Using LinkedIn has become essential for professionals, and something like 89 percent of recruiters reported to have used the site to hire someone.
Whether you’re a fan of the platform or not, you can’t afford to have a lackluster profile with so many people in so many industries using the site. For some potential employers, a blank or unprofessional profile is a red flag.
6 Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
Having your profile in top shape is now one of those crucial things, like a well-formatted resume and a strong cover letter. Even if you’re not actively looking for a job at the moment, you don’t want to let a lacking profile be out there for everyone to see.
Fortunately, the steps to improve your LinkedIn profile aren’t too difficult. Here are six ways to go about it:
1. No Blank Spaces
Gaps in a resume are one thing that can be explained in an interview. Empty spaces in a LinkedIn profile are a whole other thing that could easily be avoided. You want to make sure everything is up to date, from your employment history to your college education.
Don’t just put in the bare minimum, either. Flesh out what you did at previous companies and define what your responsibilities were.
Touches like that can prove you’re a good candidate for a job, but it also makes the job of potential recruiters easier. They’ll appreciate having all that information at their fingertips.
2. Keep the Updates Professional
LinkedIn isn’t the place for cute photos or irrelevant updates. Keep those limited to Facebook or Instagram. If you’re going to post updates, keep them wholly professional and industry-related.
On LinkedIn, your name is a brand. Everything you post is out there for important people to see.
However, keep in mind there’s a fine line between using LinkedIn professionally and devolving into too much self-promotion. Aim to share articles, along with your own insights, rather than endlessly touting accomplishments.
More people are using LinkedIn than ever before, with 347 million users from across the world.
The risk now is that with recruiters and current employers combing through profiles, there’s a chance they might see something foolish you posted ages ago. The list of people fired for posting things on social media is a long one.
Go through your old posts and make sure there’s nothing on there that was posted either mistakenly or out of context. Failing to clean up your content is one of those things that could set you back, as minor as the post may have been.
3. Look Good in the Photo
A studio shot portrait isn’t essential for a LinkedIn profile, although it is a nice touch that’s worth considering.
Depending on your industry, you’ll want a sharp photo that plays things fairly straight. Some nice clothing and a clear shot of the face in decent lighting goes a long way in looking good, and it doesn’t cost much.
Photos from your latest vacation or a friend’s party probably aren’t what you want to use. Save the fun photos for different social media outlets.
4. Highlight Your Skills
List all your relevant skills for the world to see.
This is a space where you’re allowed to brag and show off, so why not make the most of it? Your contacts can endorse you on your skills, and while recruiters don’t put 100 percent of stock into this, it does quickly highlight where your expertise is.
Likewise, ask current and former colleagues for recommendations. Their words might help increase interest in your profile and put you over the top in consideration for a position. This feature isn’t totally required, but it’s one of those things that definitely doesn’t hurt.
5. Become a Leader
With LinkedIn being a place to make some personal branding, there are a couple ways to make a name for yourself and establish yourself as an industry leader (whether you are one yet or not). Look into the different groups pertaining to your industry and interests.
Once there, drive discussions and contribute. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people. If you don’t see a relevant group, try starting one for yourself and invite people who could help the group grow.
Consider sharing your insights on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, too. Various industries are represented, and it’s not just the big executives who have developed a following on here.
Lower-level employees who write compelling articles can be incredibly popular.
It’s a good way to develop a following and causes others to take notice. However, like with status updates, it’s important to keep these longer posts interesting and professional. You can have a little fun with them, though.
6. Don’t Just Use It Find a Job
You could be in exactly the kind of job you want to be in for a long, long time. That’s great, but using LinkedIn is still a good idea. Instead of a way to brand yourself and look for a job, it’s an ideal way to make valuable connections that could help you down the road.
Reach out to people in your current industry, past and present colleagues and people you simply find interesting. At the very least, you might find some inspiration. However, you could also stumble upon some incredible opportunities for the future. There’s no downside.
LinkedIn isn’t a tough platform to use, so take a few minutes to ensure your profile is up-to-date and professional. With millions of people using LinkedIn regularly, you never know where a polished profile may lead.
How’s your LinkedIn profile looking? Leave a comment below.