How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile: Stand Out to Employers, Recruiters

With so many people job hunting now, you've got more competition than ever on LinkedIn. So how do you make your LinkedIn profile work best for you? Here's some practical tips for standing out from the crowd and reaching potential employers.

By C.G. Lynch
Tue, January 06, 2009

CIO — As the economy falls deeper into recession, many people have turned to LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, to job hunt and connect with contacts who might help them land a new gig. But career experts say your LinkedIn job-hunting efforts will all be for naught if you don't build your profile page properly and ensure that it is search-friendly for potential employers and recruiters.

You can take some simple steps (all free of charge) to ensure that you've done everything possible to differentiate your LinkedIn profile from the others, career management experts say. These steps will make it more likely that recruiters and other LinkedIn users will find you serendipitously when they navigate and search the site.

We've arranged these tips (roughly) in the order they appear on a LinkedIn profile page. In order to change your profile, log into LinkedIn and go the left menu. Click on the aptly named "Edit my profile" link.

Picture

While you don't necessarily need to pay a professional photographer, it's important to upload a picture to your LinkedIn profile, says Jason Alba, CEO of Jibberjobber.com, a career management firm, and author of the book I'm On LinkedIn — Now What?.

"It doesn't have to be amazing, but a picture just makes your profile a lot more personable," Alba says. "With the way digital cameras are nowadays, just put on a suit and have your friend take some pictures and crop it in."

Professional Headline

Like the New York Times has its slogan "all the news that's fit to print," your professional tagline should sum you up for the LinkedIn reader, very concisely.

Because the professional tagline occupies the prime real-estate immediately below where your name is, you really want to make this one count, says Kirsten Dixson, a career management consultant who specializes in helping people utilize web applications for their professional endeavors.

"It's how you position yourself right away in the reader's mind," Dixson says. "It should be a shortened version of your personal brand."

According to Alba of Jibberjobber.com, if you have a job, it's not necessary for you to use your actual title, especially since that appears in the "current" jobs section of your LinkedIn profile section. If you're looking for a job, "think of the tagline as your ten second pitch," he says. "It's not easy to do [in so small a space], but make sure you get a clear message in there of what you're about professionally."

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