Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile: A Guide for Early Stage Professionals to Stand Out to Recruiters

Because your LinkedIn profile should look even better than your Instagram feed.
January 11, 2023
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You've probably spent hours curating your feed to show an aesthetic blend of who you are. Whether you've gone for a certain color scheme or piled on the camera dumps, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you've taken the time to make it uniquely your own. But what about your LinkedIn? 

In today's competitive job market, having a strong online presence is essential for career success. And nothing screams a professional online presence like LinkedIn—after all, it is the world's largest professional networking platform.

So let's get to curating: 

Creating Curiosity With Your Headline

What do you think of we you hear "just do it?" or "I'm loving it"? Chances are a swoosh mark and bright yellow M just flashed into your mind. That's the power of a captivating headline, which is why it's the first step we've got to tackle with your LinkedIn.

Before we dive into your LinkedIn headline, let's talk about what it shouldn't be—your job title. Highlight your skills and use keywords to pique curiosity. Here are some people who did it right.

Time For Your Close-Up

Sure, a selfie might work for your other profiles, but when it comes to LinkedIn, you should be sticking to a professional-looking headshot. Think about it this way—if your boss was making a duck face in his headshot, would you be as apt to listen to his mentorship? Before picking a headshot, make sure:

  • You're the only person in the image.
  • There's a solid background. 
  • Your face should be at least 60% of the image.
  • It has soft, natural light.
  • It's a high-quality image—if it's pixelated, it's a no (we're talking at least 400 X 400 px).

Your Professional Story – The Summary

It's time to win your Oscar. Your summary is your virtual stage, and you're the lead actor in the play of your career. Now, we're not saying be someone we're not, but don't just tell them who you are. Show them. 

Your summary isn't a laundry list of your work experience; it's your CV's dazzling alter ego. An alter ego that includes:

  • A compelling overview of who you are
  • What you can do for potential clients
  • Whether you're open to new opportunities or not
  • A clear call to action

Here's an example of an Oscar-worthy summary

Turning Work History into a Hollywood Blockbuster 

Think of this section as your career's greatest hits album. Skip the filler tracks and go straight for the chart-toppers—those moments when you owned the stage.

Don't just list your job responsibilities like you're reciting the alphabet. Flaunt your achievements like you're the lead singer at a sold-out stadium. Did you boost sales by 200%? Save the company from a data apocalypse? Say it loud and proud! Use power verbs that make it sound like you single-handedly tamed a lion.

Showcase Your Skills and Endorsements

Skills can be endorsed by your connections, adding credibility to your profile. Be strategic in selecting abilities that align with your career goals and highlight your strengths.

Fill that skills section to the brim (up to 25 skills, to be precise). Oh, and a little secret: toss in those SEO keywords to get noticed. And ask your pals for endorsements—they're like mini applause. Or better yet, take a LinkedIn assessment to earn that Verified Skills badge. Candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply for—just saying. 

Getting Those Gold Stars — Recommendations That Make You Shine

LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Ever read Amazon reviews before buying? This is like that but for you. Grab endorsements from colleagues, bosses, and clients—it's like flashing your gold star report card. Reach out to folks who've seen you in action and ask for a digital thumbs up.

Networking Like a VIP

Expand your crew by linking with co-workers, mentors, and industry peeps. Quality connections mean doors fling open to opportunities. Personalize those connection requests; it's like a virtual handshake. We get it—reaching out can be anxiety-inducing, so take some hints from the pros with these LinkedIn connection templates.

And there you have it, the ultimate playbook to transform your LinkedIn profile into a digital masterpiece that commands attention and sets you up for success—you're armed with the tools to own your professional narrative.

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