If you’re not on LinkedIn, are you really a job seeker? Kidding. 😊 I JUST joined the world of LinkedIn a little over a month ago (because BlueWave). It’s an awesome platform to find job opportunities, browse articles and share information. Your LinkedIn is like a living resume that recruiters and your next employer will ALWAYS review. Make your LinkedIn profile stand out with these tips!
✔️ Profile Photo
Your profile photo should be one of the first things you add to your LinkedIn. Don’t procrastinate on this one – add it now! Upload a professional headshot – not a party photo, not a photo in your car, and not an avatar unless it relates to your career.
If you don’t have a pro headshot ready to go, you can take a quick photo right where you are!
- Find your best shirt, dress, sweater, whatever suits you best.
- Try to find a plain background to stand in front of, preferably a plain wall or an outdoor setting.
- Set up your phone or camera on a tripod. No tripod? Place your phone on a stack of books and use a phone grip or a pen in front of the phone to keep it in place.
- Set your camera timer.
People want to see YOU. Adding your profile photo will help hiring managers, recruiters, and your potential new connections put a face to the name on your profile and in search results. Remember: no selfies.
BREAKING NEWS: You can now include up to 220 characters in your LinkedIn headline! That’s 100 characters more than before. So if you’re a multi-hyphenated rockstar, now’s your time to show it.
Your headline should include:
- Who you are
- What you’re passionate about
- Who you serve (the customers you work with, their industries, etc.)
- Your title(s)
- The company you work for (if you want to showcase that)
You can be strategic about this to include a mix of your professional and personal life. Let’s say you’re a web developer at a local startup and you like to bungee jump on the weekends. Your headline might look something like this:
Web Developer at Steve’s Startup | Full Stack | Java | Bungee Enthusiast
Separate information with long lines (|) to make it visually appealing. Keep in mind: your headline should contain keywords to help hiring managers, recruiters, and people looking to network find your LinkedIn profile.
Adding your location can help you find and network with professionals in your area. As a job seeker, this will help you land a job in a specific location. If you’re planning to relocate, think about updating your location to the new city you’ll be residing in to help find jobs proactively.
Choose the industry you’re currently working in. While your industry won’t be displayed on your profile, it will show up in a LinkedIn search and in Google search results. This is especially helpful for hiring managers and recruiters to connect you with the right opportunities.
You have 700 characters to go crazy writing about who you are and why you’re awesome! Highlight your professional experience, what you love about what you do, and projects you’re proud of. You can also make this section easy to skim through by using emojis as bullet points to list your skills.
Experience is the meat and potatoes of your LinkedIn profile. This is the big-ticket item that everyone’s here to see. Make sure you include relevant jobs AND a few bullet points on your responsibilities and results. Think quantifiable results: percentages, big numbers, ways you helped the company grow. Ex: “Launched major company campaign with an ROI of $100K.”
In your Experience section, you can also showcase links to clips, photos, and projects you worked on while you were at the company.
If you have a gap in your work experience, that’s OK! It’s not uncommon for people to have gaps in their resume because:
a) A previous job didn’t contribute to their career growth
b) They took time off/traveled
c) They were furloughed
You can explain the gap in your interview if it comes up (just don’t lie about a gap on your profile and covered it up with fake dates).
Technical School, College, Grad
Make sure to add your completed education (technical college, university, graduate school, etc.) as well as any continuing education courses. This is also where you’ll add your major, organizations you were involved in (think honor society, department clubs, Greek life, student government, etc.), awards, and extracurricular activities (intramural sports, music, the college newspaper).
Adding your graduation year isn’t required but it can be a conversation starter to reconnect with old classmates. Some employers might have attended the same school or might know someone who went there!
Don’t sweat it if you didn’t attend college. You can focus on your work experience and skills in your profile.
It’s not necessary to add your high school to the Education section, but you can include it if you want to connect with previous classmates and people from your hometown.
✔️ Licenses & Certifications
Add certifications you’ve earned, like Google, HubSpot, LinkedIn Learning, Free Code Camp, etc. Licenses and certifications show hiring managers you’ve put in work to further your education in the industry.
✔️ Volunteer Experience
According to a LinkedIn survey, 1 of 5 hiring managers said they’ve hired a candidate due to their volunteer experience. Volunteering provides the opportunity to grow, develop social and professional skills, and build professional relationships. This can be invaluable for you as a candidate.
✔️ Skills & Endorsements
You know all those programs you spent hours learning on your own for that one project (or because you just wanted to learn it for fun)? You can add up to 50 skills, including software you’re proficient in, skills, leadership & management abilities, and more. This is your chance to put the spotlight on what you know and how you communicate. Once you list your skills, your coworkers, friends, managers and people in your network can endorse you, confirming you’re “awesome” at these skills.
Let’s not forget recommendations! They’re basically like mini reference checks. Future employers can check your recommendations to see what awesome things people say about you and your work ethic. If you don’t have any recommendations yet, you can always ask for them.
Write a few recommendations on your own for people in your network before asking for some. You can recommend previous classmates, coworkers, managers, and people who you had a good working relationship with. Once you’ve given out a few recommendations, those people might naturally recommend you or you can request recommendations.
Add awards you’ve received in school, at your job, or even placing in that half marathon you trained for all year. You can toot your own horn here by listing languages you speak, organizations you belong to, and publications you’re published in.
Creating an Awesome LinkedIn Profile
Build your LinkedIn profile step-by-step. You don’t have to update it all at once! Take it at your own pace and download this handy checklist.
If you need a second set of eyes on your LinkedIn profile, hit up our team! 👀 We’ll be happy to run through your profile with you and provide suggestions. You’ve got this!