Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Whether you have a job or are looking for a new role, LinkedIn is a great place to establish your professional online presence. It’s important to optimize your LinkedIn profile to showcase your unique skills and experience, to build your professional network, and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. By following our recommendations for must-have and nice-to-have content in each section of your profile, you can create a profile that will make you stand out.
Your profile picture is the first impression that you make on LinkedIn. It is important to choose a professional-looking photo that shows your face clearly. Your photo should be a headshot or a photo that shows you from the shoulders up. Dress appropriately for your industry, smile, and look directly at the camera. Avoid using selfies, group photos, or photos that are blurry or pixelated.
- Good example: A clear headshot with a neutral background and a professional outfit.
- Better example: A headshot that shows the candidate smiling and looking confident.
Clear Headline Featuring Your Targeted Skills
Your headline appears right under your name on your LinkedIn profile. It is the first thing people see after your profile picture, so make it count. Your headline should be clear, concise, and accurately reflect your skills and experience. Include specific words that describe your skills and achievements.
- Good example: Project Manager with strong leadership and organizational skills.
- Better example: Project Manager with a proven track record of delivering complex projects on time and within budget.
- Best example: Dynamic Project Manager with expertise in developing and implementing innovative solutions to complex problems.
Think of this as your LinkedIn “elevator pitch.” Your summary is your opportunity to introduce yourself and tell your story. It should be well-written, engaging, and highlight your strengths, skills, and experience. Use keywords relevant to your industry and focus on your achievements and goals. In the examples below, note how calling out soft skills and connecting them to business results can enhance the impact.
- Must-have content: A summary of your professional background, highlighting your key achievements, skills, and values.
- Nice-to-have content: Examples of successful projects you’ve led, any relevant industry awards or recognition, and a statement about your vision for the future.
- Good example: Project manager with experience leading cross-functional teams to deliver complex software projects on time and within budget. Strong skills in project planning, risk management, and team building.
- Better example: Passionate project manager with a proven track record of delivering innovative solutions to complex problems. Skilled in stakeholder management, strategic planning, and team development.
- Best example: Highly motivated project manager with a history of successful project delivery. Experienced in Agile methodologies, risk management, and change management. Focused on delivering value to stakeholders and driving business growth.
Your experience section is the heart of your LinkedIn profile. It should be detailed, easy to read, and highlight your achievements in each role. List your current or most recent job first, and then list your previous positions in reverse chronological order. Use bullet points to describe your responsibilities and achievements in each role and use active verbs to demonstrate your impact.
- Must-have content: A detailed list of your previous job titles, employers, and the dates you worked there. A summary of your responsibilities and achievements in each role.
- Nice-to-have content: Examples of specific projects you’ve led or contributed to, any relevant industry awards or recognition, and any volunteer or community involvement that demonstrates your leadership skills.
- Good example: Project Manager at XYZ Company, responsible for managing multiple projects simultaneously. Successfully delivered a project on time and within budget, resulting in a 15% increase in revenue.
- Better example: Senior Project Manager at ABC Company, responsible for overseeing the development of new product line. Led a team of 10 project managers, resulting in a 20% increase in efficiency and a 25% reduction in project timelines.
- Best example: Director of Project Management at XYZ Corporation, responsible for overseeing a portfolio of 20 projects with a combined budget of $50 million. Led a team of 50 project managers and successfully delivered all projects on time and within budget, resulting in a 30% increase in revenue and a 40% increase in customer satisfaction.
Your skills section is a great way to showcase your expertise and highlight your strengths. List the skills that are most relevant to your industry and job, and make sure they are specific and measurable. Endorsements from your connections can also add credibility to your skills.
- Must-have content: A list of your key skills, including both hard and soft skills. Make sure they are relevant to your industry and job.
- Nice-to-have content: Endorsements from your connections that demonstrate your skills, and any certifications or training that validate your expertise.
- Good example: Project management, Agile methodologies, risk management, team building, stakeholder management.
- Better example: Project management, Scrum, Six Sigma, risk management, change management, team building, stakeholder management, conflict resolution.
- Best example: Project management, Agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban), Six Sigma, risk management, change management, team building, stakeholder management, conflict resolution, negotiation.
Recommendations from previous employers, colleagues, or clients can add credibility and demonstrate your skills and expertise. Ask for recommendations from people you have worked with in the past, and make sure to thank them for their time and effort.
- Must-have content: At least three recommendations that demonstrate your skills and expertise. Ideally, these recommendations should come from people you have worked with in the past.
- Nice-to-have content: Recommendations that are specific to a particular skill or project, and any recommendations from industry leaders or influencers.
- Good example: “John is an excellent project manager who consistently delivered projects on time and within budget. He is a great communicator and works well with cross-functional teams.” – Former colleague.
- Better example: “I had the pleasure of working with John on a complex software development project. He was an excellent leader who kept the team motivated and on track. His expertise in Agile methodologies was instrumental in delivering the project on time and within budget.” – Former client.
- Best example: “John is a dynamic project manager who has a strong track record of delivering innovative solutions to complex problems. He is a great communicator and works well with stakeholders at all levels. His leadership and strategic thinking have been instrumental in driving our business growth.” – CEO of former employer.
Putting a Bow on It
Great speakers wrap up with a tight summary that brings the total package together; sometimes this finishing touch is referred to as “putting a bow on it.” You’ll know you’ve found your bow when each section of content seems to fit together, completing the circle of your story. The bow is sometimes a memorable phrase or description that you’ve introduced in your summary and want to be sure your reader walks away with. It’s a something you can lead with in a personal outreach, for example, “I’m the guy who translates the lingo, so people can connect with the goals.”
Creating an optimum LinkedIn profile requires attention to detail and a focus on the key elements that make you stand out. Optimizing your LinkedIn Profile is the polish you can put on your online presence to showcase your strengths, skills, and achievements.
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