If you’re currently looking for a job, here are 15 LinkedIn tips and tricks that you should utilize on your profile in order to attract the attention of employers.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, only it’s more like a more professional Facebook. You add profile photo and some details about your work history, just like you would on Facebook, but with LinkedIn, it’s focused around professionalism. Think of it as your online resume of sorts.
However, it’s not just an online resume, but also a social platform where you can network with other professionals, making it a great tool for finding a job or simply just expanding your professional network if you already have a job.
In fact, many hiring managers heavily rely on LinkedIn for pursuing potential candidates, and Joe Rosenbaum, who is the VP of Human Resources for Argyle Executive Forum, says that there is absolutely no way he would consider hiring someone who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile.
If you’re looking to improve your LinkedIn profile or just want to get better at networking with professionals, here are 15 LinkedIn tips & tricks that you should know.
Pick a Great, Professional Profile Photo
You always want to be looking your best, and that includes your LinkedIn profile photo. You want to show potential employers that you know how to dress well and look professional overall.
Plus, your profile photo is one of the first things that employers see when they view your profile, so garnering a good first impression is key for your profile photo.
Make sure the photo isn’t blurry and the lighting is optimal. In other words, a washed-out photo of you doesn’t really look too flattering, so be sure to upload a photo that’s well-lit. If anything, hire a photographer to take a couple of head shots of you to use in your LinkedIn profile and elsewhere.
If you don’t want to pay a professional photographer, you can do it yourself. “iPhones have timers. Put on a collared shirt, stand against a neutral wall, and take a few photos,” Rosenbaum suggests.
Fill In the Headline and Summary
After your profile photo, your headline and summary are the next lines of defense. You want to fill in both the headline and summary in your profile so that you stand out to employers and they’ll know exactly what you do and what you’re looking for.
Rosenbaum says that your profile summary “should be a story about you and the narrative should be a good one. Don’t skimp on this! This is the place to show off your personality and writing skills. Be creative without being overly comical or making too hard of a sell.”
Your headline should be a very short description of your current duties or even just your current title, such as “Director of Media at 123Media” or something similar. Joseph Terach, founder & CEO of Resume Deli, says that you should “write a clear, targeted headline that’s rich in both meaning and keywords (e.g., Writer, Copywriter & Editor). Accuracy here and in your selected industry will enable the right employers and recruiters to find you.”
Set Up a Vanity URL
By default, the URL to your LinkedIn profile is just a string of random letters and numbers, but you can actually change it to something specific, like your own name.
To do this, hover over Profile and then select Edit Profile in the navigation bar at the top. Just below your profile photo will be the URL to your profile. A small gear icon will appear. Click on it.
Off to the right, there will be a section where you can change the URL. Click on the blue pencil icon to do so.
Changing your profile URL will make it a prettier to employers, especially if you put the URL in your resume or on your business card.
We all like to describe ourselves with great adjectives, but it’s actually really not doing you any favors, as employers don’t look for those types of words in profiles when looking for potential candidates.
Rosenbaum suggests avoiding generic terms that are overused like “entrepreneurial” and dynamic.”
“I’ve never done a search using those adjectives or any adjectives for that matter. I always search for skills and knowledge,” Rosenbaum says.
Insert Keywords Into Your Profile
Instead of using buzzwords and adjectives in your profile, use keywords that relate to your job or the job that you want. You can even spot frequently-used keywords in job ads that you’re interested in and use those in your profile.
Cheryl Palmer, a certified career coach for over 20 years and owner of Call to Career, says that “recruiters will be using the Advanced Search function to find ideal candidates. They will primarily be using keywords to identify candidates who have the skill set that they are seeking. By analyzing job vacancies for any given field, you will find that the same keywords occur repeatedly. These are the keywords that you need to use in your profile to ensure that you show up in search results. Monitor your statistics on your homepage using “Who’s Viewed My Profile?” to see how frequently you are showing up in search results and how many people have viewed your profile. By increasing the number of times you show up in search results you increase the number of opportunities that you are considered for.”
For instance, if you are looking for an accounting job, include keywords about accounting that recruiters would be searching for, but digital strategist Taylor Daughtry suggests using more descriptive keywords than normal. Instead of “Accountant”, try using keywords like “CPA”, “Digital Agency Accountant”, or “Construction Accountant”.
“Using more keywords will help your profile get those critical views from recruiters who are looking for potential referrals,” Daughtry says. “Think about how recruiters/employers would search for your position, and add those keywords in a few places.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Brag
Most of the time, bragging is looked down upon by society, but your LinkedIn profile is where the brag police don’t have jurisdiction, so don’t be afraid to boast about your accomplishments.
If you tripled your sales last quarter, that’s an excellent detail to add to your profile. Don’t shrug it off and pretend that it was luck. Instead add it your profile in the description and display it proudly.
Add Media to Your Profile
LinkedIn not only allows you to add text to your profile, but also multimedia, which not only adds more oomph to your profile, but it can also hint at employers that you keep busy with various projects.
David Ring, the product marketing manager at Mio Datos, recommends adding any content you have created to your profile. “For example, if you just graduated in graphic design, you can add some of your projects to your summary section. This helps companies see examples of your work before reaching out to you. You can also add links to your profile if you have been published on any websites. Adding your resume and personal website is also a plus when creating a professional looking profile. The more information you can give a recruiter the better!”
One big mistake that recruiters notice with LinkedIn members is that job seekers will set up their profile and just leave it like that, completely ignoring the fact that LinkedIn users can post status updates of sorts and share articles and other content to their followers.
Career communications consultant Daniel Alexander Usera says that LinkedIn users should frequently “post updates and articles related to your field that you read. When it appears in the feed, people will look at it and your profile. Plus, it shows that you’re staying up to date in your field which helps alleviate a barrier to re-employment.”
David Erickson, VP of Online Marketing at Karwoski and Courage, says that you can also use LinkedIn’s blogging features to “publish your thoughts about issues and trends in your industry and profession. This is especially important if you’ve been out of work for a while because it demonstrates you are staying current. It will also demonstrate your communication skills. These posts have greater reach through the LinkedIn network and with the new analytics capability, you’ll be able to see who has read your content.”
Keep Your Profile Updated
As an extension from the last tip, you should also keep your profile updated. Nothing screams carelessness like an outdated LinkedIn profile.
Every month or so, look over your LinkedIn profile and see if there’s anything you can add or that needs updated, even if you’re not currently looking for a new job — you never know what new opportunities could come your way completely unsolicited.
Expand Your Network
You’re not really using LinkedIn to the fullest if you don’t have many connections, which is why it’s important to expand your network.
Usera says that you should “connect with all former clients, co-workers, and supervisors. The bigger your network, the more 2nd and 3rd degree connections, the more people can see your profile and connect with you. LinkedIn is partially a numbers game.”
Don’t go crazy, though. Use it as if you would with Facebook — don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know personally.
See Who’s Viewed Your Profile
One great feature that LinkedIn has is the ability to see who has viewed your profile. This gives you an idea of the types of people who are interested in your work.
However, this also means that other people can see when you view their profile, so keep that in mind as well.
To see who has viewed your profile, go to your own profile and there will be a section in the right-hand sidebar giving you some basic statistics on how many people have viewed your profile. Click on that for more info.
Directly Email a Connection
LinkedIn doesn’t show a user’s email address unless they manually enter it into their profile. To get past this, there’s a neat trick you can use, which was recommended to us by Sean Gallagher, CEO and founder of Rocket Marketing.
Simply “connect with an influencer at the company you want employment. Then use LinkedIn’s export feature for your connections. The export includes the email address of all your connections. Find the influencer’s email and follow up with a personal message.”
To do this, click on Connections in the navigation bar, then click the gear icon on the right side of the page. On the next page under Advanced Settings, click Export LinkedIn Connections.
Automate Your Job Search
If you’re tired of looking for jobs that you might be interested in, let LinkedIn take care of it for you.
All you have to do is go to LinkedIn and perform a job search. From there, in the upper-right hand corner click Save search. At that point on, you’ll receive any new job listings in your industry delivered to your email inbox.
Use LinkedIn for Research
While LinkedIn may seem like a site where employers find you, you can still use the service to research other companies and figure out which ones you would like to work at.
Erickson says that LinkedIn “is a fantastic research tool. Use the search function to research specific companies for which you want to work. Follow company pages to keep track of what they are posting, including job openings. Find current employees at those companies you might have a connection to. Those connections could lead to an informational interview and that may lead to a job.”
Furthermore, Erickson also suggests that “when you do land an interview, be sure to research the person(s) who will be conducting the interview for any talking points you can use and/or things you may have in common.”
Use the Free Trial to the Premium Membership
Mike Kresch, president at Kresch and Partners, says that you should “take advantage of the free trial to Premium Membership and send out InMails to people that you want to meet.”
InMail is LinkedIn’s own direct messaging feature, and it requires a premium membership to use, but with a free trial, you can use InMail for free, and if you like it enough, you can continue paying for a premium membership. Plus, there are other benefits as well.