By now, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that LinkedIn is to careers what Facebook is to your relationships. Almost nine out of 10 hiring managers use the platform to look up applicants and potential interviewees, according to Jobvite.
What you post on LinkedIn — and how you post it — won’t just help you network with connections, it could lead you to a more rewarding job. Consider the following steps, with images from LinkedIn.
4 ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile
With its approximately 500 million users, LinkedIn is a powerful resource for networkers. It could alert you to open jobs, connect you with long-lost colleagues, and even help you attract the attention of recruiters.
Your profile is the key to each of those activities. It’s your personal classified for the rest of the professional world. Here are ways you can improve your profile without paying hundreds of dollars for the professional help of resume writers and career coaches.
1. Fill in the blanks
Only 35 percent of professionals feel confident about describing their achievements at work, according to LinkedIn. Filling in every applicable field on your profile is an easy way to start if you’re new to the platform. It’s also a good way to remove the rust from your profile if you’re logging in for the first time in a while.
Your profile’s headshot is the first thing people will see. Including a professional photo increases your profile views by up to a factor of 21, LinkedIn claims.
In your picture, dress the part for the job you’re in or the one you’re seeking. The snapshots of aspiring investment bankers and startup web designers probably won’t be similar, for example.
Your headline defaults to your job title, but use this space to describe what you do or what you’d like to be doing, plus what value you offer.
Mine would say “Content Writer at Student Loan Hero,” for example. Although I love my job, I changed my headline to “Personal finance writer, digital editor, and content strategist looking to help consumers make better decisions.”
No matter how you format your headline, know that it will be seen by other LinkedIn users when you request connections and send messages.
Although other profile sections — from your summary to your work experience — don’t get this kind of attention, it’s important to give them yours.
The more information you provide, the more likely someone will find and read through your profile. LinkedIn says, for example, that including five skills on your profile makes it 31 times more likely you’ll receive messages.
2. Don’t forget the details
Filling in your profile from top to bottom is an important first step, but you’ll also want to provide the right information in the right way. Whether you’re new to the platform or wanting to optimize your profile, this next step requires more effort.
Scrutinize your listing as if you’re a recruiter. Ask if what you see would qualify you for your dream job. And think about how each piece of information you provide could be perceived. Without driving yourself crazy, use these questions to improve your profile.
Take your location as an example. More than 30 percent of recruiters look for candidates by location. You might not think twice about entering the zip code of your home. But if you’re finding it harder to land an out-of-state job, you might decide to select a different city or metropolitan area.
Here are a few more important sections of your profile where details matter:
- Contact information: Providing your email address and website URL helps recruiters find and connect with you off the platform. While you’re at it, customize your LinkedIn URL to strengthen your profile’s searchability.
- Experience: Listing your past job titles and companies is a must. But you can tell the story of your work experience by providing detailed summaries and attaching multimedia projects. Focus more on quantifying your achievements than listing job duties.
- Education: Look to share details that will matter to your potential hiring manager. In the case of your college or graduate school experience, you might want to highlight your extracurricular activities and awards instead of listing your college courses. This is especially true if you’ve been out of school for a few years.
3. Make it easier for recruiters to find you
Now that you’ve filled in and pared down your profile to its necessary elements, the time’s right to make it more searchable.
LinkedIn’s search engine rewards profiles that have more complete fields. Professional summaries, which is the section below your headline, are much more likely to be found when they’re 40 words or longer, for example.
Here are more ways to help your profile rise to the top of search results:
- Keywords: If you know your career path and your field inside and out, this should come easy. If not, you might need to do some research to come up with a list of terms to target in your profile headline and summary. Without stuffing in keywords, try to layer in details that are tied to your situation.
- Links: Linking your LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and blog or website helps Google connect the dots. This practice should help your LinkedIn listing be found on all search engines. It’s a particularly important practice if you’re unemployed and want to get search results to show your best side.
- Accuracy: There’s another way to ensure you show up in recruiters’ search results. Comb through the endorsements you’ve received from LinkedIn connections to make sure your skills exemplify the job you want. If you’re switching careers, at least de-emphasize the skills that are less relevant to your new field.
Making sure your optimized profile meshes with your resume also keeps your profile accurate. Here’s one of the many secrets of job recruiters to consider: They’ll be wary of job applicants who pump up their profiles beyond recognition. To avoid being accused of embellishing your experience, confirm that your profile meshes with the resume you hand over during an interview.
Although you want to boost your profile views during a job search, review LinkedIn’s privacy settings. You can edit your public profile, for example, to choose how much information recruiters and others can see before connecting with you on the platform. Including fewer pieces of personal information can also keep you safe from identity theft.
4. Be an active user
Only 18 percent of LinkedIn users log on daily, according to the Pew Research Center. But networking on the platform is a lot like networking offline. You find the best results if you do it steadily, not just when you’re searching for work.
Keeping your profile up to date is the first task. But making the most of your profile requires being an active user. After all, engaging on the platform gives you a better chance at being seen as a thought leader in your field, not just another professional on a site that’s full of them.
Here are some easy ways to be more involved on the platform:
- Make connections: LinkedIn says 70 percent of its members have been hired at a company where they had a connection. That should be enough motivation for you to start networking with professionals even if you haven’t met them in person.
- Join groups: The platform allows you to join as many as 100 groups. You could also follow companies and influencers to stay in the know and find subgroups of professionals looking to collaborate.
- Recommend colleagues: Receiving recommendations from a past boss strengthens your profile. But offering to recommend someone you supervised could also show recruiters that you have managerial experience.
- Write posts: Treating your LinkedIn profile as your personal blog allows you to share anything from your professional projects, side hustle successes, and industry insights. To help yourself even more, be a regular reader, commenter, and sharer in your news feed.
Include your LinkedIn profile in your next job application
Having an optimized and accurate LinkedIn profile is one more way to put your best foot forward. It can show a whole new side to a prospective employer considering your credentials.
Having a profile comes with others benefits, too. Some companies’ online job portals encourage you to load your application details straight from LinkedIn.
Still, hiring managers might interview you in person before looking you up on the platform. To ensure that your optimization efforts don’t go to waste, tell them to check you out online.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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