With over 400 million members, LinkedIn is the most popular networking website for professionals. Importantly, employers checking LinkedIn when considering candidates for job opportunities is becoming increasingly common. However, many people rarely update their LinkedIn profile, which puts them at a disadvantage. Below are four easy ways to update your profile to make it more appealing, all of which you can do in about 10 minutes.
Upload a Professional Profile Picture. A LinkedIn profile without a picture looks incomplete. Make sure to use a professional-looking photo of you in business attire, and avoid using a casual photo from a social event or that obviously crops out other people. If you’re looking for a job as a chef for example, then maybe a suit isn’t the right choice, so use your best judgment. Similarly, adding a background or cover photo to your profile is an opportunity to showcase your personality. Although there are many similarities to Facebook, remember that LinkedIn is intended for professional use and all photos should be business appropriate.
Utilize All Information Fields. Many people simply post their job title and company, but leave all of the other fields blank. Yet, there are dozens of other sections you can add to your profile to help stand out from the crowd, including volunteer experience, certifications, or honors and awards. When filling out these fields, be sure to include specific keywords that could automatically come up in LinkedIn’s search engine. You can also use the summary section to write about who you are and why you’d make a good hire—almost like a generic cover letter. Simply including a few sentences about yourself and past professional experiences may cause potential employers to dig deeper into your profile or more closely review your application for any jobs you’ve applied for.
Restructure Your Profile. This is one of the easiest things you can do to make your profile look different from your peers. When you first input your information into LinkedIn, it automatically lists your work experience in chronological order and puts your educational background near the top while keeping other items, like certifications or languages, near the bottom. If you are bilingual or have an elite certification in your field, you should definitely move that to the top of your profile.
When editing your profile, all you have to do is drag and drop the different sections to reorder. Restructuring your profile is an easy fix that can immediately enhance the look of your page.
Don’t Forget to Network! The entire purpose of LinkedIn is to allow easy access to other professionals in your industry, yet, many people don’t proactively use LinkedIn as a networking tool. Make sure to connect with former bosses, colleagues, or other industry peers who would be willing to vouch for you as an employee. Joining LinkedIn industry groups is also a great way to meet new connections who could help you professionally. Last, make sure to actively post updates, share articles or post other relevant content on a regular basis. This can help engage others and potentially spark conversation within your network of connections.