1. Powerful headline

If you don’t actively change your current headline, it will default to your current job title and company name.  This isn’t exactly the most eye-catching and your headline is one of the first things someone sees when browsing your profile. From a career perspective, it defines you and will either persuade or dissuade a recruiter.  An effective headliner will ensure that you appear in more searches. Additionally, if your career is multi-dimensional, it will communicate that. When thinking about your headline, ask yourself these questions:

  • What job title is recognized industry wide? (eg. Project Manager versus Engagement Manager)
  • Which technical skill is highly sought after for my targeted role (eg. HTML5, JQuery, PHP, CSS3, Bootstrap)
  • Which accomplishment is the most impressive?
  • What statement describes my career purpose?

2. Photo

Your photo is another opportunity to express your personal brand.   For example, if your brand and career are more creative in nature, a blazer isn’t necessarily the way to go. It’s important to use a headshot where your face is visible so that you’re easily recognizable in person.

Consider using a professional photographer! There are many freelancers looking to expand their portfolios that will offer headshots for significantly cheaper. Trust us, it will be worth the investment. And we’re sure you know this one already but… no selfies! 😊

3. Professional story

In the About section, take the opportunity to share your professional story in an engaging way that will attract more recruiters and hiring managers.  You can think about this section as the long-winded version of your elevator pitch. You are essentially providing a high-level summary of your career.  You’ll want to include things like: industry focus, years of experience, accomplishments and top skills. Don’t stress if some points are repetitive or also included in your experience session because you never know what sections a recruiter will review.  If you need some inspiration, pull up job descriptions you want to target for your next career move and include any relevant buzzwords you find. Lastly, feel free to write in first person to make your profile warmer and more inviting, allowing the reader to feel a sense of connection.

4. Experience

Under the experience section, it’s best to keep it short and concise. For example, if you have eight bullet points per position on your resume, considering reducing it to five of the most impressive ones. 

For this section, keep in mind confidentiality issues. It is probably advisable not to mention certain client names or exact dollar values.  Again, remember to include industry buzzwords that will make you more findable in searches. 

All in all, your full story does not have to be included here. Consider just having your last 10-15 years of experience showcased.

5. Skills

You can select up to 50 skills under this section.  Make them count! An easy way to narrow it down is to ask yourself, “which skills will help me land my next job?”  If you’re stuck on this, pull up a few job descriptions to see if you have any skills that match. Consider skills like specific software you’ve used or project management methodology. Listing these skills on your profile will make you more findable by recruiters who prefer to search for passive job seekers. The more skills you have, the more frequently your profile will come up in searches.  

6. Recommendations

Instead of bragging about yourself, ask someone else to do it for you! You can send out personalized messages to your connections and ask them to describe their professional experiences with you. Don’t limit yourself to previous managers, either. It can be anyone you interacted with, including external vendors. You should also highly consider giving references to people as well – showing appreciation for others can go a long way!

6. Linkedin URL

Whew, we know that’s a lot so let’s end with an easy win.  You should be including your LinkedIn URL on your resume so make it as short and professional as possible. When you create your profile, it defaults to your name and random numbers. However, it only takes a few clicks to modify!

Follow these steps:

  • Login
  • Click on “Me”
  • Click on “Edit public profile & URL”
  • Click on the pencil icon under “personalize the URL for your profile”
  • Voila!

If you need further help optimizing your LinkedIn profile, reach out to our career coach Jen Narayan.