LinkedIn is a social network designed specifically for companies and job-seekers. The company, which is a subsidiary of Microsoft, boasted upwards of 675 million members in over 200 countries and territories during 2019, and claims that more than two new professionals create a LinkedIn profile every second.
The network functions like an online resume where you can showcase your skills, find new job opportunities, or connect with potential clients. Some companies will even allow you to apply directly for their job-postings by using your LinkedIn profile.
Below are eight tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile while using it for a job search.
Add Keywords to Your Profile
Adding keywords to your LinkedIn profile will help recruiters and companies find you. Focus on keywords that match your strongest skill sets.
Join Relevant Groups and Contribute Frequently
You can join groups on LinkedIn in a range of fields and interests. These groups will vary on privacy, inclusivity, and other settings, but they all function to bring professionals together.
Making the most out of these groups means adding unique content, either in the form of relevant news and references, or contributing your own analysis. Never spam these groups with links to your website, or brag on-record about your various skills.
Contributing to ongoing conversations in industry-aligned groups will help you learn about your colleagues and competition, build expertise, and position you as a passionate, engaged professional.
Ask for Professional Recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations are public testimonials meant to validate your ability, character, and work history. These recommendations are made by other professionals on the network, so you should be strategic about when and who to ask, and be ready to write recommendations for others. Seek help from people who know your work well and can speak to the specific value you offer.
Trade Professional Endorsements
Endorsements build credibility on top of recommendations, but generally require less thought and detail, as one LinkedIn professional can endorse another with a single click.
Other professionals can endorse you for individual skills, but it’s your job to add the list of skills to your profile for people to see. If you actively seek out colleagues to endorse—and you don't lie about the skills you possess—your own endorsements will arrive in due time.
Remove Outdated Information From Your Experience Section
Just like on a resume, don’t include out-dated or irrelevant jobs on your LinkedIn profile.
You want to format your profile in a way that calls the attention to the jobs, skills, and recommendations that speak to your professional ambitions for the future.
Having a concise, pertinent resume is better than an info-dump or list of unrelated experience, and the same is true for creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile. You don't have to delete gigs or part-time work, but scale back the amount of space (i.e. text) that's dedicated to short-lived professional experiences which have a limited contribution to the role you're currently seeking. Gaps in work history are generally a red flag for employers.
Follow Companies That Offer Your Dream Job
On LinkedIn, you can follow companies and receive regular updates on the news and trends that are pertinent to hiring. Follow brands you aspire to work for and note the way they use LinkedIn to share about their business.
These helpful nuggets of data can be drawn upon when writing a cover letter to the company, or meeting with company leadership during your interview process.
Set Up a LinkedIn Vanity URL
LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL for professional sharing on resumes or other job material. These so-called vanity URLs can be customized to include your first and last name, an option that's more professional and easier to share than a string of letters and numbers.
Having a LinkedIn URL with your full name is strategic from an SEO perspective, too, as it can make your profile easier to find online.
Update Contact Information
If you’re battling your way through a job search, you need the contact information on your LinkedIn profile to be up-to-date and easy to find.
More than 30 million companies are represented by LinkedIn business profiles, with more than 20 million job-listings posted per year. You don't need to spend hours on the network each day to make your profile work for you; by simply maintaining current, specific data on your professional acumen, you'll help recruiters and potential clients search you out.