LinkedIn is the go-to digital hub for professionals.
It is a central resource for job recruiters and seekers, virtual networking, career opportunities, building your professional presence on the Web, and much more.
It is especially helpful in today’s pandemic world to keep your career moving forward in the digital space as opportunities become available in your field.
Due to COVID-19, today’s job market is more competitive than ever. To stand apart, there are some key LinkedIn profile best practices you should follow…
1. Have a professional profile banner
If you are currently employed, your marketing team may have a company-branded profile banner for you to use on LinkedIn. Your marketing team will have probably covered this step during your original onboarding, but if they didn’t – it still doesn’t hurt to ask.
If your marketing team doesn’t have a company-branded LinkedIn profile banner for you to use, you are not currently employed, or you’d simply like to create your own, you can use free graphic design tools like Canva.
Canva is extremely user-friendly and has templates readily available to you for you to create (literally) the best-fitting LinkedIn profile banner. However, if you have graphic design experience and would like to use Photoshop to create your profile banner, go for it! The standard size is 1400 x 425 pixels for 2020.
You may also use a free stock photo from a site like Pixabay to find a good banner image and crop it to your liking.
Use a professional eye when it comes to selecting the right profile banner. Approach it the same way you would your resume. It should be business-friendly, but also show your character.
Your LinkedIn profile probably won’t look like your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile, for example.
2. Have a professional headshot
You don’t have to have a photography background to take an acceptable LinkedIn headshot.
While photographers will undoubtedly produce the best result with their expertise, if you are financially limited or are taking extra social distancing precautions at this time and want to avoid coming in contact with others you don’t know, you can still get the job done on your own, or with the help of a friend or family member you are living with, right in your own backyard.
Get your phone ready! Use what you have. Take advantage of your phone camera settings, like portrait mode, if you have it.
13 LinkedIn Profile Best Practices
To take a professional headshot on your own, you will first want to dress the part. Dress like you would going into your ideal office setting, whether that’s corporate or business casual.
You don’t want to dress like you would when you’re relaxing at home for your professional headshot. Think “job interview,” not Facebook or Instagram.
Groom yourself the same way you would for an in-person interview. Don’t overdo your makeup if you wear it.
Be sure to frame your headshot from the chest-up and have good lighting on your face. There should be no dramatic shadows. Look directly into the camera for every picture.
Don’t strike any unnatural poses. A background such as an outdoor brick wall or nature scene works great for professional headshots. It creates more dimension without being distracting, rather than having a busy background or a mute background (like your living room wall).
If a family member or friend can’t take the picture(s) for you, set up a tripod, or create your own DIY tripod so that you can set a timer to get your headshot right. Get ready to take a bunch of photos! The more you have to work with, the better.
You will get more comfortable with each picture you take. Have fun with it.
3. Adjust Your Privacy Settings
To adjust your privacy settings, go to the header menu and click on “Me” (where your tiny profile picture appears if you’ve uploaded it already). A dropdown menu will appear.
Click on “Settings & Privacy.”
On the left-hand side of your screen, click on “Job Seeking Preferences.”
Adjust your settings accordingly.
If you are searching for new opportunities, it’s important to adjust the toggle for “Let recruiters know your open to opportunities” to “yes.”
We will cover these steps in more detail in a separate post.
4. Craft Your Headline
In the headline section, under your name, state what you do instead of your job title.
So, for example, if your most recent job was “Sales Account Executive at (Company Name),” instead of writing this, write, “Sales Account Executive Dedicated to Customer Relationship-Building and Driving Business Growth.”
This helps tell job recruiters what you do and what your aspirations are, in short. It helps your profile stand apart in the LinkedIn search engine as well when recruiters are searching for candidates like you!
5. Update the “About” Section
Treat the “About” section on LinkedIn profile like your resume mission statement. Answer the questions:
What are your career ambitions?
What have you achieved so far?
What skills do you bring to the teams you are a part of?
A good mission statement on a resume should be tailored to the job you are applying to, but when it comes to LinkedIn, there are many you may be applying to. Approach it like you are applying to your ideal job opportunity, in this case.
Keep this clear, to-the-point, and concise. A good mission statement should be no longer than a paragraph.
It should focus on the objective of your resume – what do you hope to achieve with it? Therefore, a good “About” section should focus on the objective of your LinkedIn profile – what do you hope to achieve with it?
Be clear about your intentions and sell yourself for every opportunity.
6. Add Relevant Media to Your Profile “Featured” Section
This is a new section of LinkedIn where you can showcase your career highlights, interests, or aspirations.
Showcase posts you’ve shared or re-shared, articles you’ve written or published on LinkedIn, links to external websites (professional portfolio, company website, press, guest posts, etc.), and media (presentations, PDFs, resume(s), etc.).
Learn more about how to leverage the LinkedIn Profile Featured section here.
13 LinkedIn Profile Best Practices
7. Add Your Job History to “Experience”
After you make it past these fields, you will want to work on documenting your job history. The following fields look more like your resume.
If you are a recent college graduate, you might not have your past three full-time jobs to fill, or even if you’re a more seasoned employee, you may have been with one company for a very long time.
There’s no harm in this. Document what makes sense and what you would add to your resume.
You don’t need to include random jobs you had in high school.
8. Add Your Education History
Include any ongoing education you’re working to achieve, such as if you are still in college and about to graduate, or are a post-graduate going for your MBA.
You don’t need to include your middle or elementary schools. High school and above is great. Recruiters will care most about the degrees you’ve achieved.
9. Add Licenses & Certifications
This section of LinkedIn won’t make or break your profile – if you have licenses and certifications, great! If you don’t, don’t worry. Sometimes, this section doesn’t make sense for all careers.
Professionals in the technology sector may include Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Salesforce administration certifications they’ve achieved, for example, or marketers may include Google Analytics or Facebook Advertising certifications.
As you evolve in your career and become acquainted with more of your industry peers, you will know what certifications make sense for you to earn and add to your LinkedIn profile and resume.
10. Add Your Volunteer Experiences
The more recent, the better, but if you don’t have any from the past few years, it’s okay to include volunteer experiences from a deeper history.
Volunteer experiences show you have interests and care that extends beyond the workplace. They are a part of your character.
11. Add Your Skills
Be sure to add the skills that matter most to your current function or the roles you’re applying to. Don’t include the skills you don’t have or don’t matter in a professional sense. Again, this should reflect what’s on your resume – consider your soft and technical skills.
This should be a given, but sometimes it just needs to be said.
It’s always better to be forthright with a prospective employer and let them know you’re willing to learn new technology or skills rather than say you have a history of it that doesn’t actually exist.
12. Ask for Endorsements from Your Peers
As you connect with people on LinkedIn and grow your network, reach out for peer endorsements.
This way, you will have ready-to-use job references anytime. Prospective employers will probably still ask you for a few emails or phone numbers when you’re on the job hunt, but these can be used to make a great first impression as well on the network.
13. Add Your Accomplishments
If this section is slim, don’t worry. Especially if you’re early in your career, prospective employers won’t be too worried.
Often times, candidates list their achievements within the descriptions of each of their job histories.
Whether you have a job and are using these LinkedIn profile best practices to enhance your resume for an uncertain future or just to improve your visibility, or are searching for new opportunities and use these LinkedIn profile best practices to land a job, we hope they help you create your best LinkedIn profile to date!
If you are searching for an opportunity in the business and technology sector, learn more about what Ledgeview Partners can offer you here.