Over the years, I’ve seen LinkedIn grow from another social media site to one of the largest online marketplaces for job seekers. As a career coach, I can’t stress enough about how important it is to be on LinkedIn. And not just have a page, but as an active, engaged user.

As of December 2018, DMR reported that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Over 20,000 companies are on LinkedIn. And there are over 15 million active jobs listed. So, are you leveraging the power of LinkedIn to get to where you want to be? Yes or no, read on to learn how to optimize your LinkedIn experience!

Tip 1: Photos Matter

Your profile is meant to do something that your resume is not, connect. You have the opportunity to instill some personality into your profile. Two of the easiest ways to do this is your headshot photo and your background image.

Your headshot photo should be a recent photo, professional, and should be showcasing your face. You don’t need to hire some fancy photographer, just grab a friend, your phone, dress like you would for an interview, find an interesting background (brick, colored wall, the outdoors), and have fun! Get photos that are from your waist up so when they are cropped in the headshot bubble, it will incorporate your face and shoulders.

The background image on your profile is prime real estate. This is an opportunity to strengthen your brand, show who you are, what you do, and that you care. Find a photo that you connect with. If you don’t have one already taken, use sites like Pexels.com or Pixabay.com that offer great, free stock images. Just remember to keep it simple and not too busy and make sure it really does represent who you are!

Tip 2: Highlight Your Talent

Your headline or tag-line will default to your current (or last) job title. Why do you not want to keep it this way? Updating your tagline is a great way to use keywords and descriptors that help hiring managers and recruiters find you. You can optimize your headline to showcase what you do (or what you want to do in case of career transitions), your specialty, and what you are looking for.

Here’s an example:

Default: Marketing Director for XYZ Agency

Optimized: Strategic Marketing Leader| Brand Champion | Seeking a new opportunity with an innovative and growing organization.

Tip 3: Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Just like your resume going through an ATS system, recruiters and hiring managers can search profiles by key words and skills. To ensure that you are being picked from the bunch, you want to incorporate keywords that relate directly towards the job you want in your profile.

There are two sections on your profile to incorporate these words. In your summary, you can create a paragraph that lists out your areas of expertise. I would recommend keeping it very focused on job-specific skills and don’t overdo it. Keep your list to no more than 15. Then in your skills section, you can add up to 50 skills. Pin your top three that directly relate to your search on top and then add in the other 47. But, be careful. LinkedIn does provide recommendations as you are adding in skills. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and just start adding like crazy. Be strategic and focus on the most important and relevant skills to your job search.

Tip 4: Showcase your work

LinkedIn has a great option to allow you to add media to your summary and to your professional experience. Taking advantage of this option allows recruiters and hiring managers to really see what you can do. Add your resume in your summary and if you have one, a link to your online portfolio. Add presentations, flyers, logo design and more to your professional experience to support your accomplishments.

Don’t overdo it though. I recommend adding 1-2 pieces of media to each job. And be sure to keep it relevant and professional (and make sure you have permission to share it).

Tip 5: Engage

Simply updating your profile and walking away is not going to get you anywhere. Just like most other social media sites, there is a trick. The more you are active and engaging on the site, the more you are going to get seen. Join up to 100 groups and engage by posting, sharing, commenting and liking what is going on. One of my favorite ways to engage on LinkedIn is to share your opinion on the industry and trends. Share what you know and demonstrate that you are that true expert that your resume says you are. Share articles, write articles, comment on other posts, and most of all, be respectful. You can disagree with someone’s opinion without being a jerk. If in doubt, just remember the golden rule, only write what you would want written on yours!

A big part in your job search success is leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Keep your profile complete and updated while engaging in the right activities will increase the opportunity of your profile being seen and the opportunity of connecting with the people that will lead you to that right job!

Want to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn experience? Contact me today at signatureonthecity@gmail.com for a free consultation!