LinkedIn is a space for you to show others your experiences, skills, and accomplishments through a living, virtual resume. It is the largest professional networking platform in the world but navigating how to get the most out of your profile may seem daunting.
As of 2023, the employment-oriented social media platform has over 930 million members, and out of the LinkedIn users who frequently interact with the platform, 40% utilize it every day, resulting in a sum of more than 1 billion interactions per month.
Why it’s important to become discoverable on LinkedIn
According to Pew Research Center, LinkedIn is highly popular amongst college students and those with college degrees. 51% of adults who have a bachelor’s or advanced degree use the app, compared to the 10% of users who have a high school diploma or less. However, a 2021 study conducted by LinkedIn found that 1 in 5 jobs posted on the platform don’t require a college degree.
Regardless of the academic or occupational stage you’re at, LinkedIn is a universally beneficial platform. For newcomers, it offers a space to build a professional online presence, connect with peers, and explore potential career paths. Seasoned professionals leverage its expansive network to forge valuable industry connections, share insights, and stay updated on trends.
Moreover, the application serves as a platform for continuous learning, providing access to articles, discussions, courses, and more, making it a resource for personal and professional growth, regardless of one’s background or expertise. Becoming discoverable on LinkedIn only enhances your visibility to potential employers, colleagues, mentors, and collaborators within your industry.
Why should I optimize my LinkedIn profile?
- Enhance their professional brand
- Attract valuable connections
- Open doors to new opportunities
Benefits for students
If you’re a student, this website can help you build an early professional identity, as it gives you the opportunity to showcase your academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Utilizing LinkedIn optimization is also a way for you to find internships, part-time jobs, and entry-level positions, and connect with peers, mentors, and industry professionals.
Benefits for professionals
If you’re a current working professional, LinkedIn optimization can help you enhance your online presence and professional brand. Similarly to other social media platforms, the application lets you create posts, where you can share industry insights and professional achievements.
How to make the most of LinkedIn
Whether you’re building your business, job searching, networking, or recruiting, your LinkedIn profile is a first impression for other professionals. Below are seven tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile.
1. Utilize Linkedin SEO
Utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods on your profile can help you become more visible when users search for keywords (a word or phrase) associated with particular skills, positions, and services. Before creating an account, it’s recommended that you make a list of 7–10 words or terms that your goal client would use when searching for certain keywords. For example:
- Experienced Financial Analyst
- Marketing and Community Relations Coordinator
- Property Development
Once you make a list of keywords tailored to your academic and professional positions, place them throughout each of the sections of your LinkedIn profile, including your:
- Role descriptions
- Skills and endorsements
Doing so increases your likelihood of being discovered when people search for the keywords your account is affiliated with. Particularly for the “skills” section, Warren Bartolome (MBA '14), a past LinkedIn Data Scientist and current hiring manager at Apple, shared that “when you get endorsements [and] …have recommendations around these skills, it really helps improve…the search algorithm.”
Another way to include more keywords in your profile is by including them in the descriptions of your past positions. This is also a way for you to highlight your acquired skill set.
Public-facing and internal SEO
In regard to the search algorithm, utilizing these keywords will help your account be more visible via LinkedIn’s public-facing and internal SEO. The public-facing SEO is what pops up on search engine platforms outside of LinkedIn, whereas internal SEO is the information that’s provided within the platform itself.
2. Make your headline shine
Your LinkedIn headline can be found right below your name and profile photo. While having a personalized headline is helpful for SEO purposes, it’s also a way for you to promote your personal brand. The networking platform will automatically place your current or more recent occupation as your profile’s headline; however, you are also able to customize it.
When creating your headline, make sure to include your:
- Role title
Since this is a quick snapshot of your professional self, make sure to steer clear of using emojis!
3. Complete your profile
In order to rank highly when other users search for certain keywords, make sure to complete your profile. Don’t worry — you won’t be left astray in doing so; LinkedIn is good about suggesting components to add when visiting your profile. Check out this site to see all of the sections included in a profile.
Who are you called to be?
Pursue your purpose at PLNU.
Specifically for your “summary” and “experience” sections, consider using bullet points and formatting the text so it is easy to read. This will make it easier for viewers to navigate your profile.
4. Write a strong profile summary
On LinkedIn, you are also able to write a profile summary, which can include:
- An overview of who you are
- How you can assist potential clients
- Whether you’re open to new professional opportunities or not
- A call to action
Profile summaries should be consumable for viewers and directly tell them what you can provide for them. It also grants the opportunity to share a tidbit of your personal life.
5. Update your profile’s content
Another way to become more discoverable on LinkedIn is by keeping your profile’s content up to date. Similar to updating your resume, when you acquire a new skill, position, or professional accolade, make sure to include them in your profile. However, since your profile is an overview of your entire professional history, providing more content for users to see is beneficial.
Staying active on the networking platform by:
- Posting articles
- Liking, celebrating, and commenting
- Reaching out to people
6. Select a professional profile picture and background image
When viewers land on your LinkedIn profile, the first things that they will see are your profile photo and background image. Having professional photos is important for LinkedIn optimization, as it signals that your profile is complete and authentic, potentially boosting its visibility in search results. It also reflects your personal brand, so make sure that your profile photo is:
- Recently taken
In regard to the background image, make sure that it compliments your profile image. Similar to the “summary” section, it is also an opportunity for you to highlight your expertise, personality, and value proposition. Some professionals choose to feature their awards, testimonials, logo, or slogan, too.
Check out the best practices for optimizing your profile photo and background image here.
7. Leverage hashtags
Leveraging hashtags will help you engage with professionals who are in similar fields or who share similar interests as you. It can aid recruiters and hiring managers in coming across your profile. Consider making a LinkedIn post with the hashtags “#hiring” or “#opentowork”, which can help you find a job.
What hiring managers look for
Tune in for a webinar led by Bartolome, as he provides tips & tricks to navigating LinkedIn, shares what recruiters look for in talent acquisition, and how to utilize LinkedIn optimization.
When Bartolome worked as a hiring manager, he looked for the following visual cues on profiles:
Self-learning demonstrates initiative and signals that you have a proactive and motivated approach to your personal and professional development. It shows that you’re willing to take the initiative to acquire new skills and knowledge beyond what might be acquired by your formal education or job responsibilities.
It also reflects adaptability. In a rapidly changing job market and industries, self-learning demonstrates your ability to stay relevant and showcases your willingness to keep up with emerging trends, technologies, and methodologies, which is particularly important in fields where innovation and change are constant.
According to Bartolome, “the benefit of having a side project is when it comes to the interview process you have added content with which you can discuss things about.” If you have minimal experience in a particular career or field, side projects show recruiters that you have tenacity and passion.
Enthusiasm and potential
Sharing your experiences can convey your genuine passion for your field or industry. Employers and network connections are often drawn to individuals who exhibit enthusiasm and dedication, as it suggests a strong commitment to their work. Hence, by displaying your interests in your LinkedIn profile’s headline and summary, showcasing your achievements, skills, and endorsements, sharing content, and engaging with other users, you can stand out and attract opportunities.
Get networking today
Connecting with fellow coworkers, employers, classmates, and peers is a way that you can build your LinkedIn network. Join thousands of PLNU students, alums, and staff on LinkedIn, and check out Loma Talks, curated by the Office of Alumni Relations, which are events devoted to sharing stories, engaging in life-long learning, and connecting with one another and to PLNU.
If you're looking to further your education with a bachelor's degree, enroll in one of our Accelerated Undergraduate programs. You can pursue your calling in business, public administration, nursing, and more. Interested in pursuing a graduate degree? Apply to a graduate program that fits your career goals.