7 Powerful Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

In 2003, the world of professional networking and job searching changed dramatically with the introduction of LinkedIn. With over 20,000 companies using the platform and 11 million job listings, it’s the world’s largest professional networking site. The ability to connect with other professionals and find new career opportunities make LinkedIn a tool job seekers can’t afford to ignore.

What makes LinkedIn unique? 

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for both professionals and job seekers. It’s similar to other social media platforms because you make connections, message colleagues, and write status updates, but everything is job oriented and professionally focused. Companies and recruiters use the platform to research and find candidates, while job seekers can find job openings and network. Linkedin is quickly becoming the best way to connect with other professionals, find a mentor, and create opportunities for yourself.

LinkedIn has over 250 million active users a day, so it’s important to have a stand out profile. If you’re starting your job search, in the midst of your search, or looking to make new connections, below are seven powerful ways to improve and optimize your LinkedIn profile. 

1. Upload a professional headshot

Profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed than profiles without a photo. Not having a photo is similar to when you’re looking for a house and don’t see any photos so you immediately assume something’s wrong. Don’t let visitors assume there’s something wrong with you because you don’t have a picture.

Tip: When you do upload a picture, make sure you’re smiling and it’s a professional picture of you from your shoulders up. Don’t include other people, your children or pets. Most importantly, be sure the photo isn’t a misrepresentation of yourself. You don’t want anyone to think you deceived them by using a photo that doesn’t represent the life stage you’re currently in.

2. Use an attention-grabbing headline

In addition to a great photo, you need an attention-grabbing headline. Your headline is the only thing that will show up when you do a LinkedIn search, so you want the headline to entice viewers to click on your profile. You have 120 characters in the headline space, so don’t be afraid to use every one of them!

When writing your headline, think about how to represent yourself in the best way possible. Mention what your purpose is and include one of your goals or the industry you’re in. Your headline is searchable, so you also want to include relevant keywords. If you're looking for a new job, don't list your headline as the job you have, list your headline for the job you want. 

Don’t Say: Marketing Coordinator

Do Say: Experienced Marketing Professional For Non-Profit Organizations

3. Write a personal statement, not an objective statement

The personal statement has replaced the objective statement on your resume, so that means you shouldn’t use an objective statement in your profile either. Instead, use a personal statement as your profile summary.

The profile summary is your chance to share your story, your personality and set yourself apart from other candidates. You get 2,000 characters in the profile summary section, so use this space to your advantage. Use your story to connect with others and really sell yourself. Get personable in your profile summary. Your profile is about you and written by you, so you shouldn’t write about yourself from someone else’s point of view. First person writing makes your profile more personable and prevents it from feeling stale and cold. You want your profile to help you build connections and develop professional relationships

Don't Say: Marketing Coordinator with 5+ years experience working in non-profit sectors. Ability to collaborate with all levels of an organization to generate profitable fundraising events. 

Do Say: I'm a Marketing Coordinator with over 5 years of experience working in non-profit sectors. I enjoy collaborating with all levels of an organization to generate profitable fundraising events. 

4. Don’t copy and paste your resume

Your resume should be tailored to specific positions, while your LinkedIn profile should be written for a broader audience. You want your work history to share your story and show the value you provide to the company and position. So instead of your experience reading like a list of titles and positions, use it as an opportunity to show your areas of focus and expertise. You want to highlight 2-3 bullet points under each career experience section, don't just copy and paste your resume. Your LinkedIn profile is not your resume. 

5. List relevant skills

The value you bring to a company or a position is the most important thing to share with visitors, but that doesn’t mean your skills and expertise aren’t important as well. Profiles with five or more skills listed are up to 17x more likely to be viewed.

When it comes to adding skills, be sure they’re relevant to the positions you are looking for, not positions you’ve had in the past. If you have skills that are no longer applicable, remove them. If you’re interested in developing new skills, LinkedIn learning is a great resource where you can take courses and learn something new and stay relevant.

Tip: Did you know you can add up to 50 skills on your profile? Or that you can use the LinkedIn search function to find skills that may be needed for a particular job? Using the LinkedIn advanced search function is a great way to create new opportunities for yourself. Learn more about how to do this in my Leveraging LinkedIn course

6. Use the “Topic” Tool to Expand Your Profile

Use the topic tool in LinkedIn to get powerful information about your industry such as jobs, people, top skills, learning modules, and articles to share.

This is a great way to add more information and skills to your profile, plus connect with other people in your industry. Let’s say I'm interested in information about marketing, I would enter Marketing as the LinkedIn topic into my browser, and it populates a ton of useful information about my industry.

7. Be active on LinkedIn 

In addition to regularly updating your profile, you can be active by sharing content from other industry professionals and interacting with your connections. You want to start to brand yourself as a thought leader in an industry you're pursuing.

Start by publishing posts, endorsing other people (often they’ll respond by endorsing you),  and join relevant groups. Once you’re in a LinkedIn group, network and reach out to other members, find a mentor or share posts.

Tip: Next time you’re updating your profile, use this in-depth checklist from LinkedIn to help you make sure you don’t leave anything blank.

LinkedIn as a powerful online networking site. Keep in mind it also works the same way as traditional networking. You have to show up for people to recognize you and to be able to develop relationships. Remember whether you’re actively searching for a job or not, it’s important to always network. If you want to design a career you love, LinkedIn is a great place to start. You never know what opportunities will arise from your connections, and recruiters love to have candidates in their back pocket when positions open up. Let your profile tell your story so you can take your professional networking to the next level.