How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Job Hunting

March 16, 2017

These days, many managers and others look on LinkedIn as part of the hiring process.  In fact, I’ve seen job listings that just ask for your LinkedIn profile URL rather than having you send in a resume.

Not only can your LinkedIn profile provide you with a ready-made resume to share during your job hunt, but recruiters also use LinkedIn to find suitable candidates for jobs. Even as a freelancer, I get a lot of requests for services via my LinkedIn profile.

If you want to optimize your LinkedIn profile for job hunting, you need to be on top of your game. Here are some of the things you must do to make a good impression.

Complete Each Section

One of the first things to do is complete each section. The more complete your profile, the better off you’ll be. Make sure you have a current position and at least two past positions listed.

Describe your positions and duties using action-oriented words. Also, don’t forget to use common keywords as part of your descriptions. If you know what keywords are common in your industry, they can help others find you more quickly.

Even your title can include a keyword that describes what you do. This can help with search engines as well as in LinkedIn.

Don’t forget about adding projects, if you have items that especially showcase your ability. You can also add publications (a must if you’re looking for an academic job) and there’s a section for awards. You can even add volunteer experience. Filling all these sections in can round you out as a candidate and provide more opportunities for you to shine.

The more complete your profile is, from your summary to the recommendations you have, the more likely you are to be found by hiring professionals.

Choose an Appropriate and Professional Image

There are some job descriptions that allow you to get away with a profile image that is a little edgier. However, for the most part, it’s better to keep it professional.

Have professional headshots taken. Make sure the look and feel of your profile picture match your position and that it conveys competence. Your LinkedIn profile picture should be clear, and you should be easily recognizable. LinkedIn is a professional network. It’s not the place to let your freak flag fly.

Use a Vanity URL

If you can, get a vanity URL for your LinkedIn profile. It’s more professional looking, and it’s easier to share with others. Your name should be part of it. You might be surprised at how much this can help.

Make Sure You Customize Your Web Links

Your LinkedIn profile includes a section that allows you to link out to your web properties. This allows you to send visitors to your blog or professional website so they can see more information.

When you first start, LinkedIn offers generic links labeled “blog” and “website.” You don’t have to let those stand. You can use Your Brand LLC to label the link — and you should. Customizing your link names enhances your branding, and it shows that you have something worth clicking on.

Get Recommendations

You will do better with recommendations. If you can get some of your connections to write you recommendations on LinkedIn, they will show up on your profile. Testimonials are always good for business, whether you are trying to get a job or sell something (and you’re trying to sell yourself).

Change Things Around

Finally, you can move aspects of your profile around by dragging and dropping. This helps you rearrange your profile so the most important information is on top. It’s a good way to highlight the best aspects of your career and industry work.

If you know you are looking for specific types of work, you can even make temporary changes so that you target the job you want.

Bottom Line

LinkedIn is a powerful tool when it comes to job hunting. Do your best to optimize it so that you stand out from the crowd as the perfect candidate for the job.

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