LinkedIn is a living organism that constantly changes its features and updates its algorithms… which means that we have to adjust our advice regularly and accordingly. Here are our recommendations and tips as to how to create a solid LinkedIn profile:
- Prepare your LinkedIn profile in a document file prior to uploading it.
- Make sure it’s perfect, proofread and triple-checked before it goes live.
Set a goal
- Why do you need a LinkedIn profile? What would you like to achieve? Who do you want to reach?
- Reason: a headhunter looks for different aspects than a journalist or an investor. Every reason caters to a different target group. And every target group has different needs & expectations.
- Examples of who you might want to position yourself as:
- (potential) employer author
- (potential) employee
- (potential) service provider
- (potential) investor
- (potential) business partner
- industry expert
- Tip: limit yourself to – ideally – 2 roles.
Create your profile with two target groups in mind
- Human (recruiter, decision maker, hiring manager)
- LinkedIn Algorithm (keywords & skills!)
A solid LinkedIn profile – step by step
… now to the “filling-out” part: field by field, top to bottom.
- First Name, then Last Name. NOT the other way around – this mistake happens more often than you’d think.
- If you have a common name, make it less common by e.g. adding your middle name. Don’t have a middle name? Add an initial, e.g. Sandra Bichl might turn into Sandra M. Bichl. For consistency purposes, start using it also in your email signature, etc.
- No titles in your name. No MBA, PhD, MA, MSc, etc. Exception: Germany, Austria, or if it’s really important in terms of your credibility.
- Make sure that your “primary email address” is your business email (under settings). Primary means it’s the only one visible.
- Add a link to your current company website.
- This is the line BELOW your name and can be edited separately.
- Update your Tagline so that it is attractive to your target group / audience.
- Definitely wrong: any variation of “Looking for a job / challenge / new opportunities”. You can see statistics on that in the table below:
- Definitely correct: something that defines or positions you with your target group.
- You would be surprised how many people make mistakes in this section. Make sure you choose the correct one: remember that your position doesn’t equal the industry you work in! For instance, if you are a CFO who works in a company that produces and sells snacks:
- correct industry: FMCG
- wrong industry: Finance
- If you plan on changing industries, select the one you are targeting.
- If you can work across several industries, choose the industry you prioritize.
Link to your profile
Personalize it by creating a link that can be included in your signature or application documents (click on the “Edit” button next to the link):
- Good link: https://pl.linkedin.com/in/sandrabichl
- Bad link: https://pl.linkedin.com/in/sandrabichl/012394/mink/0234 (by default)
- Your profile picture should be: professional, authentic, invite people to get in touch with you, and natural UNLESS you want to create e.g. an authoritarian, cold image on purpose!
- Dress in a way in which a person from your target group who meets you for the first time would actually see you.
- Make sure that your photo meets the following criteria:
- neutral background
- even lighting
- head & shoulder shot
- dressed properly, as if you were to go for an important interview
- looking straight at the camera & standing in a natural pose
- Click here for our tips on taking a professional photo with your smartphone.
- Should be in line with what you’d like to achieve. Safe bet: keep it neutral / blank.
- Consistent with the overall image you are building for yourself.
- Be careful: a picture of a nice landscape will only distract the reader’s attention instead of focusing it on the content of your profile. Exception: if it’s corporate policy.
- If you are a CEO (or a Board Member) your target is to have min. 500. If you are a manager with at least 10 years of experience, you should have min. 200 contacts.
- By default, your list of connections is visible to your 1st-degree connections. Don’t want that? Go to: Settings & Privacy → Visibility → Connections → Off
- Unique, unique, unique = your Unique Selling Proposition.
- Quintessence of who you are.
- Written with your target group in mind.
- Best structure:
- first for the “human reader”
- then keywords for the LinkedIn algorithm
- How do you know if it’s good enough?
- If you are a Finance Director and another Finance Director reads your profile summary and can “copy/paste” the profile with 2-3 minor changes, it’s not good enough.
- If it describes you or only a few people on the market, then it’s good enough.
- Do NOT simply “copy/paste” your CV!
- Show only the last 7-10 years (in some cases 15 years).
- Do not publish sensitive / confidential data.
- Be consistent in how you describe positions, e.g. exactly 3 lines per entry.
- Make sure your profile is balanced: it doesn’t contain too much or too little information. If there are too many questions unanswered, your odds of getting rejected are higher → the recruiter has to contact you and ask for details / your CV; if there are too many details → they don’t need to contact you at all.
- Add only the languages that you can work in.
- Remember to add your native language.
- Choose groups that confirm your expertise.
- Hide (but don’t delete) groups that are not relevant.
- Remember you can easily message other group members (no need to purchase InMail).
- Projects: interim projects, if they are not your bread and butter; other relevant business cases that you are allowed to share.
- Honors & Awards: relevant and from the last 5-7 years, unless it is something really worth mentioning despite that.
- Organizations: relevant memberships, incl. board memberships.
- Education: only higher education & important trainings; NOT high school; feel free to ignore this section if divulging your age would be disadvantageous.
- Publications: articles, books and mentions in the media.
- Recommendations: do it well or don’t do it at all. Either decide not to have any or do it right: recommend others and ask for recommendations. Important: don’t lie and only recommend people you would actually recommend. Headhunters have started to verify those recommendations!
- Now that you have prepared your profile “on paper”, proofread it.
- Triple-check grammar, punctuation and spelling.
- Ask 3-4 people from your target group to confirm that the content actually speaks to them.
Other tips for a solid LinkedIn Profile
Research target job ads in terms of the required skills (from a premium account) and strategically add them to your profile on LinkedIn. Ideally, get a group of friends / colleagues to endorse each other’s top skills.
There are two categories of skills in job ads:
- skills connected to a job ad
- skills connected to candidates for a job ad
- Check the list of skills that match your profile (see above #1).
- Check the skills generated by LinkedIn for Premium users once there are at least 3 applicants (see above #2).
- If you don’t have a Premium account: Activate it for free for a month or Ask somebody who has one for help. Find people in your network who have one.
- Add relevant skills to your profile.
There are two types of keywords when considering LinkedIn job ads:
- “Public” keywords from the ad. These are the keywords from the ad description that is visible to everybody.
Tip: Find 5-10 job ads that you would like to apply to and create a list of common keywords to add to your profile.
- Invisible keywords. Invisible keywords are set by the job ad publisher and are not visible. You’ll need to make an educated guess as to which keywords that could be. Having said that, they will most probably overlap with the keywords from the previous point.
Job Seeking Preferences
Go to: Settings & Privacy → Data privacy → Job seeking preferences
Fill out your job seeking preferences to ensure you are seen where and how you’d like to be seen.
Adjust your “Open to” settings on your profile
You can let recruiters know you are looking for a job with The “Open to” settings on your LinkedIn profile. Selecting “All LinkedIn members” will tag your profile picture with a green frame – although we don’t recommend doing that in most cases. Read more here.
Want to appear high in search results?
- Make sure your profile is complete, especially that it includes a photo.
- Make sure to add connections (min. 200, ideally 500+), but without SPAMming.
- Use relevant keywords in your tagline and profile summary and across the entire profile.
- Set your own rules of who you want to add and who you do not want to add. Stick to it.
- The elegant & professional solution is to prepare message templates to use when sending a connection request and personalize them on a case-by-case basis.
- Exception: adding somebody you have just interacted with, as that already gives a good context.
- It’s a good way to increase your network by reaching out to fellow participants!
Do you have a professional, flawless profile? Not sure? Request a free LinkedIn Report with feedback on all your sections systematically.
- Send an email to Bichl.Sandra@CareerAngels.eu | Subject: LinkedIn Report / Blog