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I’ve talked a lot about how important LinkedIn is, and have also discussed how to optimize your LinkedIn profile by doing things like creating an engaging summary, however today I wanted to talk about the little details that make a big impact. Here are five ways to improve your LinkedIn profile in 10 minutes or less. Yes, you heard that right, you can improve your LinkedIn profile in 10 minutes or less! It’s a lot easier than you think.
Change your LinkedIn profile URL
This is one of the easiest ways to make your LinkedIn profile look more professional. When you create a LinkedIn profile, by default your profile URL will be something along the lines of https://linkedin.com/in/firstname-lastname-99765bxkjhjhy with that ugly long string of random letters and numbers at the end of the link.
You can change that! You can actually change your LinkedIn profile URL to almost anything after the linkedin.com/in, however, I recommend sticking with something along the lines of your first name and last name. If your first and last name are taken, try adding a simple number (i.e. birth year, graduation year, etc.), middle initial, or something else fairly neutral. I’ve seen people use city or state initials too which works.
The goal is to make your LinkedIn profile URL more simple, clean, and easy to remember. Here’s a step by step guide on how to change your LinkedIn profile URL.
Change your headline
By default, LinkedIn will make your headline whatever your current job title is, but your headline can be a lot more interesting than that! You can manually go in and change your LinkedIn headline.
By updating your headline, you’ll gain two major benefits. 1) Your headline will be more interesting and will be more likely to grab someone’s attention. 2) Integrating keywords into your headline makes you more searchable and will increase your chances of coming up on related keyword searches. (There are recruiters who spend the entirety of their days scouring LinkedIn for potential candidates.) You want your headline to grab someone’s attention and use keywords and phrases so that you come upon keyword searches.
Here’s a great example of a headlining statement:
“Accomplished IT professional offering 20+ years of progressive leadership in technical assistance and an expertise in client-facing communication”
This statement uses key phrases such as “leadership”, “technical assistance”, and “client-facing communication” while highlighting this person’s extensive experience (20+ years). The statement is much more effective than simply using the job title “IT Help Desk Manager”.
Update your photos
Having a great LinkedIn profile photo is essential, (members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages) however many people don’t realize that including a background photo is an important element of a great LinkedIn profile as well.
One of the amazing qualities about LinkedIn is that it lets you put a face to a name, which subconsciously establishes an emotional connection. You’re much more likely to remember someone who you’ve seen a picture of than simply remembering their name out of a stack of resumes. Including a background photo provides further insight as to who you are and what your personality is like. This helps strengthen that connection with the reader.
Your cover photo or background photo gives you the opportunity to highlight your personality and/or your field of work. If you’re feeling stuck on what kind of photo to use, try going with one of these two options: Pick a photo related to your career (my background photo is a photo I took of a keyboard). If you want to show more personality, pick a photo that you connect with. If you like hiking or camping in a certain place, pick a landscape image of that area. If you’re from a specific city that adds to your identity, pick a cityscape. If you do pick a photo without obvious correlation, be sure to reference it somewhere in your summary.
For example, if you picked a landscape of a hiking location you love, you could say something along the lines of “when I’m not working, you’ll often find me outside either hiking or camping…”
This is an easy way to optimize your profile and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Add skills to the skills section of your resume. Figure out what kind of jobs you want to attract and include related search terms.
An easy way to figure out what terms to include on your profile is to look at a job description posted on LinkedIn. Often LinkedIn will show you the keywords that they are looking for and will tell you what terms you have and have not included throughout your profile.
Use these as a guide to figure out what skills to add in the skills section. This will vastly improve your LinkedIn visibility and will help you attract attention from recruiters and hiring managers.
Ask for a recommendation
Referrals, recommendations, and testimonials are a huge part of building online trust and maximizing your online footprint. When a trusted friend tells you about a business, you transfer that trust to the company. Similarly, when a trusted industry professional recommends a person, you transfer that trust onto the person they are referring. LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to highlight your expertise and leverage your connections.
If you’re stumped on how to reach out to someone about writing you a LinkedIn recommendation, try phrasing it like this:
Hope this note finds you well! I’m working on building my online footprint and I was wondering if you would be willing to share some feedback on your experience working with me? If so, I’d really appreciate it if you could write me a short LinkedIn recommendation.
Thanks, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor!