If you are a professional, you most likely have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, you should probably make one. With nearly 800 million users, it is a great platform for networking, showcasing your work, and building your online presence as a professional. It is also one of the best sites to be on when you are searching for a job.
Because of this, hiring managers and recruiters regularly conduct searches and scour through profiles in order to find suitable candidates who meet the criteria for the job they are trying to fill.
To ensure you are at the top of their list of matched candidates, we have compiled a list of 15 LinkedIn profile tips specifically targeted to what employers look for. Additionally, we’ll show you how to maximize your chances of being seen and getting job invites.
If you think you already have a great profile and don’t need our LinkedIn profile tips, be sure to check out our advice on how to use your LinkedIn profile to land your dream job. We share 4 exclusive steps to help you get there.
Without further ado, here is what employers want to see on your LinkedIn profile and our top tips on how to implement them.
1. A Professional LinkedIn Profile Picture
Your profile picture is one of the very first things recruiters see when they examine your LinkedIn profile. It is your big chance to leave a great first impression in literally less than a second, so it should come as no surprise that it is our first LinkedIn profile tip.
According to a recent study on facial first impressions, it takes about 33 milliseconds for a person to form an opinion on someone’s trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness by briefly glancing at an image of their face. For this reason, it is crucial that the photo that greets potential employers meets certain criteria.
An ideal Linkedin profile picture should be:
- High quality. Nothing is more frustrating and unprofessional than seeing a low-resolution, pixelated profile picture. Make sure that the photo you upload of yourself is crystal clear and properly in focus.
- The appropriate size. The ideal LinkedIn profile picture size is 400 x 400 pixels. Larger picture sizes are also accepted (up to 8MB), however, the above-mentioned dimensions are the sweet spot you should be aiming for.
- Focused on your face. According to LinkedIn, “your face should take up at least 60% of the frame”. We should also mention that it is only your face that should be visible in the photo. A cropped picture of you with part of your sister’s head and shoulder in it will give a negative first impression and be regarded as lazy. Avoid using anything other than a portrait shot of yourself.
- Friendly and welcoming. A pleasant smile is naturally inviting and creates a friendly feeling for recruiters from the start. Face the camera and put on a natural smile, it will go a long way.
- Unique. If you have a brand, or you’re really passionate about a certain color or item, showcase that in your LinkedIn profile picture. For example, if your brand’s color is bright blue, make the background of your photo the same solid color. You can do this as an individual as well. Decide on a color scheme you like and use it across your profile, socials, and showcased work. Color science is a thing. The psychological effect of color is definitely something you can use to your advantage in creating the effect you want to leave on recruiters.
You may be thinking, “that sounds great, but how do I make a great profile picture like that?”
It’s quite simple. You don’t need to go to a professional photographer for some headshots (although you can if you want to go the extra mile). Instead, you can ask a friend or family member to take some photos of you in front of a neutral background.
Avoid colorful, textural, and “loud” backgrounds as these can make the photo “busy” and draw attention away from your face. You can still use a bright color as your background, but make sure it is a solid block of color that contrasts your face. If you need inspiration, look up professionals in your field to see what their LinkedIn profile pictures are like to get some ideas for yours.
2. A Unique LinkedIn Background Banner
Just like your profile picture, your LinkedIn background photo is one of the first things a recruiter sees. Use that space to highlight things you want recruiters to associate you with when they enter your LinkedIn profile.
- If you’re a successful marketer, use this space to showcase brands you’ve worked for, especially if they are well-known. This way you communicate your value, skills, and achievements right at the top of your profile.
- Display bits of your portfolio in a collage of images if you are in the creative field.
- Simply use this space to reinforce who you are, with colors that best describe you.
In any case, make your banner relevant to the field you’re in and the kind of jobs you’re after.
Also, just like your profile picture, your LinkedIn background banner should be the appropriate size and image quality. The ideal banner size for personal profiles is 1584 x 396 pixels. You can find tons of LinkedIn banner templates on websites like Canva. Find one you like and customize it to display exactly what you want to showcase. Potential employers will value the effort you put into your online presence.
3. A Customized LinkedIn Profile URL
When you create a LinkedIn profile, you get assigned a profile number, which appears in the URL of your profile. For example:
Customizing your URL is one of those LinkedIn profile tips you might be tempted to skip, however, getting rid of those numbers should be one of your first actions when optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
A customized LinkedIn profile URL will make your profile look professional, as well as make it more searchable. Also, it is likely that you will include your LinkedIn profile on your resume, and it simply looks much better if the link only includes your name.
Potential ways you could customize your LinkedIn profile URL:
4. A Catchy LinkedIn Headline
Your headline is the most important and visible piece of information on your profile, and it is imperative that you spend some time on it.
- Use relevant keywords. Research the headlines of other professionals in your industry and pop them into a word cloud generator tool to see which are the keywords top professionals use. This will give you targeted, effective, and industry-specific ideas to use in your own headline.
- Be succinct and to-the-point. This is the space for you to clearly state your field of expertise, value proposition, and/or what it is you’re searching for if you are currently open to work. Be as specific as possible about what makes you stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to throw some personality into it as well.
– Senior sales professional who has literally sold ice to an Eskimo.
– Author/Writer specializing in LinkedIn tips for job seekers.
– Innovative Strategist | B2B Marketer | Travel Junkie
Unemployed? No problem.
Here are some useful LinkedIn headline tips for when you’re in-between jobs and searching for a new position:
- Always fill the current job section, even when you are unemployed. This is because recruiters conduct LinkedIn searches by looking up potential candidates who are currently in a job role they are looking to fill. Leaving the current job entry blank, or writing “unemployed” will leave you out of most (if not all) searches conducted by potential employers.
- Add the job title or positions you are targeting. Include a short phrase that makes it clear to recruiters that you are currently not employed and are searching for a job.
- Use the 220 character limit wisely. Only include your qualifications and the type of job you’re seeking. Leave out lengthy phrases explaining that you are “currently looking for a job/employment.”
– Full-Time Student/Financial Analyst in Training Seeking New Opportunity
– Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Currently Exploring Options
– Recent College Graduate Seeking Entry-Level Programming Position
– Operations Logistic Professional Seeking Work
– Marketing Professional in Transition
5. A Stellar LinkedIn Profile Summary
One of the best LinkedIn profile tips we could ever give you is to spend some focused time on writing and perfecting your LinkedIn profile summary. We cannot stress this enough.
After your headline, your profile summary is the place where you need to present the most significant and relevant information about yourself in relation to the job(s) you are targeting. This is where you give a brief summary of your background and show off your achievements.
Your summary is also one of the best spots to place searchable keywords that the LinkedIn algorithm simply adores. Make sure you do your research, and only include relevant keywords that will help you appear in searches for jobs in your field.
The information in your LinkedIn profile summary should include, but is not limited to:
- Your current job title
- Years of experience you have in your current or targeted field of work
- A highlight of key skills, including hard skills and tools used in your work
- Relevant, industry-specific experience, and your most significant achievements
- Relevant interests and things you’re passionate about
- If you are openly looking for work – the kind of position you are seeking
Notice we keep repeating the word relevant? Job recruiters simply don’t have the time to read about anything irrelevant to the position they are looking to fill. Only include information that will support why you would be a good fit for the job.
LinkedIn summary writing tips:
- Use the 2000 character limit wisely. Use the space effectively. Don’t make your summary too short, nor too long. An ideal summary is 3-5 short paragraphs. Say everything you want as succinctly as you can.
- Try telling a story. Nothing gets people hooked faster than good ole’ storytelling. Try to weave your skills, experience, and achievements into a story about yourself.
- Address your reader directly. Statistically, profile summaries written in the 1st person do much better than those that don’t address their audience directly.
- Formatting is key. Organize your summary into paragraphs, and use bullet points when listing items.
- Use numbers when possible. People like statistics and numbers. If you’ve increased sales by 15% during your previous role, write it down with numbers. It makes it easier for recruiters to see what you’ve accomplished. Make sure to include statistics that show how successful, efficient, and knowledgeable you are.
- Include a Call-To-Action. Ask the reader to connect with you to discuss brand marketing or any other action you want to compel them to take.
- Avoid overused buzzwords. According to LinkedIn, this includes terms like ‘specialized’, ‘leadership’, ‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’, ‘expert’, ‘creative’, ‘innovative’ and ‘certified’.
6. A Killer Work Experience Section
Writing a great work experience section that is neatly organized and contains only relevant experience is a classic LinkedIn profile best practice you should always come back to.
Just like with your profile summary, make it brief and to-the-point. Only include information that will highlight your skills and expertise for the jobs you are targeting. Your aim is to sell yourself.
This section is yet another perfect place for you to use industry-relevant and searchable keywords that will rank you higher in searches. Incorporate a mix of keywords on the hard and soft skills you possess that are relevant for the type of work you do.
Talk about relevant projects you have worked on in the past and any volunteer work that relates to your expertise. Don’t shy away from mentioning any experiences outside of your professional environment that are related to the field of work you are trying to get into. A hiring manager should be able to skim through your profile and get a clear idea of who you are and where you want to go.
A general LinkedIn profile tip that you should always keep in mind is: Show, don’t tell.
If you have relevant past projects you can showcase, use LinkedIn’s feature and attach PowerPoint slides and other documents or projects you have previously worked on. What better way to prove your skills and expertise than to provide evidence of them in action?
Employment gap? Here’s what to do (and what not to do):
Everyone will, at some point in their life, have a gap in their employment. This is very normal and is not something you should lose sleep over. Still, you don’t want to highlight the period when you were unemployed with a job entry titled “Unemployed.”
Instead, you’ll want to put a positive twist on every bit of your work experience.
Here is what you can do:
- Leave the employment gap blank.
- Input only the years of employment and omit the months.
- Describe how you spent your time off work (e.g. raising children, getting your college degree, doing volunteer work, traveling, and so on).
Finally, if you have little to no work experience, that shouldn’t discourage you from creating a great LinkedIn profile. Just be honest about it and make it clear that you are determined to gain work experience.
7. A Concise and Clear Education Section
Utilizing the education section of your LinkedIn profile is crucial, especially if you are still a student or recent graduate with little to no work experience. You can make up for having no work experience to showcase with your educational background. Just make sure you keep it relevant.
Having no work experience does not mean that you have no experience at all, or that you lack the skills for the job(s) you are targeting. Emphasize any courses, training, projects, or volunteer work you’ve done relating to the field you want to enter. Omit any information that is not relevant to the job you are searching for.
Include any special accomplishments, such as scholarships, awards, volunteering recognitions, and student exchange experience that highlight your skills in an area relevant to your field and show the recruiter that you are an ambitious individual willing to work.
8. A Relevant Skills Section
One of our top LinkedIn profile tips is to pay special attention to your skills section. Why? The LinkedIn skills section is a place for you to select up to 50 hard and soft skills that are going to describe you as a professional, as well as your expertise in the industry you work in.
What’s more, the keywords you select are of utmost importance when it comes to LinkedIn’s algorithm and the searches conducted by hiring managers and recruiters. For this reason, you want to ensure that the keywords you use here (also) include those which recruiters would use to find suitable candidates.
Here are some tips on what to do:
- Use industry-specific keywords. Only include keywords that are relevant to the type of job you are looking for. Look up experts in your field and skim their profile to see which keywords they mention often and use them.
- Use searchable keywords. Do your research, find what keywords are in use and think about what keywords recruiters use in their search.
- Use 10-20 most relevant skills. Don’t go overboard and fill your skills section up with 50 keywords. Start with less, then build up your profile.
Another LinkedIn profile tip; take skills assessments. You can take an online test on LinkedIn that lets you show the level of your skills and earns you a Verified Skills badge that you can display on your profile.
According to LinkedIn, candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply for. Don’t worry, you can retake the test at any time when you want to refresh your skill set.
9. Skill Endorsements
A list of job-related skills on your profile is great. However, endorsements will add a lot more weight to your skill set, which is why getting endorsements for your skills should be part of your LinkedIn profile checklist.
An easy way to get endorsements is by asking family and friends to endorse you. Select up to 5 skills you would like to endorse, as endorsing all skills can look spammy and suspicious.
Another great way to get endorsements from colleagues or other people is to endorse their skills first. People will want to reciprocate by endorsing your skills too.
Recommendations are a great thing to have on your profile. They carry a lot of weight and are a direct testimony of the work you’ve done so far and the kind of professional you are. This is why they are an important LinkedIn profile tip to mention.
Ask your ex-colleagues and people you have worked with to write you a recommendation. People will often take the time to do so if you put in a kind request. Don’t forget to give recommendations to others as well; it will likely be repaid.
11. Volunteer work, Organizations, Accomplishments
Add any volunteer experience here, be it relevant to your work or not. Relevant volunteer work adds experience and demonstrates your willingness to collaborate with others in order to contribute to the community.
The same goes for organizations. Do include organizations you are part of to show your interests and things you are passionate about.
If you have any accomplishments you want to highlight related to your work, this is the perfect place to do it.
12. Licenses, Certifications, Projects, Interests & Languages
Include any relevant licenses and certifications you have acquired over the course of your work. This can only support and add weight to your professional and technical skills and knowledge.
This is also a great spot to showcase additional projects you have worked on that you are proud of, but may be smaller or less relevant than the ones you have included in your work summary.
Languages are a big plus, so make sure you indicate that on your profile. You never know what opportunities might come your way just because you’re fluent in French in addition to English.
Your interests section appears at the very bottom of your profile and it is often overlooked by job seekers. While this is a spot for you to show your profile viewers what you are interested in and passionate about, it shouldn’t contain anything that would harm your chances of getting a job.
A good rule of thumb is to follow relevant influencers in your industry. This not only adds context to your profile and shows that you are passionate about the field you work in, but it also fills your feed with interesting and relevant content, which you can then share with your network.
13. Multimedia and Publications
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Instead of just talking about your work, add multimedia to your profile that show examples of your work or even have a short video introduction of yourself. Demonstrate yourself in action, showcase your portfolio, add a link to your company website, share a presentation, and so on.
Use the Publications section! It is unfortunately one of the least used LinkedIn profile features, but it can really help you stand out from the crowd.
Did you write posts for your company’s blog? Published a research paper? Co-wrote an eBook? This is where you link these assets to your profile.
14. You Are Open For Work
You can let recruiters know that you are open for work by using the Open For Work feature on your profile. It is a nifty feature that adds a green badge to your profile, making it stand out and clearly indicate that you are open to new opportunities.
You can fill in what kind of work you’re open to by adding job titles, workplaces (on-site, hybrid, or remote), job locations, start date (immediate or flexible) and job types (full-time, contract, part-time, internship or temporary). You can also select if you only want recruiters to see that you are open for work or all LinkedIn members.
A useful LinkedIn profile tip when enabling this feature is to leave a note to recruiters and briefly (500 character limit) summarize your situation and what kind of opportunity you are looking for.
15. Location & Contact Info
Last but not least, an important LinkedIn profile tip that is often disregarded relates to location and contact info.
Hiring managers and recruiters often specify the location when searching for candidates to fill a certain position at their company.
Do include your location on your profile to maximize your exposure to jobs in that specific area. If you live in a small city or town, it is a good idea to put the largest city that is closest to you as your location so as to not miss out on any opportunities.
With the Open For Work feature, you can select up to 5 locations you want to target for your job – make sure you use them.
Similarly, include your contact info at the top of your profile. Recruiters want to be able to reach you, so including your email is a must in our opinion. If you have a dedicated work phone number, you can share that as well, but refrain from posting your personal cell phone number.
You can also add any social media platforms, but only if they are relevant to your job. Recruiters don’t care about your personal Instagram and vacation photos, and they may deem you unprofessional if you include it on your profile.
That wraps up our list of the 15 LinkedIn profile tips. If you follow these 15 tips, we have no doubt that you will excel far beyond your competition and receive more job opportunities than you might expect.
Want more information and a detailed walk-through on creating a stellar LinkedIn profile? Read our Ultimate Guide for Creating the Best LinkedIn Profile to find the fundamental profile dos and don’ts, great LinkedIn profile examples, using LinkedIn groups to your advantage, as well as detailed steps on making an excellent profile that will stand out in the eyes of recruiters.
Already utilized all the information on our blog and have gotten a few job interview appointments? Prepare for the interview process with Big Interview! Find out how we can help you land that dream job here.