You’re ready to take your career to the next level – and LinkedIn is one of the best tools around to make that happen. But with over 400 million users, you have to go above and beyond to stand out.
Now, before we delve into how you’ll become that LinkedIn superstar, you may want to change your settings to hide activity updates: Depending on what and how much you change, your network – i.e. your current employer – doesn’t need to see or get an alert for all the things you do, like and share on the site. (If you have a major change that you want the world to see, you can always change the settings back for that particular event.)
1. Stay up-to-date
Have an updated LinkedIn profile at all times and not just when you’re looking for a job. You never know who has the position of your dreams and is browsing the profiles for someone like you.
2. Say “cheese”
Your profile is seven times more likely to get views if you have a picture. Show a little personality, but try to keep it professional – you’re dressing to impress after all. Ask a friend with a good camera to take the picture – don’t rely on an iPhone photo unless it’s very good quality. Make sure you update the photo every now and then so you look like your picture and interviewers will be able to recognize you.
3. Get personal
For your professional headline, you have 120 characters to summarize what you’re all about. This is a good place to get creative: Share that you’re a world traveler or expert wordsmith, and use industry keywords here if possible. If you don’t edit your headline, it will default to your latest job title, which might not give you maximum exposure. Also, make sure you check your headline when you add a new job because it might switch back.
4. Make it easy to get in touch
If you want to encourage people (who are not connected with you) to get in touch – just add a call to action with your email, website, or phone number in the summary box.
5. Strut your stuff
Your achievements should shine throughout your entire profile. Explain your role in leading projects, managing people, and achieving goals – reinforced with numbers where you can. Be clear, focused and don’t ramble: You need to be able to summarize your achievements and experience in a few sentences.
6. Show off your English skills
Show how international you are by proving that you have some serious language skills. You can, for example, take EF’s simple and free online English test.
7. Get and give recommendations
Recommendations are like references and easy to get on LinkedIn:Reach out to colleagues, previous supervisors, or current managers, and ask them to share their insights on your work and your best qualities – and be sure to return the favor.
8. Join groups and follow people
Don’t just connect with people you already know – join groups or follow influencers to learn from others outside of your network. You can join as many groups as you want, but less might be more – that way, you can engage and interact with the members and make new connections. If you want to take your LinkedIn activities to an even higher level, why not start your own group and show the world that you’re an expert in a certain area?
9. Customize your URL
Right now, your LinkedIn URL might look something like linkedin.com/in/firstname-lastname-a821191a. Nobody can remember that, right? Fortunately, LinkedIn allows you to personalize your URL, so you can get rid of the numbers and add your profession, brand, or whatever shows off your professional personality. (Make sure you update your new URL on all of your websites, business cards, and other social media networks.)
10. Personalize your header image
Customize the header image to add some personality to your profile: There are some stock photos available, but if you can, create your own image (JPG, GIF or PNG, no larger than 4MB and between 1000×425 and 4000×4000 pixels). You can look at other people’s headers to get inspired, but anything in line with your brand, company, or personality will work. Oh, and make sure it’s something professional that you want your future employer to see.
11. Do some spring cleaning
You probably set up your LinkedIn profile a few years ago and just kept adding skills, experience, groups, connections or endorsements. If so, it’s probably time for a purge. Make sure your profile is focused, clear, and concise. Only list the skills and experience that are relevant to your career goals: Knowing Microsoft Word or being internet savvy will not make you stand out and is seen as a given for most jobs. Similarly, summer jobs that you had 10 years ago might not be relevant anymore. Leave groups or remove connections that are no longer interesting or useful. The same goes for endorsements: There was a time when everyone and their sister got endorsed for pretty much all of their listed skills. Nobody is great at everything, so make sure that you only have quality endorsements that will help you advance.
This post was originally written by Lena, but was updated by Isabelle.