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.

Complete your profile

It’s simple, but effective. According to LinkedIn data, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to get job opportunities on the platform. 

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:

1. Profile Picture

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:

  • Be consistent with your name. Sync it with your business cards, email address and other professional communications.
    • If you’ve changed your name recently, consider including your former or maiden name on your profile, at least for six to 12 months, to make sure contacts can still find you, and avoid missing any opportunities.
  • Use your actual job title in the job title section under your name (your “headline”), rather than a description of your services.
  • Provide your contact details, at least your email address, so potential recruiters and new clients can reach out. This can be done by editing the Contact info section of your profile.

2. Experience

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.

  • If you’re a contractor, don’t list your limited company as the only business you work at (with a list of clients within the entry). Wherever you can, include the linked client business name and the title you had there as separate entries because it’s more impactful, and recruiters will search for people with titles in specific industries.

3. Skills

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.

  • Recommendations: You can request a written recommendation from a contact on LinkedIn by following a few easy steps – it’s essentially like including a reference right there on your page. Pick who you ask wisely, choosing those you’ve worked with closely and who are likely to respond positively and provide a meaningful assessment of your work.
    • When sending out requests, bear in mind that the date they’re provided will be shown along with the recommendation. Don’t send your requests out in a concentrated burst – you won’t be able to control when or if your contacts respond, but the chances of them responding over a short period of time (and therefore appearing solicited, and not genuine) will be lessened.
    • Include a personalised message – polite and friendly in tone, with a callback to work you’ve done together and enjoyed – to accompany the request. You can also ask them to make reference to certain skills you displayed, should they be willing.
  • Endorsements: These are much simpler to build on, as they just require a one-click investment from your connections (see more here), rather than requesting a whole written recommendation. The skills you add and get endorsed also provide great opportunities for being discovered by keyword searches.
    • Many of your close contacts will endorse you if they’re engaged with the platform (as you should also do), but remember you can always reach out and ask for endorsements as well.

4. About

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.

5. Industry and Location

If you’re happy to work anywhere in the UK, set this as your location so you come up in more searches.

6. Education

Showcase your knowledge and achievements, and help build and strengthen your network in the process.

7. Connections

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.

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Customise your default settings

To make sure your LinkedIn serves you, make sure to adjust the default LinkedIn settings to suit your needs, particularly the visibility settings. Visit profile settings to see what’s visible to the public and then toggle certain sections on and off. There are also further amends you can make here.

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.

 

Build your brand

At its most basic, your online brand is your online personality. It’s how you appear to recruiters, companies, colleagues and professional acquaintances. On LinkedIn, you can communicate this effectively through visuals and text. It is a self-publishing platform, after all.

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.

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Develop a network

Connection is a great part of being on LinkedIn, so be strategic and make use of it. The LinkedIn Recruiter tool also lets recruiters actively search for candidates who have interacted with their company brand in the past. Help yourself stand out by doing just that. Follow companies on LinkedIn that interest you and engage with the content they post and share. This kind of signal does get noticed.

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.

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Help recruiters find you

You’ve laid strong foundations on LinkedIn that are sure to signal your credibility and active engagement, including optimising your LinkedIn profile and developing your brand and your network. Now what?

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.

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Help recruiters contact you

If recruiters like what they see, one of the ways they will reach out is via LinkedIn InMail.

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”.

Take a skill quiz

If a particular job listing has a Desired Skill, some recruiters may use the LinkedIn Skill Assessment as a way to gauge candidate viability. You can get out ahead of this, and signal your proven skills to recruiters more generally, by taking a multiple choice quiz in your chosen skill area. It will help you stand out, and LinkedIn data suggests that candidates who earn a skill badge are 20% more likely to get hired.

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.

Keep your profile up to date

It’s all well and good to do the work and get your profile optimised, but you need to stay on top of it. Add skills and achievements as you acquire them and make sure your employment history is up to date. You are more likely to be discovered in searches if you do.

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.

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Start getting the most out of your professional network today and connect with us on LinkedIn. You can follow BIE Executive on Linkedin here.

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