option to edit your public LinkedIn URL. Use that option to make your URL more concise - it only takes a couple of minutes and it can make your URL much more memorable.
9. Start making connections
It seems obvious, but it can be easy to forget just how important it is to focus on your network of connections. You need to keep growing your connections as you meet people, because of LinkedIn's system of first, second, and third-degree connections; having a lot of connections helps to keep you visible to others.
That being said, while you can connect with people you don't know, it's preferable to connect with individuals whom you know personally, have worked with, or met in a professional capacity. If you do decide to connect with individuals you haven't met, or don't have a direct connection to, send a note with your request explaining who you are and why you'd like to connect.
10. Ask for recommendations
This is a big one. Think of people that you've developed a good working relationship with in the past. When you edit your profile, there's a link to click that says Ask for Recommendations. Click on it. You choose what you'd like to be recommended for and can choose a list of people from your connections. Then, send it out and hope you get some great feedback.
Recommendations and endorsements are key to making your LinkedIn profile stand out. Employers want to know that others have approved of your work. Even when they learn how to make a good LinkedIn profile, many people still neglect this important feature and miss out on a great opportunity to demonstrate their value in the marketplace.
You can also increase the chances of getting others to write recommendations for you by providing recommendations to them first!
11. Keep your page active
LinkedIn is more than an online resume - it's a networking site. That means to get the most out of it, you need to remain active. Check out what other people are posting, engage them with thoughtful comments, and like and share posts that strike you as helpful.
You can also join groups that are on LinkedIn. Whatever your professional interests are, from marketing to accounting, there are going to be groups talking about it. Join one or two and interact within that group. It's a great way to meet some new people and share ideas.
One great way to be active on LinkedIn is to regularly post informative and relevant content. Your goal should be to use your LinkedIn profile to market yourself as an expert in your field, and the content you post will be the most effective way to establish that expertise. Try to stay abreast of new developments in your industry and share that information on your profile page, along with related hashtags. Recruiters and others who may be interested in finding you will often use timely hashtags to conduct their searches.
12. Check your LinkedIn profile strength
If you look at your current profile, there is a gauge on the right-hand side that gives you a “Profile Strength” measurement. Essentially, this is telling you how completely you've filled out your profile. Keep adding more and using the site's tips until that gauge rates you as an “All-Star.” It's simple, but it can help you to see if you've overlooked something.
Bonus Tips: Don't neglect the obvious
In addition to those main tips for helping you learn how to make a good LinkedIn profile, it is important to also cover some of the more basic things that many people sometimes neglect. For example:
Make sure that your contact information is accurate and up to date. Recruiters may sometimes want to reach out via email or text, or even call you in person. If you forget to include those updated contact details, you could miss out on some great opportunities.
If you want your profile to be found, make sure to set your privacy settings so that they are open to the public. That will enable anyone who conducts a Google search to have a better chance of finding you.
Be thorough when you add information to your profile. If you list educational achievements, don't just include the date you started class; add the completion date as well. Go through your entire profile and make sure that these seemingly minor details are all properly covered.
Whenever you have a change in your employment status, skill set, or similar areas of importance, update your LinkedIn profile as soon as possible. That way, your profile is always current. The goal is to make sure that your profile is always ready when you need it.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool and one that's really easy to use and take advantage of. Make the most of it by learning how to make a good LinkedIn profile that stands out in a sea of candidates, sells your skills, and validates your accomplishments. You want your page to be visually appealing to visitors, while making it easy for them to get a feel for who you are and what you really can do for them professionally. These LinkedIn profile tips can help you to get a great start on building your winning LinkedIn profile.
Is your LinkedIn profile getting you noticed? Let one of our resume experts optimize it today! This article was originally written by Tyler Omoth and was updated by Ken Chase in December 2022.