LinkedIn can be a very effective platform for finding flexible jobs, networking, and promoting yourself. But with half a billion active profiles on the site, it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd. To connect with the right people, it’s important to have a polished and professional LinkedIn profile. Luckily, making a few small improvements can have a big impact. These tips will help you boost your profile and be found by the right people.
1. Use professional photos (and add a personalized background photo)LinkedIn profiles that have a photo are far more likely to be viewed than profiles without photos. LinkedIn is a professional network, so it’s important to use a recent picture of yourself in professional attire, preferably a headshot. It shouldn’t look like it belongs on other social media, and it shouldn’t have anyone else in it. If you don’t have a professional headshot, you can stage your own photo shoot with only a smartphone and a helpful friend. First, find a spot with ample natural lighting and a simple background like a brick wall — avoiding visual clutter like lamp posts and having anyone else in the frame. Make sure your camera is set to take high-resolution photos, and then take lots of pictures, adjusting the angle of your face and body, and playing around with different facial expressions. Select the one that looks the most warm, approachable, and professional. Your background photo is at the top of your profile — after your profile photo, it’s the first thing a recruiter or potential employer will see. The LinkedIn default image is alright, but adding a background photo can help your page stand out, and show more of what matters to you. Many professionals use photos of landscapes or cityscapes, logos of the companies they work for, and more. Look at other profiles if you need some inspiration — and explore free stock photos to find something that works for you.
2. Make your headline more than just your job titleIf you want to signal to potential recruiters that you’re looking for a new opportunity, a descriptive headline a great way to get their attention. Use this space to talk about your skills and what kind of opportunities you’re seeking.
Examples: Digital Marketer with Broad SEM Experience, Currently Seeking New Opportunities Linguist With Passion for Puzzle-Solving and Pattern Recognition Seeking Opportunities in TechnologyAlternatively, if you’re not looking for a new job, use the headline to describe your current role and why you do what you do — and especially, what value you bring to your employer and clients. If you need some ideas, look at other people’s profiles, especially those who work in your field.