If you spend any amount of time on LinkedIn, then you need to be sure your profile is dialed in so that it can work for you, even when you’re not working on it.
Here are a few simple tweaks you can make to optimize your profile and help it stand out. That way when recruiters and hiring managers are searching for people with your talents and skills to fill a role or if a company checks your profile out after you have applied for a job, it will catch their attention.
The headline on your LinkedIn profile is perhaps THE most important part of your entire profile and for most people, it is underused. If you are only using your current or last job title as your entire headline, you are only sharing a small portion of your story and you’re missing out on 220 characters worth of real estate!
When somebody pulls your profile up in a list after doing a keyword search, they are only going to see your name, headline, current position and location. This doesn’t give the person much information to go off of and not a lot of reason to look further, especially when they are pressed for time and need to pull a quick list based on keywords.
I did a search for “social media managers” and this was the first few results of what I found. Every single person only had their current job title. If I was a recruiter, I would keep scrolling.
Your headline is also one of the few things people see when you comment on posts in the LinkedIn feed. So, if somebody is scrolling through the comments, they will only see your name and the first part of your headline.
You want to take full advantage of all 220 characters to make your headline something that looks great, conveys the essence of you in a nutshell and quickly captures the attention of people looking.
There’s a really great formula for what should be in this headline that I cribbed from Jessica Hernandez, a resume writer and LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Careers. She suggests HERE that the first part of your headline should be your desired job title. Note that this is not your current title, but the role that you are actively seeking for your next position. The next three parts are your top three keywords (which I will tell you how to find and choose in more detail in the Keywords section below). The last part is a branding statement that summarizes what you are about in terms of your work. I modify this formula slightly to also include another personal branding statement after this that talks about who I am as a person.
The final piece of your headline, and perhaps one of the more important in terms of getting noticed, is the symbols you use to put between each item.
If you do a quick search and look at several pages of profiles, you will notice that the ones who do take advantage of the 220 characters will often just use a vertical line to separate each item out. I was guilty of this in the beginning myself. What it doesn’t do for you is really pull your profile out from the others because so many other profiles look the same.
To really stand out when fully using the 220 characters in the headline, you need to think outside the box and use emojis. They allow you to really show your personality, give your headline some color and pop, and really make it stand out. I have two great articles bookmarked by Karen Tisdell, a LinkedIn profile writer, that contains more emojis than you could ever actually use. All you need to do is copy and paste them into your headline. Links are HERE and HERE. Check out my profile for an example of applying all of these steps to optimize my headline.
You are going to want to make sure your profile contains as many of the pertinent keywords that a recruiter or hiring manager might be looking for as possible. There is an easy hack to find a list of keywords related to your desired job title and it also comes from Jessica Hernandez (full article HERE).
On your profile page underneath your follower and connection count are three buttons- Open To, Add Profile Section, and More. You’ll want to click on the More button and then select “Build a resume”.
Once you are on the next page, select “Create from Profile”. This will bring up a prompt to choose your desired job title. You do NOT want to skip this step. This is the most important part of this activity and will provide the related keywords you need to pepper throughout your profile. You will need to make sure the job title fits one of the ones that drops down in a menu or it won’t work.
Selecting a job title here will bring you to another page where your resume is actually created. You don’t actually need to pay attention to the resume portion of the screen. You want to look over to the far right side at the Resume Insights. If you have LinkedIn Premium, you will have a longer list of keywords, but the free version still gives you a decent amount of keywords. The insights are broken down into two categories. One is keywords found in your resume and the other is suggested keywords.
The goal here is to take as many of those suggested keywords as possible and insert them into your profile.
As you can see here, I have done the work and so my list of keywords found in my profile is already pretty long and the list of suggested keywords is shorter.
I don’t use all of the keywords that are suggested for the very reason LinkedIn cites at the bottom of the suggested keywords- I don’t actually have some of those skills.
There are a few places you can make sure to use keywords in your profile, including the headline, the about, the descriptions of your various roles, and the skills section at the end. Have your list of keywords handy and see if you can change a phrase or word to match the keyword or use one of the suggested keywords that might be a better fit for what you are trying to say.
For example, one of my suggested keywords was “creative writing”, so I replaced “writing” with “creative writing” in one sentence in my About section. It still meant the same thing as I was originally trying to say, but it made the keyword match exact.
I also added two more keywords to my Skills section that were exact matches. Once I had as many of the keywords put into my profile as possible, I went back and did the “Build a resume” exercise again and the list of keywords found in my resume was much longer than the first time I did it. That is the goal!
If you are feeling adventurous, you can also use those emojis I talked about earlier in your About section to break up long bits of text, draw the viewer’s eye to certain parts of your description and to show some personality. You can also drop an emoji or two into your headline in addition to the symbols you use to separate the different parts of your headline.
These easy optimizations will increase your visibility, enhance your story, and help you to stand out in a sea of job seekers. Let me know if you used these tips to dress up your profile and drop a comment with a link to your LinkedIn profile so I can see how great it looks!
Tai Freligh offers digital marketing, social media, copy editing, and branding services through his company Tai Freligh Consulting, as well as marketing and social media tips. Catch me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and on my Tai Freligh Consulting company page on LinkedIn. You can also drop a connection request on my LinkedIn profile. Interested in a free 15 minute Zoom consult? Email me today!