Not all roads lead to the perfect career. That’s why it’s called a career journey, with twists and turns and likely many lessons learned along the way. How you embraced the journey is what matters to potential employers: the skill sets you’ve developed, how you’ve navigated change and overcome challenges.
Your LinkedIn profile serves as a digital and visual representation of this journey and your unique personal brand. Capturing your professional experience in one place helps you best represent yourself and tell your story. Your LinkedIn profile can be your ticket to a variety of new opportunities like partnerships, jobs, volunteering, or new business.
It’s always a good time to think about how you can spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few suggestions to make it shine.
Tell the world who you are and where you want to go
It sounds simple, but start with your profile photo. Profiles with a photo get seen 21 times more often than those without. Your profile photo should be professional yet approachable, giving people a true sense of your personality. And, don’t forget to add a background cover photo that supports it and works with the story you are sharing about yourself.
Equally important is your summary. Your summary is the first section people visit to read about you when visiting your profile, and it’s worth taking a little extra time to capture your professional strengths and unique capabilities. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself though. Try to sum up your experience in about 40 words, and think about keywords relevant to future job opportunities to help you be found.
Recommendations from professors, alumni, managers, colleagues, and even direct reports help validate what you’re saying about yourself and helps people understand a little more about what you’re like to work with. Whether you’ve been working for a few days or a few decades, don’t be afraid to ask for one and perhaps offer one in exchange.
Finally, location, location, location. Adding your home-base city makes you up to 23 times more discoverable in searches, making it even easier for you to be connected to your next opportunity or to be found by an old friend or colleague.
Highlight your expertise
Keeping your experience up to date pays off. Not surprisingly, professionals who have their current position listed on their profile are discovered up to 16 times more in recruiter searches. And if you’re not in a current position, don’t worry. Consider instead adding something about the industry or job you’re pursuing, for example “seeking opportunities in accounting.”
Also, don’t overlook crafting summaries for each job you’ve had in your experience section. This gives your audience more insight into your skills and background. Write a crisp summary or two-to-three bulleted sentences that share your strengths and key achievements in that position.
Eighty-seven percent of recruiters agree the skills a candidate lists are crucial as they vet them. Skill Assessments allows you to represent your expertise and show your strengths. Our data shows that people who complete LinkedIn Skill Assessments are up to 30% more likely to get hired.
Another way to demonstrate your expertise and build relationships with your connections is by sharing news, ideas, and perspectives to the feed and to help others stay informed. This is a great way to stay engaged with your network, for others to learn more about you, and an easy way to keep your profile up to date, as the posts you share can also be found in the activity section of your profile.
Tell the LinkedIn community what you need help with
Your profile is the perfect place to signal your needs to your professional community. Let people know what you want. Are you interested in a new job or volunteer opportunity? Need a recommendation on service providers? A service provider yourself, and want to grow your business? Signaling your intent through your profile will help you grow professionally.
If you’re looking for a new job opportunity, you can simply activate the Open to Job Opportunities feature when you update your profile. You can choose whether all LinkedIn members can see your status–or only recruiters searching to fill positions in which you may be interested. Plus, you can select the specific titles and job locations you’re targeting, allowing your profile page to work behind-the-scenes to help you land your dream job.
In 2019, we made it easier for freelancers, service providers, and entrepreneurs to list their services on their profile and let the LinkedIn community know they’re open for business and discoverable from a LinkedIn search. More than 130,000 service providers and freelancers have opted in to this feature to grow their business since we rolled it out globally.
Your profile is the gateway to your professional career success, so let the world know what makes you special. By making these updates to your LinkedIn profile now, you’ll be showcasing the very best of you and your strengths. It’s a small investment you can make now to prepare your career for the next decade and beyond.
Pete Davies is the senior director of Consumer Products at LinkedIn.