Why You Should Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedinWith a reported 347 million users, LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks and the world’s largest professional network. Among those looking for a job, LinkedIn is a good place to start – and where your job search may likely end, as 94% of recruiters use social media, including LinkedIn, to fill open positions.

If you’ve been applying to jobs left and right but haven’t had much success through company websites or traditional job search sites, it’s time to dust off – or create – that LinkedIn profile and give it a thorough spring cleaning.

Then you can apply for jobs through LinkedIn, save your resume for quick access, learn who hiring managers are for jobs you’re interested in and even see how many applicants you’re up against. Follow the tips below to optimize your LinkedIn profile from the top down and boost your visibility to recruiters and hiring managers. (Hint: The more you fill out, the more your profile shows up in LinkedIn searches – and in Google searches.)

Profile Picture
Make sure you have a professional, forward-facing, while smiling, LinkedIn profile picture that measures a minimum of 400 x 400 pixels. No alcohol, no sunglasses and preferably no family or group pictures.

Your title should be similar to what others in the industry are using. Check peers’ profiles to determine best title and industry (i.e., healthcare vs. internet technology) categories. 

Contact Info
Customize your LinkedIn profile URL. Make it your full name, or if your full name is already taken by someone else, include a relevant keyword from your industry, such as a software system you specialize in.

Your Summary should be different from your experience – a true summary of how all of your experience makes you the professional you are. It should include your industry of expertise, several keywords of skills gained from your professional career as a whole and if relevant, your contact information. A Forbes article on finding a job through LinkedIn advises keeping your Summary between 100 and 300 words.

Fill out LinkedIn’s optional Skills section with at least three relevant skills, advised a profile-optimizing article from LinkedIn.

Similar to a resume, list your most recent position first, with three to five bullet points for actions performed on the job and goals met/records broken while there. The LinkedIn tips article recommends displaying at least two previous positions, and the farther back you can get, the less detail you need to mention.

Use your actual title for each job, and type the company name out to select its recognized, hyperlinked LinkedIn name to link to the page and display the company logo on your page. 

For each school you attended, type the university’s name out and select its recognized, hyperlinked LinkedIn name to link to the page and display the university logo on your page (i.e., select “University of Georgia” instead of typing “UGA”).

Extra Credit

  • Join up to 50 relevant groups on LinkedIn.
  • Follow industry thought leaders or industry peers to receive their updates on your LinkedIn homepage.
  • Ask for recommendations from former supervisors, vendors, mentors and coworkers and display them on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Link to previous publications, webinars or online work you’ve completed.
  • Display any honors and awards you’ve received in the Honors and Awards section.
  • List any volunteer experience in the Volunteer section.