LinkedIn is the professional cousin of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s the place people go to find jobs, connect with colleagues, and scout out potential hires. Basically, if it’s related to work, it’s happening on LinkedIn. And, with more than 722 million members, there’s a lot of profiles to sift through, so how do you make yours stand out?
Whether you’re looking for your next career move or are a manager on the hunt for your next employee, optimizing your LinkedIn profile so it’s visible in search engines and attracts the right people is crucial.
We’ve put together this useful guide to help you optimize every part of your profile - from the headline to your skill section - so you show up in the search results.
1. Complete every section of your profile
Every section counts on your LinkedIn profile. It might seem like your bio is the only thing people read, but by only filling that out, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting “nexted” for someone who has taken the time to fill out the entirety of their information.
Think about it: if you’re choosing between two new potential hires and one has a comprehensive profile packed full of information and the other simply has a two-paragraph bio, which one are you going to choose?
The more you can tell readers about who you are and what you do, the better, and the easiest way to do that is to fill out every section. This will also help you show up in search results since LinkedIn favors profiles that have been fully chalked out.
2. Hack your headline
LinkedIn headlines are one of the first things people will see when they land on a profile - so make it pop! It doesn’t have to be the fanciest headline in the world, but at the very least, it should include a few choice keywords and clearly explain what you do.
When crafting your headline, think about:
- Adding high-volume keywords that will help you show up in the search results
- Writing a clear description of what you do so that readers are instantly in the know
- Highlighting which industry you work in to help recruiters identify if you’re a good fit
Get creative with your headline but make sure it also provides all the key information someone who lands on your profile might need.
This headline clearly states that Jason is a keynote speaker on specific topics, but it also lists other skills he has.
3. Get a professional headshot done
First impressions matter and your photo will give readers a quick glimpse into who you are. Grainy pictures, unprofessional pictures, or a photo where it’s unclear that it’s you can all be detrimental to your job (or employee) search.
Rather than uploading the last selfie you took, consider getting a professional photoshoot done to put your best foot forward. Most professional shots you see on LinkedIn are headshots from the shoulders up with the subject looking at the camera and smiling.
Genevieve’s profile picture has a plain white background and she’s clearly smiling at the camera, which gives her profile a warm, welcoming feel.
4. Create a compelling personal bio
Your personal bio should tell the story of you, with the aim of differentiating your skills from the next person. It should also showcase your personality and achievements at the same time. It’s a tall order.
Instead of providing a chronological timeline of your career, think about what a reader would want to know about you:
- What exactly do you do?
- How exactly can you help them?
- Why should they choose you?
- What makes you better than the next person?
If you can answer these questions in your bio while also showing off a bit of your personality, you’ll be golden. Take Katie Clancy’s bio, for example:
She uses a real-life scenario to hook the reader from the get-go before explaining why she is the best person for the job.
Top tip: use Jasper’s personal bio template to create a profile from scratch. Simply type in your personal information and the tone of voice you’d like to use and let the powerful AI do the hard work for you.
Your bio should be short and sweet, but if you find you have a lot of information you want to include, try packaging it up into persuasive bullet points. Jasper’s template can help you do this:
Sign up for Jasper’s Bootcamp to learn how to maximize the use of the templates.
5. Use a vanity URL
Ever wanted to send your LinkedIn profile URL to someone by email or messenger and realized that your URL is just a bunch of letters and numbers? Confusing, right?
Rectify this by using a custom URL for your profile that uses your name or another defining feature about you and your business. Not only is it much easier to fit on a business card or share at a networking event, but it can help your SEO efforts too. If someone searches for your name, your LinkedIn URL that includes your name is far more likely to show up than a URL made up of nonsensical letters and numbers.
Alan uses his name in his vanity URL.
6. Record name pronunciation
One of LinkedIn’s newest features is the ability for users to upload a recording of their preferred name pronunciation (no more awkward corrections!). It can currently only be done through the LinkedIn app, but it can help flesh out your profile and help recruiters, potential clients, employers, and colleagues learn more about you.
LinkedIn recommends doing the following when recording your name pronunciation:
- Keep the total recording time to under 10 seconds
- Make sure there’s little to no background noise
- Speak slowly and pronounce each syllable clearly
- Don’t hold the phone too close to your mouth
The speaker symbol next to Joseph’s name shows he has recorded his preferred name pronunciation.
7. Get recommendations from colleagues
Colleague recommendations act as professional testimonials to build trust and credibility on your profile. It’s a bit like reading a review from a past customer before buying a new product.
If you can, ask past and present colleagues to leave you a recommendation that will add an extra layer to your profile and show that you can do what you say you can.
8. Add skills and endorsements
Your skills and endorsements show potential employees what you’re capable of and go beyond just your current job title and past career moves.
Incorporating these add credibility to your profile and help you stand out against other candidates who perhaps have a different skillset from you. It’s an extension of the responsibilities you have in your job and, because the endorsements are given by colleagues and people you’ve worked with, they act as another form of professional social proof.
9. Optimize your profile for SEO
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile isn’t just about making sure you have all the right sections filled out with the right information. The more you optimize it for SEO, the higher it will show in LinkedIn search results and the more visibility you will get from the people you want to find you.
Here are some ways you can SEO your profile:
- Incorporate relevant keywords: research which search terms are regularly used in your industry and for your job role
- Create backlinks: link to your LinkedIn profile from other sites, whether it’s bylined articles, your own website, or other social media channels
- Publish posts: write content and publish it on LinkedIn about topics that are relevant to you and your industry
- Get involved in groups: share advice and answer questions in relevant industry groups and share your own content where possible
- Use hashtags: include hashtags in your posts and updates to increase your visibility in circles that might otherwise have missed you
Adam uses hashtags to make sure his post is seen by the right communities.
10. Brand your background image
LinkedIn profiles come with a standard blue header or cover photo that you’re probably pretty familiar with. However, if you want your profile to stand out, consider using that space to showcase your personal branding, your company identity, or other key information about yourself.
This is prime real estate as it’s one of the first things people see when they land on your profile, so make the most of it. Include your brand colors, add text about what you do, or simply create an eye-catching visual that’s memorable.
Luke uses his banner to clarify what he does and how he does it.
11. Join groups and build your network
LinkedIn is first and foremost a professional networking site. The aim is to connect with like-minded people in similar industries and get your name out there (whether you’re a brand or an individual!).
Besides connecting with people you know, consider asking for intros to people you admire and adding anyone who seems like they might be a good person to have in your network.
An easy way to start making quick connections without the fear of sending cold connection requests is to join relevant groups. There is pretty much a LinkedIn Group for everything possible, and they provide a chance for you to get to know other people in your industry, share ideas, promote your content, and ask and answer questions.
12. LinkedIn optimization for jobseekers
Looking for new job opportunities isn’t easy, but luckily LinkedIn makes it a lot easier than it used to be - in fact, three people are hired through LinkedIn every minute. Being able to connect with amazing companies and get yourself in front of top headhunters can make all the difference when it comes to applying for new jobs or changing careers.
Apart from following the above optimization tips, make sure your profile is geared towards the job you’re applying for and if you want to take it a step further, include the “open to work” tag on your profile. Make sure your current position and recent work experience is listed to give yourself the best chance possible.
Geoff’s profile has the “open to work” tag, which is visible as an overlay on his photo.
13. LinkedIn optimization for hiring
40 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs each week, making it one of the best places to find your next hire.
If you’re in this position, you can optimize your LinkedIn profile by adding “I’m hiring” to your title. This helps any potential employees quickly see that you’re on the hunt for new talent and pique their curiosity.
Christina has a #hiring tag on her profile photo to show that she’s looking for new employees.
Make your LinkedIn profile stand out
Your LinkedIn profile is often the first point of professional contact a potential employer, client, or new hire will have of you. It pays to take the time and effort to fill out your profile properly, including all the key sections and writing a compelling bio that separates you from other similar people or companies. Profile optimization is key, especially if you’re looking for a new role or are on the hunt for someone to hire.
Get started with Jasper to help you get your profile seen.