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Just as you shouldn’t leave your resume outdated until the minute you need it, you shouldn’t neglect your LinkedIn profile until you’re actively seeking a job. Work to keep your profile updated and on-point so that you can use it to connect with others, build your credibility, and so that it’s always in tip-top shape for when new opportunities come along.
We’ve collected 25 tips to help you keep your LinkedIn Profile in good shape. Use these as a guide to overhaul your profile now, and then create a maintenance checklist that you can do monthly.
- Use the custom URL
LinkedIn lets you add a custom URL to your profile. You should definitely take advantage of this. The custom URL should ideally be your name (i.e. LinkedIn.com/yourname) so it’s easy for you to share.
To change your URL, follow these steps:
Log in to your LinkedIn profile, and click the arrow by “me” in the upper right-hand corner (under your picture).
In the dropdown list, select “View Profile”
On the right of the screen, scroll until you see “Contact and Personal Info” section
Select the pencil to edit this section.
In the pop-up menu that appears, click the blue arrow next to “Profile URL”
This opens a new window title “Public Profile Settings”
The right column has an option that says “Edit public profile URL” and select the pencil
Type in your desired URL and click “save”
- Use a professional profile photo
Don’t use a picture of you at a party, or in poor lighting, or in a crowd of people. Your profile photo should be just you in a well-lit area, with professional attire (appropriate for your field). Make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is a good-quality, professional photo of just you. Click To Tweet
- Use the summary space to your advantage
Don’t skip the summary space of your site. Use it to introduce people to you, your skills, your goals, and your experiences. Don’t just copy-paste from your resume. Get creative here and showcase your personality.
- Avoid buzzwords and jargon
While your profile should be professional and well-written, you should absolutely avoid buzzwords and jargon. Your profile should be engaging and informative but should showcase your personality and expertise, without boring or confusing your audience.
- Show your achievements
Did you complete a continuing education course? Did you win an award? Make sure to showcase that on your profile. It’s not a #humblebrag. It’s just good job-seeking.
- Use the profile as a living portfolio
Add projects, jobs, and publications to your profile as you complete them (make sure to follow company guidelines for this). Instead of scrambling to show all of the projects you completed at your last job when you’re looking for a new one, keep your profile updated as things happen.
You can add projects (and team members), publications, achievements, and awards. All of these things work in conjunction with the resume-like job history that you keep on LinkedIn, and will enhance your profile and hire-ability, and show (rather than tell) your expertise.
- Ask your co-workers to recommend you
Try to ask for at least 1 or 2 recommendations a month. If your boss likes your project, or someone on your team says it was great working with you, ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn. You should tell them what skills you want them to recommend you for, and offer to do so in return. Ask for at least one LinkedIn recommendation per month, and try to give one per month as well. #jobtipClick To Tweet
- Publish articles on LinkedIn
You can and should publish articles (or blog posts) on LinkedIn that will be connected to your profile. Make sure you’re publishing quality articles related to your field. They can be in regards to new developments, industry trends, best practices, or whatever is pertinent. This is a great way to show that you know what you’re talking about, and to reach new people. And, do this frequently–at least once a month.
- Update your status
DO NOT use LinkedIn like Facebook. It’s not the place for a political rant or a picture of you partying on the weekend. However, you should use the status updates to share articles (written by you or others), share professional updates, share tips, or share resources. It’s a great way to show that you’re keeping up with your industry and that you’re invested in your career.
- Join relevant groups
Joining groups is a great way to connect with people in your industry, learn new things, grow your career, and stay up to date. Make sure you participate in the groups, instead of just lurking, and you’ll build real relationships and learn a lot. Make use of LinkedIn groups to learn new things, meet like-minded professionals, and grow your credibility Click To Tweet
- Adjust your privacy settings
You can adjust your settings to make sure your boss can’t see that you’re job hunting.
Here’s a helpful article from LinkedIn that lists all of the privacy settings you should consider when job hunting.
- Create a monthly maintenance list
Make a list of tasks you need to do weekly/monthly on LinkedIn, and put it into your schedule as a non-negotiable. LinkedIn can be easy to overlook, so make sure you’re setting aside the time to do it. Here are our suggestions for LinkedIn maintenance:
– Respond to requests/messages
– Send a couple of requests/messages
– Share a status update
– Interact with a few other status updates (thoughtful comments, “likes”, “shares”, etc.)
– Request recommendations from others
– Recommend a couple of others
– Add any newly completed projects, publications, multimedia, etc.
– Publish an article
– Add any achievements or awards
– Add any volunteer experience
- Write a good headline
Your headline doesn’t have to be your current job title and company. If you’re job hunting, your headline should be the perfect description of what you do. It’s a good idea to use keywords that recruiters would search for. Don’t get too cutesy or vague, or you’ll just confuse people and they’ll move on.
Here’s an example: instead of “master wordsmith at self-employed” use “freelance technical writer for the aerospace industry”.
- Quantify when you can
Just as you would in your resume, make sure you quantify on your profile whenever you can. Instead of “managed numerous web design projects” say, “managed a team of 12 designers and developers on 27 web projects over 6 months.” Don't forget to quantify on your LinkedIn profile whenever you can (just like you do on a resume). Click To Tweet
- Use first-person
Don’t speak about yourself in the third person. Your profile shouldn’t say, “John Smith is an accomplished developer…”. Instead, “I am an accomplished web developer…”. Use past-tense for jobs you held previously, and present-tense for your summary, headline, and current job.
- Don’t be stuffy
Don’t be too buttoned-up or stuffy in your profile. You should let some of your personality shine through. You can be casual and a little less formal, depending on your personal preferences and your industry. But, you should always show who you really are when you can.
- Add multimedia to your summary
You can add pictures, videos, slideshows, and other files to your summary section. This is a great place to show some of your projects, achievements, and personality, so make sure to use it to your advantage. People love multimedia.
- Don’t forget to add languages, volunteer experience, & causes
There’s a section (usually hidden at the bottom of user profiles) that houses languages you speak, your volunteer experiences, and causes you care about. Make sure you fill these sections out, because they make you a more well-rounded person, and it never hurts to be bilingual.
- Endorsements can be handy, but don’t over do it
You can “endorse” others for skills (different from a recommendation), and you can be endorsed. These can be helpful to showcase your relevant skills (and show that other people think you have this skill, too) but don’t overwhelm or confuse visitors to your profile by showing too many (or outdated) skills. Be careful to just choose the skills that are most relevant to your job position, or desired position. You can control which endorsements show on your profile and which don’t.
- Regularly add new connections
Don’t let your profile stagnate at 20 or 30 connections. This doesn’t look good to recruiters and makes it much more difficult for you to utilize your network when you need to (like for new job opportunities or collaborations).
LinkedIn is a place where you’re supposed to add people that you know, somehow, in real life. If you want to connect with someone you haven’t met yet, use your existing network to find a mutual connection, and ask the mutual friend to introduce you.
Remember, you should be maintaining your profile on a regular basis. However, this is a good list to go through when you’re job seeking to make sure that your profile is where it needs to be. Don’t underestimate the power of a good profile; recruiters use LinkedIn all of the time to find people for their company. Your dream company could reach out to you and hire you… if your profile is ready for it.
Do you have any other expert tips you’d add to this list? Anything you did as a job seeker to improve your profile? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m Morgan, the copywriter and content strategist for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to position themselves as industry experts. I live in the Northwest and enjoy 90’s alternative music, Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter, and drinking too much coffee. Learn more about me and the services I provide by visiting my website.