With 414 million LinkedIn members – including 70 percent of the U.S. population – LinkedIn gives you the ability to tap into potential public-sector jobs or gain attention within your current organization.
To gain that attention, you need to put your best digital foot forward by showcasing the attributes that make you stand out as a professional. And to do this, you need to go beyond LinkedIn best practices.
Here are nine hacks to boost your LinkedIn profile:
1) Develop a Personal Brand
Give your profile viewers a clear idea of what you bring to the table and how it impacts them. Do this by creating a personal brand focused on key attributes, characteristics, and skills you want to be known for. Be sure to create a consistent personal online and off (on your resume and cover letter) to stand out and further reinforce your strengths.
2) Add a Professional Photo
Adding a professional photo makes your profile 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn. This is such a simple step, yet it is so often ignored, which is why it made this list. Follow these basics of a good headshot:
+ Keep it basic – use a plain background
+ Wear the right attire
+ Smile naturally
+ Make sure you fit in the frame
+ Keep it recent
+ Keep it consistent by using the same headshot on all social networks
3) Create a Vanity URL & Share It
LinkedIn URLs can get really long and if you want to create a good user experience for those searching for your profile, you should customize your LinkedIn URL. To create a vanity URL follow these steps.
Once set up, drive people to your profile using the custom URL by including it on your email signature and other social media networks. (If your employer doesn’t allow this, add the URL to your personal email signature.)
4) List Your Skills
Did you know LinkedIn members who list skills on their profiles see views increase by 13 times? In addition to filling out your work experience, take it a step further and populate your profile with skills. LinkedIn offers a Skills and Endorsements section on your profile where connections can boost your profile credibility by selecting skills you excel in. Follow the LinkedIn prompts that allow you to add Skills, and then ask your contacts to endorse you. You can even drag and drop skills to order to your liking.
5) Get Recommended
Recommendations offer third-party validation, further establishing your professional credibility. Ask previous managers or professional contacts to vouch for the quality of your work. Prompt the recommendation by asking for specific details you want shared with the greater audience. For example, if you are in a project management role you could ask a potential recommender to showcase your ability to rally a team. Shoot for a minimum of four recommendations that demonstrate your excellence.
A high number of profile endorsements can boost your influence and visibility. Along that same vein, you can delete or reject endorsements that aren’t central to your personal brand.
6) Optimize Your Profile
Think of LinkedIn as a search engine. Just as you would optimize a website for keywords, you should do the same for your profile. Think of potential phrases managers or prospective employers would use to search for a qualified candidate in your field. Then, integrate those keywords a handful of times throughout your profile. This step increases the likelihood of appearing in LinkedIn search results for particular skill- or job-based keywords.
LinkedIn Publisher is a feature that allows you to post content directly on LinkedIn. The content published not only appears on your profile but, if optimized correctly, could also appear on LinkedIn Pulse, an aggregation of top LinkedIn posts. This improves your overall profile visibility and increases the chances of you interacting with professionals in your field.
Select themes that make you sound like a thought leader in your field and select industry- or job-specific keywords. Then, read “What You Need to Know About LinkedIn Publisher” for specific steps on how to post.
Your resume and cover letter are scanned for grammatical errors, and your LinkedIn profile, which is way more public than your resume, should be, too. Your LinkedIn profile is a huge reflection on your professional credibility, so it is crucial to edit with a careful eye.
9) Expand Your Circle of Influence
Expand your contact list – the more connections you have on LinkedIn, the better chance you have to get noticed. Just as you would network at a professional event to increase the number of contacts, adding connections on your LinkedIn network can help position you favorably in the eyes of potential employers or thought leaders within the public-sector space.
But, be thoughtful. You don’t want just to go out and spam potential connections. Start by targeting a handful of individuals from a particular organization or LinkedIn group that align with your industry, area of expertise, passions, social causes, or geographic location. As your network grows, so do the potential opportunities on your horizon.