Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

By Emily Seamone

Congratulations! You are on LinkedIn and have something that resembles a profile. Your next step is to optimize your profile so that you will be more likely to be found by others and approached for career and networking opportunities. Your profile serves as your online resume or CV, speaking for your experience, skills, knowledge, and talents. By branding yourself well, you can make sure your profile is positioned to be picked up by keyword searches conducted by employers and recruiters. In other words, you will be more likely to be found, recruited, and hired!

Tips for optimizing your profile

Complete every section of your profile

By completing every section of your profile, you can make yourself more likely to be found and contacted by others. This includes uploading a professional photo to serve as your profile picture.

Optimize for keyword searches

The more keywords you include in your profile, the more likely you are to be found. Spend some time researching the keywords for your industry and role and incorporate them throughout your profile. To identify keywords, try finding 10 job listings for your targeted role and reviewing them for common themes. LinkedIn’s secret search algorithms especially favor keywords in the headline, summary, experience, and skills and expertise sections.

Perfect the top section of your profile

Make sure the top section of your profile with your photo and headline is in near perfect form, as this is often the only information individuals see in search results (until they click on your entry). Customize your URL with your name and add links to your website, if you have one. Also, include at least an email in your contact information so that you can easily be reached.

Create a strategic headline

The headline is one place where keywords are absolutely essential. Thus you want to create not only a catchy headline, but one that searches will pick up. One strategy is to incorporate multiple titles, keywords, and descriptions.

Spend time on your summary section

Some experts state that the summary is the most important section of the entire LinkedIn profile. Think of this area as an expansion of your headline, and a place to delve into who you are as a professional. A few best practices for writing a summary statement include: keep it easy to read, write short paragraphs, organize with headlines and bullet points, summarize (do not include your entire career history), and incorporate keywords. Be sure to include links to various forms of media (e.g., articles, websites, presentations) to add a visual, portfolio-like element to your profile. See this article for suggestions of what to include.

Add information to the experience section

The Experience section is the place to list your professional work. This is another area to fill with rich keywords. Format each entry like you would on a resume with bullet points highlighting action verbs and incorporating results. Finally, you can add media links to each job to show off your best work.

Include your educational background

In the Education section, include all of your educational degrees as well as continuing education and trainings. You can use the text box to describe your studies in more detail, which also gives you the opportunity to once again incorporate important keywords. Finally, you can add media links to these entries to highlight relevant school-related work.

Add to the Skills and Endorsements section

Skills act as keywords, while receiving endorsements from your connections can help build your profile’s credibility, proving that you really are an expert. If someone endorses you, be sure to return the favor! This can help strengthen your professional relationships.

Don’t forget that you can add other profile sections

You can add additional sections to your profile, such as Volunteer Experience, Accomplishments, or Licenses & Certifications. The more information you include in your profile the better!

Link to different forms of media

As mentioned in the points above, be sure to add links to photos, presentations, projects, documents, and articles. Media elements elevate your profile and make it more visually appealing. They can also be used to provide strong examples of your work. Be sure to only choose media that helps support your brand.