Maximize Your LinkedIn Presence

LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful networking tool for business professionals. However, like any tool, it won’t do the work for you. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Follow these tips to optimize your profile and stand out on this networking platform.

Don't copy and paste your entire resume

Your profile fields can cover your last 20 years of experience, but don’t give in to the temptation to cover every detail of your entire work history. That's what your résumé is for.

Draw attention to your accomplishments

Instead of just listing your employment history, highlight what you've accomplished — and quantify whenever possible.

Write about yourself in the first person

More than ever, business contacts and potential employers are looking for authenticity. Fill out your About section in the first person to engage your reader and show some personality. Make them feel as if you were conversing with them for a more authentic connection.

Take the time to include a recent photograph

You would be amazed how many LinkedIn profiles fail to include a photo. This simple addition shows you took the time to update your profile and know how to present yourself — and attention to details like this can help position you in a better light. Make sure, however, that your photo matches the actual person someone would meet in an interview.

Add a customized background

Not only does this add some color and pizzazz to your page, it also shows that you’re savvy enough to know about the finer features of LinkedIn. It’s also an opportunity to “brand” yourself. Choose your image carefully and make sure you format it correctly, so it’s not stretched or pixelated. Lastly, beware copyright infringement. Grabbing and using an image from an internet search can get you into legal trouble if someone else owns the rights to it!

Write a strong headline

What are the skills and traits that potential employers may be searching for that you possess? Use these as keywords in your headline to help your profile appear in more searches. Just make sure it reads naturally. Jamming in keywords, purely for the sake of search results, can easily backfire.

End your About section with a call to action

You don’t want people to casually browse your profile and stop there. Give visitors a clear path toward the step you’d like them to take next. For example, use the About section to list your contact information and invite a potential employer to email you. Because the ‘See Contact Info’ option is not viewable for people who are not already connected with you, this is a great way to give recruiters or potential employers the ability to contact you directly.

Proofread your profile with fresh eyes

After you're done crafting and fine-tuning your LinkedIn profile, take a break from it overnight. Then, you can look over it again the next day with a fresh perspective. If and when you're satisfied, share it with a trusted friend for a second set of eyes before posting. Above all, make sure you finalize your Summary before you start connecting with others — as this is one of the first sections people see on your profile!

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