There’s an art to writing a winning LinkedIn profile, sure, but there’s also a science. The professional networking site has tracked and analyzed exactly what it takes for a profile to get seen far and wide and to land near the top of a recruiter’s search results. First step: “Leave modesty at the door!” says LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher, who helps people create and leverage better profiles.
So whether you’re hot and heavy for a new job ASAP or just open to the idea of getting wooed by recruiters, shrug off your modesty and read these tips.
1. DITCH THE SELFIE STICK.
Profiles with a photo receive 14 times more views than profiles with no photo at all; so if you haven’t uploaded a photo yet, cut the excuses and do it. “If you can afford a professional headshot, that’s something to aim for. But if not, it’s OK to use your smartphone,” says Donna Serdula, author of LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a Powerful LinkedIn Profile.
Just make sure to snap the pic in a well-lit room (that’s especially important for smartphone photos), and to wear a shirt that makes you look polished. “And I would absolutely caution against a selfie,” says Serdula. “You want to come across as professional and trustworthy, not like someone who doesn’t take the profile seriously.”
2. WRITE A SUMMARY.
We know, we know. Writing a summary about yourself sucks. But if you can wring out 40 words or more, your profile will get viewed seven times more than the chump who skipped this profile section entirely, according to LinkedIn’s data. As tempting as it might be to copy and paste some portion of your resume to fill this field, resist, urges Serdula. “This is your space to make a digital first impression. What do you love about your field? What are some of the successes you’ve had, what gives you real satisfaction from the industry? If you share your story, you won’t come across as a desperate job seeker, but someone who’s worth reaching out to.”
3. BRAG ABOUT YOUR SKILLS.
Members who list skills on their profiles receive 13 times more profile views on average than those who don’t, according to LinkedIn. “You’ve worked hard to build your Rolodex of skills—here is your chance to show them off, with as much detail as possible,” says Fisher. Don’t limit your bragging to computer languages and software programs, either. When the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed hiring managers about the skills they planned to prioritize when recruiting, soft skills—like the ability to work in a team or give a killer presentation—topped the list.
4. DIG INTO THE PAST.
Here’s reason enough to sweat the chronology and list all of your past positions: Your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than one job listed, LinkedIn found. While you’re getting all nostalgic, be sure to fill out any credentials you’ve earned, organizations you’ve joined, or languages you’ve learned. Recruiters will hunt for candidates using keywords in these fields, so leaving them blank could mean you get overlooked.
5. ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS.
Strong recommendations can help improve your ranking in LinkedIn’s people search results, but recruiters won’t stop at just reading those glowing reviews, says Serdula. “Hiring managers and recruiters will typically click through to see who is writing the recommendation—a manager or senior-level executive will carry more weight than a coworker.”
She suggests getting recs from wow-worthy names by asking for the recommendation through LinkedIn (sending a separate email adds more work for the recommender) and drafting a short recommendation on their behalf. “Most people don’t have the time or the interest in writing, so they’ll be relieved that you’ve done it for them,” she says. Feel weird about ghost writing your own glowing praise? Skip the over-the-top adjectives and stick to objective accomplishments.
6. WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR DIGITAL SLEEVE.
Listing volunteer experiences and causes can score you six times more views than if you left them off your profile. And that info won’t just bring more eyeballs to your profile—it can improve how recruiters evaluate you. “Almost half of all hiring managers say they view volunteer experiences as equivalent to traditional work experiences,” says Fisher. “Those charity run-walks, blood donations, and other causes that you’re passionate about can really paint a more complete picture of not just the kind of person you are, but the kind of employee and colleague you’d be.”
7. COMMIT TO POSTING ONCE A WEEK.
“If you really want to stand out from the crowd, write and share content,” says Fisher. “Those who share at least once a week are nearly 10 times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter than those who don’t.”
That’s because when you write a post, it’s viewed far and wide: On average, six times more people outside your network will see it, with about 45 percent of readers being high enough in their industries (c-suite, managers, etc.) to make a hiring decision.