There are many reasons to create a LinkedIn profile. From networking to better visibility during a job search to establishing yourself as an industry thought leader, this social media platform can be a powerful tool for job seekers and employers alike. If you want to leverage its benefits, however, there are some LinkedIn profile essentials you can’t afford to miss.
After all, LinkedIn users with “all-star profiles” can get three times more traffic to their profiles than other users. With this in mind, you should take the time to ensure you have a complete and engaging profile. To put yourself on the path to that all-star rating, here are the top LinkedIn profile essentials:
A Professional Photo
If you want your profile to be noticed, upload a photo! According to LinkedIn, users with profile pictures can get up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests. Just be sure to choose a professional picture that aligns with your personal brand.
Although it is one of the first things you will be asked to complete, it is often the most overlooked LinkedIn profile essential. To entice prospective connections to continue scrolling through your profile, this summary should be brief and to-the-point. It should convey your goals, qualifications, and personality.
A Strategic Headline
Your headline doesn’t have to be your job title. While this is the default setting, a customized headline is definitely one of the top LinkedIn profile essentials. To help you communicate your value or goals in 120 characters or less, here is a fail-proof formula for writing a headline: what you do + for whom + how.
After completing your other sections, don’t forget to fill out your experience. Similar to what you would include on your resume, every job you list should include: the title, the company, start and end dates, and a job description—quantifying your accomplishments, when possible. Bonus tip: LinkedIn allows you to embed media directly within each job you list. This is a great way to help prospective employers or connections see a mini portfolio of your work!
Skills + Endorsements
As you build your profile, be aware of the skills you are listing throughout the page. While there is a designated skills section, try to pepper your summary, headline, and experience with your skills (when it feels natural). These skills also serve as keywords and will help your profile be found in search results by users interested in connecting with you for job opportunities, projects, and/or thought leadership initiatives. On a related note, asking your connections to write recommendations is a great way to give credibility to the skills you are listing.
Though these are the absolute LinkedIn profile essentials, it never hurts to go above and beyond! In fact, LinkedIn even has a “Profile Strength” graph on the side of your profile that gives you suggestions on how to improve your page.