By now, you already know why LinkedIn is vital to your job search. As the fifth fastest-growing social network in the world, LinkedIn reaches far and wide, and the sheer number of users on the site means you have to ramp up your efforts to stand out.
Of course, there’s a right way to stand out. You don’t flood your activity feed with vacation photos or upload a picture of your latest Happy Hour escapade and expect to win brownie points with potential employers. Instead, follow these 20 ways to attract more eyeballs to your profile and increase your chances of getting a recruiter to say, “Gotta hire this person!”
1. Have a Flattering, But Professional, Profile Picture
Making a good first impression takes more than a pretty face and a powerhouse suit. To look competent, likeable and trustworthy in your LinkedIn profile photo, smile just wide enough to show your teeth, keep your eyes on the camera, use a head-to-shoulders or head-to-waist shot and pick the right color saturation.
2. Use a Cover Photo That Shows off Your Brand
Aside from your headshot, a cover photo can make your profile pop. Use a picture that shows at a glance what your work is all about or at least incorporates your company’s brand. If the photo complements your profile picture, such as having the same background color, that’s even better.
3. Spell out What You Do in Your Professional Headline
In a professional headline, you’re only given 125 characters to make an impression, so make it count. Use phrases like “I Help (Group X) to Achieve (Objective Y).” Ask yourself what you can do for a potential employer, sum it up as concisely as you can and write it down as your professional headline.
4. Rewrite Your Summary Using a First Person Point of View
By using the first person POV, your summary comes across as more personal and more authentic than the third person POV. When you emphasize how your particular set of skills and experiences contribute to any organization you’re thrown into, employers won’t mind your frequent use of the word “I.”
5. Rewrite Your Summary as a Story
You don’t have to write a novelette, but you do have to highlight what you’ve achieved, how you achieved them and how your achievements benefited the company you’re working for. Feel free to write it as a linear or nonlinear narrative, as long as the important stuff is at the forefront.
6. Include Photos, Videos and Presentations in Your Summary
Visuals don’t just break up your summary into digestible chunks of text. They can also complement what you’ve written in your profile. If you’re in a creative field like graphic or web design, you can use photos, videos and SlideShares to show off your aesthetic sensibilities.
7. Post Links to Your LinkedIn Content
If you haven’t tried publishing via LinkedIn Pulse yet, you might want to start now. Six out of 10 LinkedIn users browse it for content about industry insights, after all. Blogging on those topics will not only help you establish your credibility, but it can also bring in traffic to your profile page.
8. Link to Your Official Website as Well
Aside from your LinkedIn Pulse posts, you’ll want to blog on your official website too. Use a self-hosted site as much as possible, and keep it professional. Start with WordPress, the most popular platform for self-hosted websites, or use any other service that feels more comfortable to you.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Repurpose Content
Repurposing isn’t the same as plagiarism. It’s increasing the visibility of content you’ve already written before. Use LinkedIn Publisher to your advantage, and share your best posts through that platform.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Include Volunteer Work
Even volunteer work for a nonprofit has value. If anything, volunteer work is actually more valuable for potential employers because it proves that your commitment to your job extends beyond the monetary rewards. List your volunteer positions and highlight the ones where you gained skills relevant to the job you’re gunning for.
11. Strengthen Your Job Descriptions
To quote the Star copy style sheet: “Use vigorous English.” Rewrite your job descriptions with action-driven verbs like “improved,” “increased/decreased” and “launched.”
Do away with vague and overused words like “results-driven,” “highly qualified” and “hard worker.”
12. Pepper Your Text With Keywords
Keywords make it easier for search engines — and, by extension, employers — to find you. For example, if you specialize in writing nonfiction for major publications, you can include “creative nonfiction” or “journalism” in your Skills section. Be careful not to overstuff keywords, though: They should be incorporated naturally into your text.
13. List Other Organizations You’re Involved With
If you’re a member of any organization where you hold a leadership capacity and/or you learned skills transferable to your dream job, list it on your LinkedIn profile. Employers always appreciate well-rounded workers, after all.
14. Ask for Quality Recommendations From Contacts
It’s great to have a recommendation like “She’s awesome!” However, potential employers will need to see something more specific than that. To show that unbiased third parties see your potential as well, you have to know how to request LinkedIn recommendations that’ll make employers take a second look.
15. Accept Requests from Acquaintances
Even if you’re not best buddies with someone, hit “Connect” anyway. Aside from boosting the number under the “Connections” section, those acquaintances might lead you to a golden career opportunity in the future.
16. Post Every Day
According to a LinkedIn study, even one post can help you reach 20 percent of your connections. Furthermore, 20 posts a month can help reach as much as 60 percent of your unique audience. If that’s not enough reason to publish on LinkedIn Pulse, we don’t know what is!
17. Post at the Right Time
When it comes to social media posts in general, timing matters. Since employees usually check LinkedIn during working hours, the best times to post on LinkedIn are the following: 7:30 to 8:30 A.M., 12:00 P.M. and 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. from Tuesdays to Thursdays. You can also post between 10:00 and 11:00 A.M. on Tuesdays, though no one is sure why that works!
18. Watch Your Privacy Settings
You know how your activity shows up on the LinkedIn feed? If your supervisor accidentally sees you “Liking” a post about bosses from hell, it can get awkward, to say the least. Go to the “Privacy & Settings” tab at the top right of your profile page, hit “Privacy” then customize your settings under the “Profile” privacy tab.
19. Keep Your Profile Updated
Make sure your contact info is current. Change your job description if you’ve taken on new responsibilities. Add any new skills you’ve picked up recently. If you can keep your other social networks updated, why not your LinkedIn page?
20. Delete Unnecessary Information
Cut out the fat from your profile. Delete short-term jobs irrelevant to the career you want. Hide recommendations that look bad or that don’t contribute anything to your desired image. Make every word on your LinkedIn page count.
With these tips, you can boost your chances of attracting your dream employer by a mile. Try them out for yourself, and let us know how they worked for you in the comments below.
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