LinkedIn has become one of the best job hunting grounds for professionals. Swarmed with recruitment consultants, LinkedIn seems to be teeming with opportunities – particularly for those in finance, media, advertising and technology. This ever-growing social network for professionals allows individuals to create resumes online without even touching HTML.
Since it also allows recruiters to find candidates, candidates to look up the company/employees and companies to check candidates it’s a win-win-win situation. The problem is that if your LinkedIn profile is weak then neither recruiters nor companies will not find you. That means no one wins. If you want everyone in that ‘recruiter-you-company’ circle to win, follow these simple steps and your LinkedIn profile will be out there with the best.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 1
100% Profile completeness
One of the most important factors influencing how high up in search results your LinkedIn profile appears is your profile completeness. Whilst next steps will go into more details on how to optimise your profile, keep that at the back of your mind. Reaching 100% profile completeness is a must.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 2
Make sure your profile is visible outside your connections
Another thing to check is whether your LinkedIn profile and activity broadcast (shares, tweets, etc.) is visible to people outside of your connections network. Just go to your account settings and turn on visibility settings.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 3
Add as many connections as possible/suitable
Although this seems like a no brainer, it’s crucial that you’re connected to as many friends, colleagues, teachers, fellow students, etc. LinkedIn provides a useful ‘People You May Know’ functionality (under Contacts). Whilst you might not know all people on that list, you will find many people you haven’t thought about too. Once you’re connected, check out you new connections’ groups and see if any of them are worth joining.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 4
Optimise your profile
If you think about it, LinkedIn uses similar metrics to Google when it comes to ranking relevant search results. The good thing with LinkedIn is that it’s relatively easier to improve your LinkedIn profile rankings than it is with Google.
Firstly, make sure that you change your profile URL so it ends with your first name and surname – see my profile for example – Artur Jach. This will help to get your public LinkedIn profile to rank on page 1 in Google when someone searches for your name.
Secondly, make sure that you repeat relevant keywords in the summary, previous experience, skills, interests, honors and awards, and education sections. At the same time remember that you’re writing it for real people so make sure it still reads well. There are many angles you can take and topics you can use to find opportunity to include keywords, e.g. your responsibilities, clients, achievements, university module names, etc.
Thirdly, make use of the headline (below your name) and include relevant keywords in there too. If it’s the job that you’re after you can also include your email address in the headline – make it easier for recruiters and companies to get in touch. Whilst you’re editing the headline you must specify you location and industry. This will increase your chances of ranking well for industry or location based searches.
Lastly, make use of three external link opportunities (under Websites). Link out to your blog or a website, your employer’s site or any other site that is relevant to what you’re trying to achieve by improving your profile. One thing to note here is that when you edit the ‘Websites’ section you can select ‘Other’ from the drop down and customise the link anchor text. This can boost the level of optimisation of the destination website.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 5
Maximise relevant & minimise irrelevant experience info
This should be straight forward. If you’re after being more visible for the search term ‘web developer’ then expand on your professional or academic experience relating to development. Although it’s worth mentioning your previous jobs, there’s no need to write essays about your work as a chef or a builder.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 6
Make yourself contactable
There are several areas in your LinkedIn profile where you can provide contact information:
- Personal Information section
- Add your email address to the headline
- Configure the built-in Twitter functionality (if you are on Twitter)
- Provide a link to external page with your contact details in the ‘Websites’ section
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 7
Ask for recommendations. Then ask again!
From this step onwards we get to optional activities which can make your profile really stand out and what can make it that 10% better than others.
Recommendations are very important factor for LinkedIn as well as for potential recruiters and employers. They are also very difficult to get. However, once you get 2-4 good recommendations from your friends, colleagues, associates or family it will not only help your credibility but also profile visibility on LinkedIn. If you’re familiar with SEO, think about recommendations as inbound /external links from high quality websites. Additionally, people giving you recommendations are likely to include relevant keywords in your recommendation.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 8
Join relevant industry groups
Joining relevant LinkedIn groups is like vote of confidence – you effectively tell LinkedIn you actively seek industry news and you deserve to be visible. I want to stress the word ‘relevant’ here. The group name and conversations taking place within it can be matched with keywords you optimised your LinkedIn profile for in previous steps.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 9
Participate in groups and share news
You can improve your LinkedIn profile ranking further by actively participating and engaging in group discussions. Sharing interesting and relevant articles with the group helps as well. I’ve seen massive improvements in my own profile rankings after sharing my SEO related blog posts with SEO focused groups. Strongly recommended!
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 10
Create an active industry group
You can also take it a step further and create your own group. If you’re a specialist in the area and don’t mind spending 15-30 minutes a week managing the group then why not? This is another activity which helped me to push my own LinkedIn profile up for target keywords.
Best LinkedIn Profile – Step 11
Use LinkedIn applications and link with your Twitter
Yet another add-on which allows showing off your skills and knowledge (and number of keywords on your profile page) is LinkedIn Applications. Although some are better than others, I’d definitely recommend configuring the ‘BlogLink’ or ‘WordPress’ (to display your blog’s RSS feed) and ‘Google Presentation’ or ‘SlideShare’ (to show off your awesome presentations).
Although discussed in previous steps, make sure you link your Twitter account so your Twitter feed is displayed on your profile. Note you have to make it visible to the outside world by changing activity broadcast settings.