It’s an opportunity to make a great first impression. We’re talking about your LinkedIn profile.

But does your profile have what it takes to make you stand out? Is it stale? Out-of-date? Lacking polish?

There’s no doubt that recruiters and employers head to LinkedIn to check candidates out. So, make it a priority to review your profile and smarten it up as often as necessary.

In doing so think about the power of LinkedIn. It’s the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. The world’s largest …

LinkedIn itself says you should use the platform in many ways and for many reasons, including to “find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.” You can use LinkedIn to “organise offline events, join groups, write articles, post photos and videos, and more.” You can also use it to advertise that you’re actively looking for work or interested in exploring potential opportunities.

Here are our tips for making your LinkedIn profile shine.

Be authentic

LinkedIn isn’t a platform for “puffery”. In other words, exaggerated language and advertising-style promotional content doesn’t have a place on LinkedIn. It’s a professional platform through which others look for authentic facts about you and your work experience. So be confident and factual, not over-the-top.

Be interesting

Readers love stories and examples that back up claims. It’s not up to the reader to accept everything you say. It’s up to you to illustrate what you’re saying, to prove your capabilities. So, don’t just say you’re a high achiever. Demonstrate how you’re a high achiever.

Be accurate

Every bit of information in your LinkedIn profile should be honest and truthful. Telling porkies on your profile, just as on your resume, isn’t professional. Chances are you’ll get caught out.

Here’s more advice on this important topic.

Be informative

Make sure you include relevant and informative content in your LinkedIn profile. This includes key words of interest to others in your field. Make sure you’re specific and cover off on:

  • Hard skills–teachable, measurable and specific knowledge essential for performing specific jobs. Examples include accounting, finance, sales, marketing, architecture, computer technology, data analysis or project management.
  • Soft skills–behavioural or interpersonal traits related to personality that can be applied across multiple jobs and industries. Examples include being a strategic thinker, leader, creative, team player, innovator or problem solver.

Read more on hard versus soft skills and why you should care.

Be transferrable

Transferrable skills are more important than ever. These are also called portable skills and you can apply them to various roles or occupations, not just to one position. They can, in other words, be transferred between jobs, departments, sectors or industries.

Use these to your advantage in your LinkedIn profile, especially if you’re keen to switch to a new position.

Read these great tips on maximising your transferrable skills.

Be up-to-date

It’s best to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, even if you’re not actively look for work. This shows respect for those who source your profile. It also makes it easy on yourself. Updating your profile only once a year means you’ll have to put in effort to remember what happened in the last 12 months. It’s better to schedule a quick update every four to six weeks or so, when everything’s fresh in your mind. Schedule a calendar reminder.

Be complete

LinkedIn’s template approach works a treat. It’s tried, true and tested. Complete all sections for maximum effect. This includes sections entitled About, Experience, Education and Volunteer. You can also fill in Interests and, importantly, Accomplishments (which can include awards, special projects, career highlights, communications content you’ve written, results you’ve achieved and certifications).

Be recommended

The best way to show you’re respected for what you do is through recommendations from others. Aim to have at least one recommendation for each position you’ve held (at least recent ones). Sprinkle these throughout the About section. Think creatively and use some kudos in other LinkedIn sections as appropriate.

Be well presented

If you’re LinkedIn profile is riddled with typos and grammar errors, you’ll be seen as unprofessional and someone who isn’t thorough or accurate. The devil is in the detail with your profile. It’s essential to present content well, even if this means checking it several times. You can also seek the support of colleagues or invest in a professional editor or proofreader to eliminate all errors.

More helpful reading:

  1. Can a recruiter find you on LinkedIn?
  2. Private to public: transfer your skills
  3. Are you chained to your current job?
  4. Nailing the one-page written pitch