Top Tips for a Winning LinkedIn Profile in 2020
At the time of writing, LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, has almost 600 million users worldwide. With 260 million LinkedIn users logging in each month, and an estimated 40% of those logging in on a daily basis, is it any wonder LinkedIn is recognized as the world’s #1 digital hub for professionals of all stripes?
So, what does that mean for you?
Well, people are using it. Lots and lots of people. According to LinkedIn’s own blog, 61 million of those users are senior level influencers and 40 million of them are decision makers.
Recruiters are using it. According to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016, 87% of recruiters found LinkedIn the most useful social media platform for vetting job candidates during the hiring process.
When it comes to LinkedIn, it’s important to be seen to be on it as much as anything else. So, if you’re not on it or need to spruce up your existing profile, here are some tips to help you do just that.
Investing in a professional profile picture is always a good idea. LinkedIn profiles with photos generally receive 21x more views and have 9 times more connections than those that don’t.
Even if you can’t quite stretch to getting a professional photo taken right now, a simple professional headshot will put you on the right track.
Please do stay away from photos of that night you dressed up and went to a party or wedding reception though! That’s rarely a good look for a professional platform.
You will have an opportunity to customize the headline at the top of the profile. Make sure you take it. Your current job title will be used as a default headline, however you don’t have to just accept that!
Think of your headline as being similar to a meta description of a webpage. In addition to a descriptive title, use keyword rich words in that section to draw recruiters in or words and terms you expect them to search for when looking for a profile likes yours.
This area is often overlooked or under-utilized. This section is vital in communicating your value to the recruiter or prospective employers viewing your profile.
If you allow a recruiter the opportunity to simply scroll from your profile photo to your work experience without any friction in between where you’re selling in your skills, you’re giving the power to make snap decisions on your suitability for their role based on a cursory glance of your work history. Why give them all the power?
I think you should be using your summary section to pitch up the talking points you want them to know about you before they arrive at your work experience. Sell them on your unique value proposition in this section and you’ll help shape their perception of you.
Your profile should be keyword optimized. Everything from the header on down and in particular, the skills section of the profile. Make sure you take the time to program this section with the keywords you would expect a prospective employer to search on.
Think about it this way. If you were a recruiter looking for someone like you, which search terms would you use to locate suitable talent? Also, take a look at job descriptions for relevant roles to help give you an idea of additional terms that may be desire by these employers or recruiters.
Ok, so now you know which terms you’re working with, make sure you maximize the use of all available sections within the profile itself. You should be using keyword optimized content in your headline, summary section, across all job descriptions windows (including job title window), and of course all 50 slots in the skills section.
By optimizing the profile in this way, you’ll increase the chances of your profile being found when employers or recruiters plug in the search terms they use to find people just like you!
Skills & Endorsements
According to LinkedIn, users with 5 or more skills listed are contacted up to 33 times more by recruiters and other LinkedIn members with their profiles generating up to 17 times more profile views. In addition, it seems that LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes profiles that have more endorsed skills than profiles without as many endorsements.
So, wherever possible seek out opportunities to secure endorsements for your listed skills and you’ll drive more traffic to your page.
Even better, try to procure high quality recommendations. If you secure a recommendation it will appear on your profile and I consider those to be more valuable than endorsements as the person giving them has taken the time to write it and is willfully putting their reputation on the line to support you.
Connections: Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to your Connections, quality over quantity is a safe rule to adhere to. Build strategic connections with people you’re working with or have worked with in the past who could vouch for and possibly endorse the skills listed in your profile. If they know you quite well, consider asking them to write a recommendation for you which will appear on your profile.
You could also consider strategically connecting with potential clients or people in positions of hiring authority at companies you would consider working for.
Building Your Personal Brand
You can also use LinkedIn to build or promote your personal brand. One of the ways in which you could take advantage of the LinkedIn platform to do this is by publishing blogs and making use of the SlideShare function which is described as “a hosting service for professional content including presentations, infographics, documents, and videos.”
By writing and publishing quality content on the LinkedIn platform, you have an opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise which in turn increases your standing, drives more traffic to your page, and helps build your credibility amongst a new audience.
LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to create and join groups which could be another opportunity for you to connect with peers and influencers in your industry.
By participating in the Q&A sessions conducted by some of these groups, you can again showcase your expertise amongst a targeted audience to help establish yourself as an expert in your area.
How would you like to connect directly with the person you need to engage? Well, with the messaging system LinkedIn have you can.
Rather than run the risk that a speculative email you send to a prospective client is diverted into a spam folder by an overzealous spam filter, you can use the LinkedIn messaging platform to reach out directly to your preferred contact.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they’ll engage with you, but at least you’ll know the message was delivered!
Build a Multimedia Portfolio
Depending on your profession, you may be advised to take advantage of features that allow you to effectively build a multimedia portfolio where you can upload or link to videos, photos, or other project materials.
Don’t Do This
If you’re currently not working, whatever you do – do not put “seeking new opportunities” in your headline or in the most recent employment slot. Generally speaking it’s not a good look and it doesn’t help sell your skills or in any other way improve the perception an employer will have of you.
In the absence of a current job, keep your headline title stacked with keywords, but use the employer slot to showcase volunteer work or education that you’ve undertaken while you’ve not been working.