For the last 20 years, LinkedIn has been the virtual hub for professional networking, job seeking and hiring. For young professionals especially, LinkedIn has become a useful and necessary tool. In many cases, a LinkedIn profile has become a regular piece of the hiring puzzle, right along side the resume and cover letter.

But when it comes to updating, optimizing, and being active on LinkedIn, many professionals tend to put it off. That is until it comes time to finding a new job. When you neglect your LinkedIn profile, you could be missing out on key connections, important information, and even job opportunities.

Maybe people are too shy, don’t have the time, or don’t want to talk about themselves. Whatever the reason, many professional fails to treat LinkedIn like the personal branding tool that it is. In this article, we’ll break down 7 tips for optimizing your LinkedIn progoing file in order to boost your personal brand and get the most out of this highly valuable tool.

 

Put some thought into your headline

man hard at work

Your headline displays right under your profile picture, making it one of the first things people see on your LinkedIn page. This is highly valuable real estate. Don’t waste it by leaving it blank or writing something bland.

This space is a great opportunity to share what your company or role looks like. You can pack it with keywords related to your industry, which could make finding your profile easier. You could also take a different route and write something quirky that showcases your personality.

 

Present your best self in your photo

Your profile picture is by far one of the most valuable pieces of your LinkedIn profile. We rely on these photos to connect names, skills and experience to faces. The rest of your profile might be immemorable, but people are pretty good at remembering faces.

The worst thing you can do with your photo is leave it blank. If you’re going for a mysterious and edgy look with the empty photo placeholder, you’re succeeding. And when it comes to professional networking and job seeking, that rarely works. Even worse, a blank photo may give people the indication that your page is either fake or inactive.

If you can, get a professional headshot done. But if not, a clear, high quality picture of your smiling face is great. The most important thing is that people can see and recognize you. After that, make sure you’re looking like your best self by dressing for the occasion.

 

Don’t neglect the background photo

You background photo is the large space the occupies the entire width of the top of your LinkedIn profile. While it’s certainly not as important as your profile photo, this is another space you don’t want to leave blank. A blank background photo just makes the profile look incomplete.

Instead, use this area to spice up your profile, show your personally, or match your company branding. Some people will use this space for another photo of them in action, making giving a talk or engaging with colleagues. Others will use it to promote their book or a favourite quote of theirs. Some will showcase their city in some way. If you don’t know where to start, it never hurts to throw up a branded header image that highlights your company.

 

Invest in your summary

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Your personal summary is another hugely valuable piece of LinkedIn profile real estate. The summary offers you 2,600 words to tell your network who you are and what your story is. Because there is separate space for your skills and experience, it isn’t necessary to elaborate on these too much in the summary. But it doesn’t hurt to highlight why those skills and experience make you valuable and easy to work with.

When writing your summary, try your best to avoid buzzwords and jargon. When you’re trying to stand out and make your profile memorable, buzzwords are the enemy. Delete that boilerplate and start from scratch.

 

Grow your network

social network graphics

Along with being a personal branding tool, LinkedIn is also a social network. Whether you enjoy being social online or not, it’s important to grow your LinkedIn network. A decent-sized network will show people that you’re engaged and connected with people in your industry. Start with the people you work with and went to school with, then branch off from there.

When inviting people to connect, there’s a big opportunity that’s often left on the table. Your invitation request can be customized. Don’t pass up on this. Delete that boilerplate connection invitation and write your own message. If you can, include something relevant to the person, their role or company.

 

Get active

Another way to optimize your LinkedIn profile and showcase your passion, experience and curiosity is to be active. That means writing posts, asking questions, commenting on others’ posts, sharing posts, commenting on articles and more. For many people this is the hardest part. Which makes sense, because you really have to put yourself out there.

Frequently posting is the best way to remain top of mind on LinkedIn. The more people see your profile and your activity in the feed, the more they’ll be thinking about you. And when you’re looking for a job or to grow your network, this is invaluable.

 

Dig for endorsements

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An often-overlooked aspect of LinkedIn is the endorsements section. Here, you have the ability to highlight some of your glowing reviews. People will share what you’re like to work with, how effective you are at your job, and what you’re like as a person. Obviously, this goes a long way when looking for a job, as these endorsements can be treated like references.

Requesting endorsements can be difficult from busy individuals, so the best way to get the ball rolling is to leave an endorsement of your own. Make sure it’s good, and maybe they’ll leave you one in return!

 

Since 2008, STRIVE Recruitment has been helping job-seekers find the role of their dreams within accounting & finance, manufacturing & operations and corporate administration. Browse our job board or connect with our recruitment team.

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