LinkedIn - standing out

Standing Out in the Crowd: Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted on Posted in Strategy

You know you need to be on LinkedIn to make yourself more visible for potential employment, whether you’re looking for a standard nine-to-five gig or contract or freelance work. But do you know how your profile stacks up against others in your field? How can you show up in more searches? When employers do find you, how can you encourage them to see the full breadth of your qualifications? Social media is no longer a sidenote to your resumé; it’s what gets you in the door. Ninety-two percent of recruiters say they use social media to find applicants, and 87 percent of those who do use it, focus on LinkedIn.

The Content of Your Profile

Online marketing experts have long claimed “content is king,” and LinkedIn is no different. Once people get past the visual appeal of your profile, you’ll need to deliver some substance. Your LinkedIn profile is an online resumé, so be sure to fill out all fields for a complete profile. Here are a few must-haves:

  • Your industry and location
  • Work samples or links to past projects
  • At least two prior places of employment
  • Educational information
  • At least three skills

You can also highlight volunteer work and any awards you’ve received related to your field.

Visual Appeal

If you’d like employers to get to the content mentioned above, you’ll need an attractive package that showcases your best aspects. Certain visual elements can also help you show up higher in search results.

Your Profile Picture

Your profile picture should be a professional-looking headshot, and it should take into account the specific expectations of your job title or industry. A freelance photographer might have a more casual profile picture than the CEO of an engineering firm, for example. Stay away from selfies, logos or pictures of your pet.

Rearrange Your Profile

You can move the sections of your profile around to put your best attributes where they’ll be seen first. Maybe you’ve done some impressive volunteer work in your field or received a prestigious award; you can move that to the top. You can also use bulleted lists and icons for visual appeal; just don’t go overboard and get too cutesy.

Include Keywords

Including keywords for your particular industry will not only help you show up higher in search results but will get the visual attention of those viewing your profile. You can include your name as a keyword in a vanity URL by editing your default LinkedIn URL from the usual random string of numbers. Add keywords to your headline, which defaults to your last place of employment or customize the links to your website or blog.


When your profile is ready to go, it’s time to start making some connections, increasing your profile’s visibility. Have your connections add endorsements or write full recommendations that show up next to a specific skill. Join groups related to your industry, and connect to people you know. If they may not know who you are, justify the request in the notes section with something like “recently bought your book” or “saw you speak at such-and-such conference.”

More and more companies and recruiting agencies are consulting social media, and many of them start with LinkedIn. If you make a positive first impression, you have a better chance of moving onto the interview stage.



Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’’>grafner / 123RF Stock Photo</a>