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7 Must-Haves to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

With more than 500 million users, LinkedIn is the ultimate networking site for professionals. Having a strong LinkedIn profile can help you distinguish your personal brand, connect with other professionals, be more visible to recruiters, and more easily find a job.

In fact, 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking, and LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Yet cultivating your network takes time and consideration.

Here are the top seven LinkedIn profile tips you need to become a networking expert—and help you land your next job.

Create a Descriptive Headline

Job titles aren’t always the best at conveying why you’re the right person for the job. Avoid being generic by making your headline pop with descriptive words and phrases. Use keywords that hiring managers employ to find top-tier talent in your industry. For example, instead of a “Marketing Manager at XYZ Company,” try, “Published Content Marketer Specializing in SEO, Blogging, Google Analytics, and Content Strategy.” 

Write a Compelling Summary

Think of the summary as a cover letter to your audience. Create a compelling summary by emphasizing who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re interested in. Don’t forget to highlight your professional achievements, such as how you’ve helped grow sales by $500,000 or increased department productivity by 20 percent. Lastly, integrate industry keywords into your summary to mirror your headline and stand out to hiring managers.

Post a Professional Photo

LinkedIn profiles with professional photos receive 14 times more views than those without one. Your photo will help your connections recognize you and bring legitimacy to your profile.

You can take an engaging photo by following these tips:

  • Make eye contact with the camera and smile
  • Dress professionally
  • Keep the photo closely cropped to your face
  • Use a plain background
  • Make sure you’re alone in the photo—without any friends, family, or pets
  • Take several camera shots to pick the right photo for your profile

Get Endorsed

LinkedIn users with at least five skills listed receive up to 17 times more profile views, so make sure to highlight your most compelling industry-specific skills, such as copywriting, strategic planning, analytics, or project management. Then, have your network endorse them—and remember to endorse your network in return. Accumulating a large number of endorsements for a particular skill demonstrates your industry expertise and enhances your credibility.

In addition, remain relevant by keeping your skill set updated. If you switch careers, develop new competencies, or take on new tasks, then drop outdated skills from your profile and add new ones that are relevant to your career.

Give and Receive Recommendations

Having strong recommendations that speak to your accomplishments is one of the most powerful LinkedIn profile tips to showcase your brand. These recommendations will catch the eye of future hiring managers and give you an added boost of confidence.

Be gracious, and take the time to pick the right people. If you’re uncomfortable reaching out to managers, then consider recommendations from professors, advisors, and colleagues. Also, be specific about what you want highlighted, whether it’s your project management expertise or client-facing skill set.

Remember that networking is not just what other people can do for you, but what you can do for them. Make sure to give recommendations to people you know well and have worked with, so that you can provide value to your network.

Join Industry-Aligned Groups

Join relevant industry groups on LinkedIn. Considering that 81 percent of users belong to at least one group, this is a great LinkedIn profile tip to grow your network and advance your career.

Industry groups are also a way for professionals in the same field or with similar interests to share content, ask and answer questions, view and post jobs, and gain industry expertise. With over 2 million groups on LinkedIn, there’s something for everyone.

Be an All-Star

Having an All-Star profile helps you become more visible on LinkedIn—in fact, you’ll become 40 times more likely to receive opportunities. You can achieve All-Star status by having the following information on your LinkedIn profile:

  • A profile photo
  • Your industry and location
  • Your education
  • At least 50 connections
  • An up-to-date current position, including a description
  • Two past positions
  • Three or more skills listed

You can also boost your visibility by including additional information, such as:

  • Special projects you’ve worked on
  • Certifications that highlight your specialized knowledge
  • Social media links like Twitter and Facebook
  • Any publications you’ve written for or been featured in
  • Volunteering experiences and meaningful causes to you
  • Awards you’ve received

Are you interested in learning more about how to best leverage social media? Read more in our Go-To Guide for Job Hunting in the Digital Age.