LinkedIn is a powerful tool for job seekers to connect with hiring managers, network with other industry professionals, and find their next career opportunity. There's just one problem: To stand out on LinkedIn, you'll need to break through the digital noise. And there's a lot of it.
In today's job market, the candidate pool isn't geographically limited like it used to be. An increasing number of companies offer work-from-home options, and job seekers are more willing to relocate for a career opportunity. This means that hiring managers are utilizing the digital space to cast a wider net to find prospective candidates. As expected, where the hiring managers are, the candidates flock. Take a fast-growing professional networking site, add a pandemic-hit job market to the mix, and you've got a site saturated with hungry job seekers.
If you want to get in front of hiring managers and stand out from other candidates, you'll need to step your digital game up. Audit and optimize your LinkedIn profile to ensure your online presence stands out. Take a look at our 7 steps to improve your LinkedIn profile and get noticed by hiring managers.
1. Ensure Your Info is Current
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by how many job seekers leave out important and relevant information off of their profiles. Ensure the job duties and descriptions for each position held are updated, including your most recent role.
Check your "About" section, and don't leave it blank. Located toward the top of your profile, it’s prime real estate. Use it as an introductory tool so your viewers can get to know you better.
Take a look at your "Contact Info" section and make sure your information is current, especially your email address. If it’s outdated, hiring managers will have no way to reach you outside of LinkedIn.
If you're still using the same email address from middle school, comprised of numbers and your childhood nickname, consider upgrading to something more professional. Create an address that can easily be attributed to you and is simple to remember, like your first and last name. Avoid unnecessary numbers and choose a domain that's recognizable and current such as Gmail. Keep in mind that your email address is a part of your professional identity.
2. Expand on Your Resume
Although your profile should not be too lengthy (your goal is to keep a hiring managers' attention), it's a great spot to post important secondary information that you left out of your resume.
A resume should highlight your core competencies, experience, and accomplishments as they relate to the job you're applying. Utilize LinkedIn to expand on your resume or include information you may have left out due to space or relevancy. You can showcase volunteer experience or hobbies that say a lot about you as a person.
3. Choose a Professional URL
Just as choosing a professional email address is important, the same is true for your LinkedIn URL. Go ahead and edit your URL through the LinkedIn settings. Create a unique URL that is easy to remember and refined. Consider using your first and last name (or a variation) if it’s available.
Side note: It’s a good rule of thumb to include your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume so hiring managers can easily connect with you and check out your professional social media presence. If you plan to include the written URL on your resume, make sure it looks polished.
4. Use a Professional Photo and Header Image
Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your personal brand. It's wise to put some effort into the way it looks. When it comes to your profile picture, dress professionally, and select a well-lit area. Choose a headshot that frames you from the shoulders up.
Although choosing a professional headshot for LinkedIn may seem obvious, don’t neglect the importance of the banner image, too. As a focal point of your profile, it’s an ideal spot to visually showcase your personality and goals. Steer clear of LinkedIn's default options and get creative by choosing your own.
The key is to keep it professional. Consider choosing a header image related to your profession. If you're in the IT industry, for example, you might select high-tech imagery. If you're looking for a career in a particular location, consider choosing a header image with that city's skyline. Are you a photographer or a graphic designer? Consider creating a banner image using your skills. Your LinkedIn header should support your page's content and provide a glimpse into who you are professionally and personally.
There are many websites where you can acquire unique header images for Linkedin. Pexels is a "free with credit" photo site with an array of unique and artistic images. If you choose to use a photo that needs to be resized, LinkedIn recommends banner image dimensions be 1584 x 396 pixels.
5. Request Recommendations from Your Network
What makes LinkedIn unique from other social media and job search sites is its ability to connect you with others in your industry easily. A great way to support your connections is through recommendations. Endorsements can be a powerful way to boost credibility, get noticed, and increase hiring potential. Connect with past co-workers or bosses and request recommendations from them. LinkedIn will prompt them to leave you a review where it will be visible on your profile. And be sure to return the favor by providing endorsements for others.
6. Add Personal Comments to Posts You Share
More than a resume hosting platform, LinkedIn is a social networking site. A great way to engage with your network is by sharing relevant content. Consider following professionals and thought leaders in your field or industry. They are continually creating and publishing valuable content that you can share with your connections.
When you share content, be sure to include your insights and invite others to comment. Providing your thoughts on a topic provides a glimpse of who you are. Plus, you may prompt others to comment and begin a virtual dialog that expands your network offline. As always, be sure to keep it professional.
7. Show Off Your Certs
Showing off your certifications is a great way to gain an edge and prove your industry expertise. Include certifications, coursework, awards, and accolades on your LinkedIn page. These accomplishments demonstrate your education, knowledge, and willingness to learn and grow.
Hiring managers often look for specific skills or experience with software tools and platforms, many of which offer online certifications. If you don't have any certifications, find out what's available in your field. Are you a digital marketer? Look into Google Analytics and SEMrush online certifications. Are you in Human Resources? Consider one of the many HR certifications based on your background. LinkedIn offers a handful of Skills Assessments ranging from technical to business and even design.
Breaking through the digital noise and standing out professionally online is no easy feat, and a wider pool of candidates makes it even more challenging. Follow our tips above to help put your best digital foot forward and stand out to hiring managers.