Featuring BIE’s top insider tips, our guide will show you how to get noticed on LinkedIn by enhancing your public profile, showcasing your professional brand and developing a network.
Essentially, a complete profile ranks you as an “All Star” on LinkedIn, ensuring you appear in search results; vital if you want to be found by recruiters. To be ranked as an All Star, there are seven sections to complete. We’ve included top tips from our insiders for each one:
It doesn’t need to be a professional headshot, but it can be a chance to show off some personality – professionally, of course (400 x 400 pixels minimum). Think: smiling and relaxed, with a neutral (or industry appropriate) background.
Name, headline and contact info:
Try to include the same level of detail of experience on your LinkedIn as you would on your CV, provided you’re not breaking any confidentiality rules agreed with your clients. Key achievements need to be included with some searchable keywords.
While it’s advisable to include a maximum of 15 years of experience on your CV, this is not the case on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to add as much experience as you have. As a digital platform, viewers can simply stop scrolling down the list past a certain point, but the more experience you add, the more keywords your profile will generate.
Try to get as many recommendations and endorsements as possible from your colleagues and managers – and give them in return to build and strengthen your network. They add credibility to your profile and build trust. The more you add, the more likely you are to get messaged by recruiters.
This is where you can expand on what you do and who you are, building on the groundwork you laid with your headline. Avoid jargon and use keywords to describe what you do – it’s advisable to research and use keywords associated with your industry and role to get maximum visibility. Be sure to emphasise your strengths and specialties, and showcase your abilities and your style.
If you’re happy to work anywhere in the UK, set this as your location so you come up in more searches.
Showcase your knowledge and achievements, and help build and strengthen your network in the process.
Be proactive! Share interesting articles that are relevant to your field of work, comment on others and use this as a networking tool to build new working relationships.
Additionally, you can control who sees your connections list (the default setting lets all your direct connections see it). While having access to these lists is vital in building a network, many suggest that it’s best to restrict the visibility of yours, particularly if client confidentiality is a concern.
A background image (ideally 1584 x 396 pixels) is a good place to show what you’re all about. Try and find an image that in some way reflects your industry, interests, achievements or style. Remember that cover pictures often get cropped differently on various platforms, so check yours on both mobile and desktop before calling it a day.
Consider creating a custom URL to send the right branding message. Use your name or a combination of your name and role, should your name already be taken. This small change can make a big difference, making your profile appear more professional and making you easier to find. It’s a smart addition to your CV or email signature as well.
You can also enhance your profile dramatically by taking advantage of the “About” section. As outlined above, this is your chance to summarise who you are, what you’ve done and what you want. A conversational first-person approach – that utilises keywords – can be effective. Also consider including links to other sites to illustrate your brand, such as a link to your website, your published articles on other sites or your social media handles, should they be business appropriate.
Just remember to check and recheck for spelling and grammar, whether you’re updating your profile or posting an update. Such mistakes are small in the big scheme of things, but they can damage the credibility you’re trying to develop.
Once your profile is where you want to be, embrace the content-sharing opportunities the site offers. Repost articles of interest, share your ideas or showcase your professional expertise in long-form posts and discuss relevant trends or industry news. You can even write articles on LinkedIn. In essence: get yourself out there. Let people know who you are.
Be sure to showcase your opinions and actually add value with your activity wherever possible, however, as this will help build your network more effectively. So engage with content that speaks to your values and objectives. Join groups and learn from people. Extend your reach.
If there are specific connections you want to make, send the person a “connect” request, which they will need to approve. Otherwise, follow them for updates. Remember that you don’t need to engage with everything – quality is important here. Think of the people who will see your activity and judge for yourself whether it will help your online brand.
And look at job listings to see which businesses are hiring and read articles to find relevant people to follow. You can also follow recruiters on LinkedIn who specialise in the roles you’re hoping to find, for example. The jobs they’re advertising will be on the jobs landing page on their profile, and you may also see new roles coming up on their feed.
It’s time to maximise your potential and bring yourself to the attention of recruiters – almost three-quarters of which either use or plan to use LinkedIn when hiring, according to Jobvite.
One easy way to get the attention of recruiters is to signal that you’re open to work. Recruiters using the LinkedIn Recruiter hiring platform can access the whole LinkedIn network, and then specifically refine their search to focus on candidates who are open to work (among 40+ other filters, including job titles and keywords surrounding everything from years of experience to location). So if you’re available, even if just casually, selecting this setting will make sure you appear in more searches and get more direct approaches.
At the top of your profile, there’s an “Open to” button. Click on it and you’ll be shown a pop-up window in which you can tailor the job titles, locations, workplaces, job types and start dates that you’re open to. Be honest and give an accurate picture of what you’re looking for here. And, as mentioned, do the research to explore the relevant keywords for the roles and industries that you’re interested in to make this section work for you. You can also signal that you’re open to work publicly by adding it to your photo or tagline.
Crucially, you can also limit who sees you’re “open” on this Job Preferences pop-up. To quietly signal your availability, you can restrict the sharing of this information to recruiters. Bear in mind, however, that this isn’t a guarantee that your current employer won’t see it. This information is designed to be sent to LinkedIn Recruiter accounts that aren’t affiliated with your company, but depending on the kind of presence your company has on the platform, it may get through. If this isn’t a concern, you can make the information visible for the whole LinkedIn community. Once you’re happy, the “Add to profile” button at the bottom will save your changes.
Allowing the sending of messages, without using your private contact information, this feature is an important tool for making connections. Be sure to enable it in your LinkedIn account settings under “Communications”.
If you score in the top 30% (against a set benchmark), you’ll earn the badge, which will then be pinned to your profile and visible to recruiters. They won’t see your exact score – just that you’re rated.
On the topic of skills, make sure you take advantage of the skills list on your profile – you can add up to 50. It’s worth taking the time to make this section comprehensive as recruiters can use LinkedIn Recruiter to search for specific hard skills and find the right candidates to approach.
You should also frequently assess who you are following; don’t be afraid to unfollow a person or company that is no longer relevant for you.
And remember that you don’t have to wait for recruiters to find you. You can also get the ball rolling by responding directly to job listings, making industry-relevant connections and sending direct messages.