Anyone and everyone can create a profile on LinkedIn. But to build an eye-catching, professional, sufficiently detailed one harnessing the full power of the networking and jobs site takes time and commitment.
Someone with a fully optimised ‘all-star’ Linkedin profile is 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities via the website or app than those who don’t bother, recruitment experts at Leisure Jobs claim.
With that in mind, to get ahead of the job-seeking pack you need to use these eight nifty ‘cheat sheet’ tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile and secure that all-important dream job.
Basics: Getting all the basics right on your profile can help your chances of securing a new job
1. Get the basics right
There are a number of basic points on a LinkedIn profile that you need to get right. The most pertinent are outlined below.
As a starting point, include your first, last and middle name, if applicable. This is not the place for nicknames or humorous references to job titles such as ‘Sales Rockstar’ or ‘Developer Ninja’, Leisure Jobs says.
The headline which features below your name needs to be concise and include key terms that make it easy for other people to define the industry you work in and your role within it.
In the example above, the imaginary Zara Evans is simply a ‘Senior HR Manager at Lesiurejobs.com’. This is both concise and descriptive at the same time.
Add a list of projects to your profile to showcase your skills, expertise and enhance your reputation.
This projects list, according to Leisure Jobs, increases your chances of appearing in LinkedIn searches.
Examples of what you can add include case studies, e-books, research papers, blogs, events organised, products and services you or your company offer.
You can also add links to images, blogs, videos or websites that showcase your work.
The main thing people will focus on in your LinkedIn profile is your experience.
You need to get your skillset across to people as quickly and succinctly as possible.
Include all the organisations or companies that you have worked for and make sure you include details about your responsibilities, achievements and growth.
According to Leisure Jobs, recruiters are less interested in what you say you can do compared to what you’ve actually done. Show that you have the skills by listing the accomplishments that came as a result of your work.
This is also a good place to include a little more about your current company and what makes them unique. You can also add links to the website of the firm you work for or any content you have created.
Incomplete or skimpy job descriptions may raise questions with prospective employers and will not help your chances of appearing in search results.
Your profile is viewed up to 29 times more if you have more than one position listed in the experience section, according to Leisure Jobs.
Always list your highest academic achievement. This will make it easy for you to find people you have studied with and provides an opportunity to impress employers.
You can also include activities which you participated in while attending school/university if you have not got too much work experience yet.
Buzzwords are universally detested but still litter CVs, covering letters and online profiles left, right and centre.
Steer clear: Here are some buzzwords to avoid using in your LinkedIn profile
Leisure Jobs says: ‘Avoid using buzzwords and remember to show your skills and talents rather than just tell. For example, rather than stating you’re a “great salesperson”, mention awards received or remarkable sales metrics achieved.’
Some buzzwords to avoid include: ‘motivated’, ‘focused’, strategic’ and ‘passionate.’
2. Get your image right
A crucial element of any decent LinkedIn account is a profile picture. You can also add a ‘banner’ image’ to your profile to give your profile an extra boost.
For a profile picture, consider the sort of industry you work in and select an appropriate headshot for both potential employers and your peers.
There a a few simple dos and don’ts to consider when selecting your profile shot.
Getting a professional photographer may seem like an unnecessary and time consuming expense, but it could pay off in the log run and help you curate a more professional looking online LinkedIn profile.
Profile pic tips: Get your LinkedIn profile image right by following these top tips
While a goofy smile may not be what your future employer is looking for, do not look so solemn-faced in your profile picture that you put people off. Strike a balance between personable and professional.
Make sure the image you use is one you are comfortable with and ensure it covers most of the frame size on offer.
You can also crop, filter, and adjust your photo after you upload it to LinkedIn.
How to create a professional LinkedIn profile picture
Inappropriate: Put those duck lips and selfies away for your LinkedIn profile picture
In its nifty cheat sheet, Leisure Jobs has come up with some handy hints for perfecting your profile picture:
Be recognisable – Make sure you use a recent photo in which your physical features resemble the way you look today.
Dress up – Wear what you want if it fits your current job or the job you’re aiming for.
Smile – Several surveys have shown that a natural smile with teeth or with a friendly smile is more inviting than a stern look.
The eyes have it – Looking directly into the camera typically displays an air of confidence. Looking away, wearing sunglasses or a hat that makes your eyes less visible does not work to your advantage.
Head & shoulders – It’s important that your face and even part of your shoulders are visible. The rest of your body will most likely distract from what really matters!
Only you – The person in the image should unmistakably be you. Avoid having a photo of you and a friend, your partner, your children or pets. Another big no-no is chopping somebody off the picture.
No selfies – Save the duck lips and selfies for your Instagram.
Quality matters – Image quality is important so avoid pixelated and stretched images at all costs.
No cartoons – Don’t use cartoon images for your photo, always use an actual photo of you!
3. Get decent recommendations
For ongoing network development, a solid combination of recommendations and skill endorsements can go a long way to successful networking on LinkedIn.
Written by other members, recommendations add more credibility to your profile and work history and enhance your profile’s visibility to others.
Get a boost: Use recommendations and endorsements to give your LinkedIn profile a boost
Meanwhile, a skill endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the skills listed on your profile. There is not an automatic way to request an endorsement and only skills already listed can be endorsed.
Asking clients, former customers, bosses and employees for recommendations helps paint a more complete picture of who you are and how you work. To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is a ‘reference in advance’.
Leisure Jobs believes that if you add five relevant skills to your profile, you will be messaged up to 31 times more by recruiters and other LinkedIn members.
Try and get two recommendations for your most important previous jobs.
4. Make use of LinkedIn’s hidden features
Setting up a basic profile on LinkedIn is all well and good, but to get the most out of the site you need to delve a little deeper.
For a start, you can message someone you are not connected with by joining a common group.
Click the hyperlinked members list on the group homepage, search for your desired connection and click the ‘Message’ button next to their name.
Hidden gems: Make the most of some of LinkedIn’s hidden features to enhance your profile
Open to offers: Use LinkedIn’s ‘open candidates’ tool to make yourself visible on the quiet
Here’s another top tip for active job-hunters – use the ‘open candidates’ tool.
This feature makes it easier to connect with your dream job by quietly signalling to recruiters that you are open to new job opportunities.
You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent.
LinkedIn members who have let recruiters know they are open to opportunities are, according to Leisure Jobs, twice as likely to receive relevant opportunities from recruiters.
Another less well known tool on LinkesIn enables members to download a full list of all their connections and key contact details.
Leisure Jobs says: ‘Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. Your connections are on the left, click See all. Click Manage synced and imported contacts near the top right of the page. Under Advanced actions on the right rail, click Export contacts. Click Request Archive.’
5. Show up in more search results
Customise your LinkedIn URL to make it easier for people to find you, more professional looking and easier to share. The SEO benefits may be minimal, but it is good practice nonetheless. To do this click the ‘Edit public profile & URL’ on the right-hand side of your profile.
Are you bilingual or multilingual? The general rule on LinkedIn is that you may only have one profile, however, according to Leisure Jobs, there is one exception to that rule: The Secondary Language Profile.
All your language profiles will show up in search engines and have their own URL so it is great for SEO, as adding keywords in two languages will allow your profile to turn up in a bigger number of searches.
Whether it is because you are looking for a different career or seeking new business opportunities, having your LinkedIn profile in another language you speak is definitely an asset.
Another tip to boost your visibility is to use LinkedIn Publishing. This allows you to post articles directly to LinkedIn and show off your expertise and insights.
Make sure you also promote your LinkedIn profile everywhere you can. Add a link to your profile on your email signature, your Twitter account or on your Facebook page.
6. Polish your profile regularly
Make sure you keep your profile current. LinkedIn users who update their profiles are more likely to get job offers.
The best time to post on LinkedIn is, according to Leisure Jobs, between Tuesday to Thursday, 8am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm local time.
It’s all about timing: Make sure you update your LinkedIn profiles at the best times of day
Fridays and weekends could receive lower engagement due to companies and individuals checking out for the weekend.
Leisure Jobs says: ‘Creating high value content and sharing regularly will, overtime, increase the number of followers you have on LinkedIn.’
If you become serious about your job hunt, make sure you concert your LinkedIn profile details into a polished CV. To do this, save your profile as a PDF by clicking ‘More…’ on your profile and ‘Save to PDF.’
7. Keep your online profile secure
With recent news of so many high-profile data breaches, it is important to make sure you know how to keep your LinkedIn account information private.
Automatic checks already protect all LinkedIn accounts and are designed to thwart unauthorised sign-in attempts and keep user’s data safe. But, you can take several additional steps to ensure your account is completely watertight.
Secure: Follow these top tips from Leisure Jobs to make sure LinkedIn profile more secure
Updating your privacy settings, setting up the LinkedIn two-step verification process and creating a complex password regularly can all help to make sure profile more secure and ensure no one gets access to your personal details.
According to Leisure Jobs, a password of eight characters in length with numbers, letters and symbols could take a hacker around two years to crack.
8. Use the mobile app to get a new job
According to Leisure Jobs, half of LinkedIn visits are made on a mobile device, so if you don’t want to alert your bosses via your desktop that you are desperate for a new job, consider downloading LinkedIn’s mobile app.
If you’ve got the LinkedIn app you can use something called the ‘QR Code.’
This offers a quick way to find the profile of someone you just met so you can connect with them on the spot.
Leisure Jobs says: ‘The next time you’re at an industry event and meet someone that you want to keep chatting with, open the LinkedIn app and scan their QR code to connect instantly. Gone are the days of requesting a business card, asking the person to spell their name or handing over your phone to make sure you found their profile.’
‘Essentially LinkedIn is a fully searchable CV database’
In the know: James Callander, Managing Director of Freshminds
Speaking to This is Money, James Callander, Managing Director at recruitment consultancy Freshminds, said: ‘In an increasingly competitive job market it is really important that your LinkedIn profile is fully up to date – full of relevant information – both companies you have worked for as well as the roles that you have had and ideally the skills that you have developed.
‘Essentially LinkedIn is a fully searchable CV database for professionals across the world.
‘If you want to get head hunted (recruited) you need to be searchable. Even if you don’t intend to move jobs regularly – updating your market or industry on your new skillsets, progression or promotions can be a good signal and might yield you new, exciting opportunities (new clients/ speaking opportunities etc).
‘It is common practice around the world for both companies looking to hire or recruiters looking to find people that they use the LinkedIn “Recruiter Tool” to access global talent. It’s your way of marketing yourself to the jobs world! Do actively build your LinkedIn network – but don’t “over connect” – my view is you should really only aim to connect with people you have actually met – or have a useful/ relevant connection with.
‘Outside of the world of permanent work there has been a huge increase in the professional gig economy where professionals (consultants/ lawyers/ advisors) are taking on short term projects and therefore showing in your profile that you have the skill set, industry expertise and that you are available is a real help to head hunters (recruiters) and potential employers.’