Your LinkedIn profile is your very own professional website and can be tuned to accomplish various goals. Some people use it to support and manage their professional network. Others use it as the face of their business to attract prospects and sell. And many use it to market themselves in their job search. Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool you can change at anytime to achieve a new goal.
I have changed my LinkedIn profile numerous times over the years to best fit my current use case. I’m sure many of you have as well.
The following list just scratches the surface of what you can do to optimize your LinkedIn profile for your job search.
Alignment with your resume – Do your job titles, dates of employment, and job details line up between your resume and LinkedIn profile? You don’t want any discrepancies, but you also don’t want them to be carbon copies of each other. Bring your career and jobs to life on your LinkedIn profile and let your resume provide additional detail.
Review all your profile settings – If you have your profile locked down, it will be hard for hiring managers and recruiters to find and contact you. Make sure to allow anyone to contact you (Open Profile) – this will reduce the back and forth communications to get a conversation started. Consider activating the #OpenToWork photo frame or Share with Recruiters Only in your Intro section.
Headline – This is what recruiters and hiring managers see when you turn up in their LinkedIn search results and what will entice them to review your profile to learn more. Writing Open to New Opportunities is not effective in your headline, there are several other ways to communicate that. Your headline should clearly and concisely describe the roles or titles that you are well suited for and summarize your unique value. A clear Headline will entice recruiters and hiring managers to click and view your profile.
Contact info – Make it easy for people to contact you by adding an email and phone number to your contact info. I always suggest having a dedicated Gmail address for your job search with an associated Google Voice number that you can publish without the worry of it being scraped and spammed. You don’t have to set up the Google Voice number on your phone, just set it up so the voice to email messaging works so you can screen and return the call at your convenience. This first inbound call could be the open door you’ve been waiting for, so you want your best professional self to show up. Not the rushed parent wrangling kids in the store parking lot or the busy chef in the middle of preparing a meal. Plus this will help you keep all your job search communications in one place, so nothing gets lost in the stream of personal and marketing email you receive. Use this dedicated phone number and email address on your resume too!
About Section – This is your chance to tell your career story, show who you are professionally, and get the reader interested. At the bottom, list out your top professional competencies and functions you want to fill in your next role (you should be solid on anything listed, this is not the place to list stretch goals). Finish off the About section with your job specific contact information.
Experience – Review each of your jobs and their descriptions to be sure they describe your accomplishments and the value you delivered. Make sure the content includes the keywords that appear in the job descriptions you are interested in.
Skills & Endorsements – Are the top three you want to be endorsed for at the top? Have you added all the relevant skills listed for the jobs you are targeting? You can test this by looking at what is missing from the Top Skills matching section when viewing jobs posted on LinkedIn. Add skills (if you have them) to increase your match percentage.
Request Recommendations – Use recommendations to get validated by your network. Reach out to people that know your work and be specific in your request about the type of recommendation you are looking for. If you are targeting a marketing role, ask your colleague to focus on that aspect of your work. If you are getting into coaching, ask a former client to describe how you helped them.
Keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – There is always SEO work that can be done to your LinkedIn profile – it is a living profile. Using the right words in the right quantity will ensure that you are picked up in searches for the roles you are targeting and not the roles you have done and probably don’t want to do anymore. Compare your profile content to job descriptions to see what you should be emphasizing as well as downplaying. The last thing you want is recruiters reaching out to you for roles you are qualified for but have no interest in.
Engage – While this is not a Profile related topic, it is essential to attracting LinkedIn members to your profile and shows up in your Activity summary. You don’t have to write long form Articles or come up with thoughtful Posts, but you should at least actively engage with other people’s content. Follow hashtags related to your industry, role, and tools so that posts that include them show up in your feed. You should also Follow people who work in companies you are targeting and if possible, choose people that would be your closest colleagues there. Read what they post, React with Like and include a short comment that builds upon the conversation.
There is so much more to consider in your LinkedIn profile, but if you take the time to refresh it for your job search following these basic guidelines, you will get better results. If you feel stuck, get help from a professional that can help you efficiently update your profile for success. LinkedIn is a powerful platform, set it up so it helps you accomplish your goals.