By Benton McTaggart
Director, Career Success Services
Meritize

LinkedIn is a valuable platform to grow and manage your career. If used correctly, LinkedIn can play a part in helping you fast-track your job search. In fact, more than one out of every three Americans are on LinkedIn. This is great news for job seekers because you have a greater chance of getting connected to recruiters and hiring managers.

However, before you get connected to decision makers and recruiters who can help move your career forward, it’s important to craft a strong and engaging LinkedIn profile.

Here are our top seven tips to craft a standout LinkedIn profile:

  1. Write a clear and specific headline
    Your headline is one of the first things people see when they visit your profile. Use this real-estate wisely to offer specific and captivating insight about what you do. Showcase your specialty, speak directly to your target audience, and include relevant keywords to help your profile get noticed faster by LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
  2. Choose the right headshot
    Having a photo on LinkedIn makes your profile 14 times more likely to be found. Include an up-to-date headshot of you. Dress for the job you want and in a way that is consistent with your industry. Photo size should be 500px X 500px. Ensure the image of you is clear with adequate lighting and wear a color that stands out from your background.

    Presence in the image matters – smile genuinely and ensure that your face, shoulders and head are in the center of the photo and take up at least 80 percent of the image. Get feedback on your LinkedIn headshots from other professionals by using photofeeler.

  3. Write a compelling summary
    The LinkedIn summary is a key piece of real estate for priming your audience about your personal brand value. Talk about the value you add in your field and how you deliver that value uniquely. Use the 80/20 rule in writing your summary in which about 80 percent of the content is focused on your background, credentials and skills. The other 20 percent is on strategic content that adds color and chemistry to your profile such as unique values, specific interests and interesting facts about you.
  4. Show evidence about your value and skillsets
    Be deliberate about sharing projects, experiences and testimonials to your LinkedIn profile that substantiate your personal brand. Incorporate details on accomplishments, including promotions, in the experience section of your profile. Ask former managers and colleagues to write testimonials about you detailing specified skillsets and expertise for which you want to be known.
  5. Complete all sections on your LinkedIn profile
    The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the higher your chances of being found. Add certifications, test scores, education and awards to boost your credibility. Differentiate your profile by adding languages you speak, special projects you have worked on and any global skillsets you might have.
  6. Include keywords and rich content to optimize your profile
    Pepper your profile with industry-relevant keywords in sections such as your headline, summary, experience and skills, and endorsement. Use this site to start shortlisting and adding relevant industry keywords to your profile. In addition, use rich content including blogs with your own voice, curated articles and videos that profile your expertise. The idea is to ensure that recruiters can find you quickly when they search the LinkedIn platform for candidates like you.
  7. Nurture your LinkedIn network
    Spend time nurturing your network on LinkedIn. Share useful content that your network would value, engage connections one-and-one, and participate in groups with other like-minded professionals. The goal is to build social capital within your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn is a valuable channel to develop and maintain your personal brand. Recruiters also use LinkedIn heavily to find top talent, so ensure that your profile has relevant keywords; you have a compelling headline and summary; and you choose the right headshot to attract these recruiters and decision makers to your profile.