When it comes to creating or updating your LinkedIn profile, professional branding is key. It is extremely important to pay attention to how your profile is being represented. LinkedIn is a powerful platform that benefits job seekers just as much as hiring managers or employers. To date, it is the world’s largest professional network which helps people link to jobs or internships, connect to other members and strengthen professional relationships, and learn skills necessary to advance in their career. By building a profile strategically, not only will this lead you to more global exposure but as well as an increase in the number of job opportunities coming in.

Source: https://news.linkedin.com/about-us#Statistics

With this population, chances are you are going to be unnoticeable to recruiters and hiring managers unless you take proactive initiative to boost your presence on the platform. While it may be true that you are not in the market right now for a new job, your LinkedIn profile should still be leveraged as a tool to brand yourself professionally. Needless to say, creating a strong and attractive profile is also paramount to racking up notices and interests from potential employers.

Here are some tips to make your profile stand out:

  1. 1. Keep everything up-to-date

Did you know that Resume Lab reports 45% of LinkedIn users have outdated info on their profiles?

If you are using the platform to help you find a new role or engage with other members, then it is only reasonable to bring your LinkedIn profile up to date, polished and informative. If you are available for a new job, for example, you can switch your profile to “Open to work” mode. Recruiters out there are always on the hunt for talent like you. If you do not regularly update your skills, abilities, job role, or even location, then you are less likely to appear in their searches and therefore get easily passed by.

2. Choose the right profile picture

It goes without saying, but your profile picture is a major component of your LinkedIn profile which generates an impression of you from the get-go. In this digital age, one can potentially judge you basing only on a mere profile picture, so you might as well showcase a photo that best represents who you are in the professional world.

This article has a guideline on how to improve your profile photo (as well as the banner).

What is commonly overlooked is the banner or cover photo. While some people leave it blank, you can utilize this section of your profile to visually expound on what you do or how you perform. If you hardly have any digital design experience, you can use free online graphic design platforms such as Canva and Venngage to DIY a banner that subtly advertises your contact information, professional identity, mission, tagline, services, new events, new products, etc.

3. Make your headline clear

Apart from your picture, the headline is another critical point which helps your profile visitors decide whether they will reach out to you or leave. This 120-character portion of your profile is also a weighty element in LinkedIn’s search algorithm when the platform determines which profiles to display when users are doing their searches.

To quote Biteable, “Believe it or not, your LinkedIn profile is actually a sales page. In this case, the product you are selling is you: what you can do for a prospective employer or potential client.

There is a lot of noise competing for people’s attention. Your LinkedIn headline needs to do quite a bit of work — something like 80 percent of the work — quickly.”

Here, you can find some elaborate tips on how to create an impactful headline.

4. Describe your professional experience

To give your profile a more complete look, a description for each of your job is necessary. Be sure to write it clearly and concisely to keep your readers engaged. Minimize the use of conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs to steer away from being superfluous. Your key duties and responsibilities should be between 5 to 10 sentences, with a strong emphasis on your top skills. Start your sentences with verbs such as: “managed,” “increased,” “delivered,” “led,” “grew,” “saved,” etc. Add your major achievements in the company and elaborate on how you brought value. Mention the specific actions taken and the results achieved. Be sure to also use relevant keywords that will increase your searchability on the platform.

5. List relevant skills

To support the content of your Headline and Summary, try to avoid generic skills and mention only the ones relevant to what you do. At a glance, the Skills and Endorsement section of your profile will tell recruiters and hiring managers what you are most proficient in; and will also allow other members to give you endorsement for those skills.

Apart from job titles, industries and keywords, talent sourcers or employers search on skills. The platform lets you list down a total of 50. Although you can feature as many as possible for an increased chance of searchability, keep in mind to focus more on the right ones applicable to your industry or your field and list them based on their relevancy. Update this section regularly as you acquire new skills through classes and certifications.

Here’s another tip: rather than manually keying in some skills yourself, choose the ones that LinkedIn suggests, as they are the keywords used frequently by recruiters on their searches.

6. Take a skills assessment test

It is a lot easier to show how well you do at something than merely stating it. That’s why LinkedIn has rolled out LinkedIn Skill Assessments to help members demonstrate the level of their expertise by taking an online test. Early results of this particular LinkedIn feature show that candidates have a better chance of getting hired when they have verified job skills. Interestingly enough, a LinkedIn research also suggests that

“69% of professionals think verified skills are more important than college education when job-seeking and over 76% wish there was a way for hiring managers to verify their skills so they could stand out amongst other candidates.”

The assessment test can be retaken multiple times until you get a score that you are happy and proud to disclose. Once completed, you obtain a Verified Skills badge.

7. Ask for endorsements and recommendations

Skills that are validated by first-degree connections through endorsements are weightier than those that are not. Because anyone can just claim that they possess particular skills, endorsements are there to confirm that those skills or abilities are indeed legit. Endorsements also help boost the probability of you being discovered for employment opportunities.

Recommendations, on the other hand, serve as a written “brand testimonial” which gives your profile visitors a quick view of who you are profession-wise. Consider requesting for personal recommendations from both present and previous co-workers as they are references who know you better in a professional setting.

If you are not sure how many recommendations you need, start with four.

An example of recommendations from Localiq

8. Customize your URL

This part of the profile, albeit often being overlooked, is one of those details that greatly contributes to your overall professional branding. Why is this important, you ask? While it is true that a personalized LinkedIn URL does not make or break your profile, it is simply beneficial to have a clean and personalized URL that you can affix to your business card, resume, email signature, etc. Not only does this make you easier to find online, but it also gives recruiters and hiring managers the impression that you have paid attention to what most other people would usually skip.

9. Constantly build and grow your network

It’s not enough to just mass-send connection requests with a generic message. Some people may find this convenient to do, but this can turn out to be annoying from the recipient’s end. In order for you to stand out, you need to personalize your message when trying to connect. If you are hesitant about what to say, preview their profile and mention something that the person has posted or is into; or recently commented on.

LinkedIn readily suggests people you may know, so go ahead and check out these suggestions. Old acquaintances from schools, groups, clubs and even companies would also make great connections to add to your network.

10. Include accomplishments and volunteer experience

A lot of LinkedIn members may not know this, but one LinkedIn survey shows that

“41 percent of the professionals that LinkedIn surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. Twenty percent of the hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.”

And most importantly, stay regularly active on LinkedIn.

Every bit of your LinkedIn profile is important and can contribute heavily to its overall attractiveness and professionalism when filled out strategically. Once you have built trust and credibility and have established your own professional brand, the doors to opportunities and networks unlock. When you are confident about your LinkedIn profile being ready, you may even want to include its link in your email signature so people, especially recruiters and potential employers, can find you more easily.