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Top 5 tips to improve your Linkedin profile

Phone lying on computer keyboard. Source: Getty Images
Linkedin is an essential tool for those on the job hunt. Source: Getty Images (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett)

Linkedin is unquestionably the market leader when it comes to managing your professional identity online.

With more than 750 million members worldwide, it’s become the go-to site for both internal Human Resources professionals and external recruiters alike when looking to source new talent.

Every one of those members has a profile on the site, so it’s a fair bet that many of them have similar skills to you.


As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important that your Linkedin profile creates an engaging first impression when it arrives on the screen of potential employers.

Here are the top five tips to help you rise to the top of the application pile:

1. Expand your headline

The headline is the tag line under your name. It’s one of the first things potential employers’ will consider when viewing your profile.

This is your opportunity to impress, so don’t waste this space. Most professionals list their current job title, but don’t stop there – try adding a couple of other attributes that make you stand out.

Woman sits in front of her computer. Source: Getty Images
Making some small tweaks to your Linkedin profile could make a big difference to your job search. Source: Getty Images (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For example, “accountant” may become “qualified accountant with 10 years’ experience in the publishing and media sectors”.

Try not to go overboard – this is a headline after all – so keeping it punchy and to the point will help.

One other tip on headlines would be not to use this space to state that you are, “looking for opportunities” - there is a space in the Open to Work section to put this – but rather focus on your core skills and experience.

If you aren’t currently working, put what type of role you have previously performed, to help educate the reader on your skillset.

2. Make use of professional images

Although Linkedin is predominantly a professional networking site compared to Facebook or Instagram, it is still a social media platform, and images matter.

The two areas of your LinkedIn profile that give you the opportunity to use images are your profile picture and background.

Linkedin screen. Source: Getty Images
It's vital to make the most of your images on Linkedin. Source: Getty Images (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

When uploading your profile picture, a simple head shot against a plain, light-coloured background is best; and smiling always helps.

Avoid making the image too "alternative" – keep it simple and professional; it’s the first visual impression your potential new employer will get of you.

The background image is often overlooked, but it’s a great opportunity to capture the eye of the reader.

Again, professional images work best in this section, and many people choose to use the logo of their current employer as it adds credibility to your profile.

If you aren’t currently employed, consider using an image that relates to your occupation – for instance, a mining professional may use an image that depicts mining operations.

Try not to make it too busy though. You don’t want to deflect attention away from the rest of your profile.

3. Cut out the jargon

Try to stay away from industry-specific acronyms – they run the risk of confusing the reader and make them more likely to move on to the next profile.

Equally, using generic buzzwords such as “team player” or “enthusiastic” don’t really differentiate you.

Remember the classic advice to “show, not tell” by focusing on your accomplishments and specific responsibilities in each role you have performed.

Woman sits in front of a computer. Source: Getty Images
Try to stay away from buzz words in your Linkedin profile. Source: Getty Images (Getty Images/Image Source)

For more info on which words to cut out of your profile, check out our previous article on resume writing tips.

4. Ask for and add recommendations

Social media credibility is built on user recommendations, so having a third party recommend you is becoming an important currency.

Despite the recommendations section falling at the end of your profile, recruitment professionals do read them.

It’s the equivalent of an initial reference check on your skills before they even contact you, which is very useful for them.

When asking for referrals, try approaching people you have reported to or have delivered work for in the past, preferably in the past two or three years.

LinkedIn has a great tool for asking for these, where you can nominate someone else via their profile on the site, and the platform will send the request on your behalf.

It also allows you to manage their response and add it to your profile quickly and easily.

5. Keep your contact details current

Remember that not all employers have use of the InMail facility, which is a paid feature allowing them to contact you directly via the platform.

Therefore, if you have a current email address and mobile phone number, it makes their life much easier should they choose to approach you.

It’s also worth adding other contact options such as Instant Messenger, or even a personal website if it’s work related and highlights your skills.

Now is the time

If these tips resonate with you but you haven’t used Linkedin a great deal to date, check out their guide on how to update your profile.

It’s a good starting point on how to navigate the site and can save time trying to figure it out for yourself.

Given that many organisations are likely to be ramping up their hunt for new talent now lockdowns are coming to an end, it could be a great time to get your Linkedin presence fit for purpose.

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