The world watched as LinkedIn grew from a networking platform to a one-stop solution for jobseekers across the world.

Networking is not about how many people you know; it is about how many people know you.

The LinkedIn profile has become a compulsory assumption rather than a preference. Which means, employers do not ask whether you have a LinkedIn profile anymore; they assume that you do.

Actually, a large number of job vacancies that are full by the course of time are never even announced to the public. In all other cases, they are occupied by people who have a LinkedIn connect with the employer.

According to Jobvite, over the last 6 years, 94% of recruiters have taken to social media for recruiting.

Your LinkedIn profile should clearly demonstrate the sort of job you are seeking and why you are the ideal candidate for that profile.

How do you want the world to see you professionally? What kinds of work do you enjoy doing? Why are you on LinkedIn? Those are the questions you should think about when creating your LinkedIn profile, so it’s aligned with your personal brand.

Our Guide on Optimizing your LinkedIn profile will broadly cover the following:

What is a LinkedIn profile?

LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals. It focuses on their educational qualifications, work history and professional interests.

An average LinkedIn account offers a multitude of features including:

  • Finding and adding professional contacts
  • Requesting and receiving recommendations to validate your expertise
  • Post your resume online and manage the information publicly available about you as a professional.
  • In order to receive necessary updates about job vacancies, news of specific companies and more, find those companies on LinkedIn and follow them.
  • To build your connections, you can create and join professional online networking groups based on industry, age, location and educational background.
  • Discover inside connections to help unlock the hidden job market
    and land jobs.
  • Post public messages and status which are typically professional in nature.
  • Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files, and solve
    problems.
  • Check notifications for how many times people have seen your profile; you also have the option to check who has viewed your profile.
  • Upload a digital portfolio.
  • Ask your connection with a lot of other connections to introduce you to them.
  • Post and distribute job listings to find talent for your company.

In fact the best feature that a LinkedIn profile provides is the ability to ask contacts in your network for solutions to professional challenges. The LinkedIn Answers feature leverages the power of the user’s trusted professional network to ask business-related questions and receive industry-specific answers in return.

Why do you need a LinkedIn Profile

When someone says they are not on Facebook (anymore), we can attach a million reasons for the same. Privacy. Distraction. Just looking for a change. Take your pick.

And in the post-privacy scandal era, there's an almost-magnetic borderline-hipster persona around not being on Facebook anymore.

Good use of LinkedIn can boost both SEO and organic visibility.

Your LinkedIn profile should be compatible with your other social media accounts. Also, the information you put on LinkedIn should be the same as your resume and shouldn't differ.

Your LinkedIn network of connections can also be used in multiple ways:

  • Use your connections to find jobs, business opportunities and people that are recommended to you by someone.
  • Recruiters can put up jobs and look for potential employees
  • Those looking for jobs can check a recruiter's profile and find which contacts in their connections can introduce you to them.

Here you’ll find invitations to connect, or become someone’s contact, as well as messages from contacts. You can send, delete, search for, and archive messages, too.

If you are a job seeker, you may be notified of job openings through messages, so don’t forget to check your inbox every so often — though you will get email notifications of these messages as well.

Note: You do not have to accept a request to connect.

Who uses LinkedIn?

According to LinkedInPedia, there are 6 types of people who use LinkedIn.

Job Seekers:

To actively seek out careers and find new opportunities

Active Passive
Professionals who are currently unemployed Professionals looking for a change

Recruiters

Representatives of companies that seek out human capital or talented individuals for their companies

How to make the most of LinkedIn?

  • In order to find the right candidates, you can use LinkedIn's advanced search functions.
  • Indulge in sharing latest news and updates regarding job openings and vacancies in your company.
  • Build lists of potential candidates.
  • In order to attract the potential right candidates, optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Business Development Professionals

Find and build potential connections and form relationships with them. Next, with the course of time, include them into the sales funnel and then sell them your services and products.

How to make the most of LinkedIn?

  • Share news and status updates to acquire the attention and traction of your target audience.
  • To get the advantage of selling your content on LinkedIn, optimize your content accordingly.
  • Form understanding and confidence amongst your connections for including them into your lead and sales funnel
  • For creating the interest of the target audience in your product or services, put on and promote marketing strategies like that of free trial and limited time offer.

Businessmen

The most important functions of businessmen is to create new partnerships with other entrepreneurs or to associate and collaborate with other organizations.

  • When trying to increase the consumer base of your brand, post lots of infographic as your status as they are the most preferred by LinkedIn instead of videos and pictures.

  • Another beneficial platform that LinkedIn offers is LinkedIn Pulse where you can get the conversations going via opinion-based leadership and field work articles, industry research, etc.

  • You can also opt for LinkedIn's Advanced Search Features and filter your target audience to connect to the people whom you don't know. To do this, click on the search bar and then click on Search For People option.

How to write a LinkedIn profile

The LinkedIn profile section looks familiar to that of a traditional resume. Most of its section correspond to the fields of a resume. You just have to fill the given sections as asked and your digital resume is ready.

You also have the option to include your contact information like your phone number and e-mail ID, a professional profile picture and background picture along with the option to add links of your website amongst others.

HIRATION PRO TIP: Optimize your profile so that it can be discovered and found by more people which will ultimately increase your connections, professional development and career seeking opportunities.

For optimizing your LinkedIn, you don't have to share any information that you are not comfortable sharing on the web.

The process

Signing UP / Signing IN

It is recommended you use your real name — the one you use in professional settings. You must have an email address to sign up.

Further, while personalizing your LinkedIn URL, draw a URL as close to your name as possible. This is to reduce any confusion on the recruiter's end and to enhance your resume experience.

Hiration PRO TIP: Your LinkedIn reflects your professional career and your trajectory. Make sure your password is strong and try to make your account as immune to hacking as possible. This is done by limiting the number of devices you log in from and updating the password on a regular basis.

The picture

Appear Professional but Friendly.

  • Put a professional profile picture but with a smile so that you look friendly and approachable.
  • Click the picture against a bright and solid background and make sure the picture you upload is of high resolution. It will make you standout.
  • Try to wear formal clothes to make your profile picture look more professional
  • Put a portrait photo as your profile picture and avoid putting a full size picture of yourself
  • A portrait photograph will also ensure that your face is clearly visible
  • Do not make weird and funny faces like a pout in the profile picture as it looks very unprofessional

LikedIn is increasingly becoming the hub for recruiters to look for their potential employees. Your profile should be optimized in such a way that the recruiter gets convinced at the first glance itself that you are their desired potential employee.

Ensure a strong first impression by optimizing your LinkedIn profile picture by following the instructions given above.

According to a survey, users with a professional profile picture get 14 times more profile views as compared to those with a casual profile picture.

The promise

The promise is what your profile expresses and how to manage what your prospective employer can view.

Optimizing your profile

To optimize your LinkedIn profile for the most preferred LinkedIn jobs:

  • Include a professional header
  • Introduce keywords in your job position or title.
  • Link to your company’s blog under “websites”.
  • Add a Twitter handle, if applicable.
  • Claim a unique URL to use for email signatures.
  • Include keywords in a well written summary.
  • List specialities and skills above the fold.
  • Moving recommendations closer to the top of the page.

Headline

Melanie Pinola in her book 'LinkedIn In 30 Minutes' directs users to make sure their LinkedIn profile has a targeted headline.

Not only should the headline clearly state your career focus, it’s also the most important place to add a keyword or two, because this influences how you appear in search results.

As Kent puts it, "POST with intention. REPOST with caution.”

Summary

Optimize your summary section by including key skills and achievements in it. In the summary section write 3-4 bullet points and summarize the your career in those points. This will give the recruiters a brief about your career.

While including skills in your summary section make sure you put skills that are specific to your trget profile. Highlight and prioritize your managerial and professinal skills like stakeholder management, business development, P&L Management, etc.

Also make sure not to write soft skills like communication, hard working, self-motivated, etc. because this leaves a negative impact on the recruiter makeing him think that you are just trying to fill up the blank space.

In addition to this, while adding your achievements in the summary, mention any important awards and recognition that you have achieved in your career till date. Also make it a point to quantify your performance throughout the summary section which acts as brownie points for the recruiters.

Skills

You have the option to add “skills” to your LinkedIn profile, but now you can do more with “skills.” You can track the top companies and LinkedIn profiles related to those skills, see related skills you may want to add to your profile, and find job openings related to those skills.

Keywords

Your LinkedIn profile must include keywords for specific skills that match your desired job.

Recommendations

Ask for recommendations from your co-workers, managers, boss, etc. Ask your supervisors to write you recommendations.

Hiration Pro Tip: Don't exchange recommendations. In fact, if someone has written a recommendation for you, we suggest not writing one back for at least 3 months.

Recommendations from managers and supervisors hold a lot of importance.

LinkedIn Profile vs. Resume

If you already have a nice, up-to-date resume, then it won't take long for you to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Nevertheless, there are big differences between the two. Address the following differences to ensure your LinkedIn profile shines:

Level of Specificity

Your traditional resume is tailored for a single opportunity, whereas your LinkedIn profile should speak to all potential employers. Get specific with each position on your profile, and include additional details, including accomplishments, awards, skills or special presentations.

The Length

It’s fair game to elaborate on LinkedIn. Include past positions, initiatives, skills, college projects, publications, and interests. But remember, it still needs to be concise and compelling. Most importantly, use the profile to tell your unique story.

Recommendations

There is no need to write recommendations in your resume, whereas your LinkedIn profile should be littered with third-party references. Recommendations allow employers to quickly assess the reliability and accuracy of your profile.

Profile as a Platform

Your LinkedIn profile is a platform where both job seekers and recruiters can interact, learn, and contact each other. It’s an interactive resume more than a statement of skills.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile to best utilize this platform.

Basic or Premium

Try the “Basic” account to start. You will likely find it meets all of your job-searching needs. Choosing a “Premium” plan may be advisable if you are a recruiter or hiring manager and would like extra tools to help you find qualified candidates.

LinkedIn Jobs

According to The 2016 Job Search Guide, these are the following steps in which you can optimize your LinkedIn profile to turn your future role into more than just a LinkedIn job:

  • STEP 1: Specialize & Evolve: Make a list of all of your skills and know where they can take you. Uncover what you’re best at and continue to hone those skills throughout your career.
  • STEP 2: Plot your Progress: Use your specialized skills as a compass for the future. Write a six month, twelve month, and two year plan describing how you want your career to progress and hold yourself accountable.
  • STEP 3: Define “Balance”: There’s no magic formula for work-life balance. Everyone’s different. Make a highly specific list with your top priorities in life and rank them honestly. How much time should you spend on personal versus professional pursuits? Only you can decide.
  • STEP 4: Combine Passion & Problem-Solving: Having passion for your work is wonderful. But it’s your ability to apply that passion to your organization’s most pressing problems that will ultimately allow you to grow with the business.
  • STEP 5: Create Lasting Relationships: Your network is your net worth. Surround yourself with individuals you admire to ensure learning, growth, and potential references down the line.

While expert Jodi Glickman suggests breaking out of your comfort zone as the initial criteria to build strong relationships, Chester Elton advocates that our skills, motivations and personality play an equal role in finding jobs and being satisfied with them.

Features & Possibilities

The LinkedIn Job search features:

  • Possible Connections: LinkedIn checks your network and automatically shows suggestions of people who you can connect with. These connection suggestions can include any new or even old people you know or were in contact with.

You can then send them the request to connect with them. In this way you can optimize your LinkedIn which will be of benefit to you when you'll be looking out for a job. The more recruiters you will have in your connections, the better it will be for you.

  • Targeted Insights: LinkedIn's new jobs page feature gives exclusive insights in terms of information about our connections. It shows who - from our former company or school alumni - works at the company of your interest.

So, this is another way in which connections can be of great help. You can reach out to your connection working at the place of your interest to know about any vacancies of the position you are looking for.

Jobs You Might Be Interested In: The information that you provide as part of your profile and the companies and people you search will all influence the line-up that LinkedIn provides under "Jobs you might be interested in". For customzing these line-ups, click on the 'Jobs' tab at the centre on top of your screen. Now on the two search bars that are there named 'Search Jobs' and 'Search Location', you can customize your searches on these search bars based on locations and industry to search from.

  • Meet the team: This feature lets you know more about the type of people you will work with you go on pursuing that opportunity. It shows people with related roles including their career highlights and skills.

To make the most of Linkedin Jobs:

  • Advanced Filtering: You can use this filter to search jobs by locations, seniority level, companies, industries and job functions.

  • Apply with Profile: This feature is essentially for the recruiters. It enables employers to allow the job seekers to submit their profiles directly via smartphones.

  • Job Alerts & Notifications: While searching for jobs, click on the star at the upper right corner in order to save your search. This will enable daily e-mail with new results that will be relevant to the saved search. Also, you can set up notifications to alert you whenever new jobs are posted which match the kind of jobs you are looking for.

Contacts

So, you came across this amazing company in which you don't have any connections with the employees. In such a situation, we've got your back. Follow the tips given below in order to personalize your LinkedIn request.

  • Finding Common Ground: Carry out research on the organization and the its employees whom you want to connect to. This way you will find a common ground to talk about.

  • On Point Talk: Talk to them about your intention of getting employed and keep the conversation relevant to the profile you're targeting and on point with a soft approach.

  • Keep It Short: Keep the conversation short and don't try to extend the it unnecessarily.

  • Two-way Networking: Tell him what you can offer in return for connecting and don't forget to say all your thank yous and pleases.

  • Connecting With Weak Ties: Connect with both personal and professional contacts. This includes all your family, friends, co-workers and their contacts.

Follow the below strategies for increasing your LinkedIn network:

  • Connecting With The Fringe Friends: There are always these people who study in your class in college and school whom you never spoke to. These are called fringe friends. Connect with these people on LinkedIn and you never know who might be of help to you.

  • Prioritise your top-notch connections: You will always find people in your list who have an enormous amount of connections. Go through your list, find those connections and then connect with their connections. They can open ways to an immense amount of future jobs.

  • Conversation contribution: Join professional groups of your interest and then indulge in conversations with people of that group to find more potential connections.

Add-ons

News

LinkedIn Newsfeed delivers news and industry updates based customized according to your professional interests in your selected categories.

Connections

Find Connections: The first thing you'll need to do is to sign up. Once you're signed up and have your account made, LinkedIn will ask your permission to find contacts for you by searching your e-mail inbox. By doing so it will show you the list of people in your contact who are already there on LinkedIn and with whom you can connect.

Also, LinkedIn will give you a suggestion list consisting of people you can connect with based on the information you filled while signing up on LinkedIn. This information includes your job, volunteer history, and education.

In addition to this you have the option to use the search bar given at the top left corner to search people in order to build your connections. This connections list of LinkedIn acts as a digital address book which can be very useful when it comes to getting hired.

Connect To More People: Click on 'My Network' option in the centre at the top of your screen to see more suggested connections for you. Scroll through that list and once you find someone with whom you want to connect with, click on 'Connect' button at the bottom of that particular persons suggestion page. As soon as you'll click on 'Connect' an automatic message will show up asking how you know that person.

Select which ever option is applicable and then click 'Send'. The person whom you send the request to connect also gets an automated e-mail in which you have the option to customize it if you feel like.

Sort Your Connections: Once you've added all your contacts, you can access all your connections through categories and filters based on group members, company, industry, location, recently updated profiles, etc.

Network Connection Statistics:You can also check out how many connections you have, how many connections they can connect you to, which connections are specific to your industry, and where they are located.

LinkedIn Jobs

Discover job openings: You can find jobs by job title, location, industry, etc. LinkedIn will also suggest jobs to you based on the information you’ve shared. Recruiters may also contact you based on your online profile.

Learn about the job requirements and company: If you click on a job opening, you will usually find out when the job was posted, what skills and experiences are required, other details like benefits, and what company — and often who within the company posted the position. Plus, you can usually see how many people have clicked on and applied for the job through LinkedIn already. You can also see a link to the company’s LinkedIn profile, so you can follow the company to get notifications of news and job openings.

Apply for jobs: After you search for jobs, you can save them to the “Saved
Jobs” section of LinkedIn for future reference. You can usually also apply
to the job directly through LinkedIn or find out how to apply online.

The more complete your profile is, the more likely you are to find jobs that fit you — and the more likely recruiters and hiring managers are to find you when they search for candidates for their job openings.

Tips

Increase your visibility by having at least 75-100 connections. By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that your profile will be seen first when people are searching for talent.

  • Enhance your connections by not only listing your current or last employer, but all of them. Add your LinkedIn profile to your e-mail signature so people have a quick way of learning more about you.
  • Improve your Google Page Rank. LinkedIn profiles receive a high PageRank in
    Google, so it’s a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.
  • Make your interview go smoother. When you have an interview, look up the people you’re meeting. Chances are high that they’re on LinkedIn, so you’ll know more about them before you meet them.
  • Gage the health of a company. You can search companies on LinkedIn to see who’s been recently hired, the rate of turnover, and if key people are jumping ship.
  • Track start-ups. You can see people in your network who are initiating new companies.
  • Identify warm leads into companies that appeal to you. Some of your connections may be linked to people either in companies or jobs that appeal to you. Ask for introductions in your quest for information.

Key Takeaways

  1. Over the fold, you should include full credentials - name, location, current (or former) title, past positions, and educational credentials.

  2. Your LinkedIn summary should focus on - your professional experience, background and interests. Use it to highlight who you are (your skills) and what you’re recognized for (your achievements).

  3. The field for skills allows you to list your areas of expertise that will help potential employers to find you when they’re seeking talent.

  4. The experience section should be sorted in chronological order. It must include: the name of your past/present employer, your designation, your main responsibilities and your accomplishments in a bulleted format.

You may add a description of your company or tell a story about how you added value.

Hiring managers seek individuals whose past performance had a positive impact on the viability of the organization.

  1. The education section should be listed in chronological order. Include the name of the school, its location and the degree you received. You may further with some associated activities and honors.

  2. The additional information element gives you the chance to give users more insight into your professional qualifications by adding some websites, groups, and interests.

  3. Make every effort to obtain at least 3-5 recommendations from former managers, peers and direct reports. These help illustrate your achievements, project credibility, and reasons why people enjoy working with you.

  4. Be sure that your profile is available for public viewing at all times – especially if you’re looking for a new job.

Got more queries around optimizing your LinkedIn profile? Reach out to us at team@hiration.com and our experts will get back to you.