10 Proven Strategies to Dominate Your LinkedIn Profile

How long has it been since you updated your LinkedIn profile?

Most people are underutilizing LinkedIn. They view showing up on LinkedIn as another box to check. To them, LinkedIn is strictly an online resume.

Maybe that was true in 2018, but not anymore. If you want to get noticed and get hired from your online networking efforts, change with the times. Start with your LinkedIn profile.

Why start there?

I owe much of my marketing career and success as a Career and Leadership Development Coach to LinkedIn. I’m not exaggerating when I say I met one of my key connections who got me the marketing job on LinkedIn. Can you guess where I’ve found most of my coaching clients? Also, on… LinkedIn!

In other words, it is worthwhile to find some well-researched LinkedIn tips and use them to polish up your profile and make it shine.

I’m happy to share what’s worked for me. Here are ten tips for grabbing attention with your LinkedIn profile and standing out from your peers.

1—Choose Your LinkedIn Profile Photo with Care

I bet wearing that extra comfy hoodie and yoga pants to your next interview never even crossed your mind. There are certain expectations, and we’re all familiar with them, so we dress accordingly.

Think of your LinkedIn profile picture the same way. It’s your opportunity to create a positive first impression.

Make sure your photo looks professional. Don’t crop friends and family out of the photo. Skip that picture from your recent beach trip. Choose a photo of you only and, if possible, infuse it with some personality. Laugh. Smile. Wear a bright-colored suit.

Try to express yourself through your body language, dress, and accessories. Pair a business casual top with fashion glasses for a bit of a statement—layer with an oversized cable-knit sweater or cardigan to exude professionalism and warmth.

2—Write a Headline that POPS

Say goodbye to the days when your headline was just your job title. One of my hardest-hitting LinkedIn tips is to make the most of your real estate, and this starts with your LinkedIn headline.

You have 220 characters to use. Your job title is a great start. Consider adding an “I help” statement to clarify further what you do. You could also add a tagline that showcases your character, values, or strengths, and make sure to work in relevant keywords.

Examples of a few I have seen that have stood out to me:

  • People Advocate, Expert Storyteller, Systems Thinker
  • Passionate about advancing XYZ
  • Dedicated to the continual improvement of XYZ

When I read some that stand out, I add them to an ongoing list. I encourage you to do the same.

Remember, companies may be using the search function to find you. Increase your chances of fruitful conversations and connections from online marketing by using keywords and making it easy for the right people to find you.

3—Get Crafty with Your Background Photo

You could choose not to upload a background photo or choose from one of LinkedIn’s default options, like a cute home office illustration with indoor plants, bookshelves, and a laptop.

OR you could use your background photo as an opportunity to stand out. Uplevel your LinkedIn profile with a background image that is as unique as you. Think of this as your free personal billboard.

Use this space to direct viewers to your personal website, newsletter, portfolio, or company website. Invite people to add you as a connection, write a few words to reinforce your values, or give them a snapshot of what to expect if they follow you. 

4—Use a Custom LinkedIn Profile URL

There’s no excuse not to do it.

If you don’t have the time or capacity to go overboard with LinkedIn tips right now—if you can only commit to a few quick changes—do this. In two minutes or less, you can change the URL to your LinkedIn profile to a custom URL.

Simply go to your profile, click the pencil icon next to “Public profile & URL,” and then click “Edit your custom URL.”

It takes literal seconds and sends the message that you pay attention to detail.

5—Make Your About Section Shine

In many cases, online networking starts with your LinkedIn profile.

If your About section is blank, potential connections may assume you’re not active on the platform or have nothing interesting to say.

Write in first person (i.e., refer to yourself as “I”).  Make it personable.

This is your chance to discuss what sets you apart from others with similar experience and qualifications. As long as it’s true to your character, it’s appropriate to use a bit of humor here. Talk about what lights you up. Be enthusiastic. Be passionate. Let your personality, values, and interests shine.

6—Add Multimedia

Are you using the Featured section?

Use the Featured section to fully take advantage of your LinkedIn profile and its potential to help you meet people and create new connections through online networking.

First things first, this is NOT complicated.

Far too many clients tell me they skip over LinkedIn tips related to the Featured section because they “don’t know how to use it.”

It’s actually quite simple. Create a post and attach whatever you’d like to feature. Choose relevant images, carousels (a series of images describing your standout skills or what you do), links, newsletters, etc.

After hitting post, go back to it. View your post and hit the three little dots in the top right corner. Select the first option next to the star icon (“Feature on top of profile”), and you’re done!

The optimal number of featured posts is about 3. They’ll all show up on your front page without overwhelming anyone.

7—A Few Words About Experience, Education, and Skills

This is the section most people are familiar with. It’s your online resume. For many years, it was acceptable to let this section stand on its own. If you felt extra ambitious when you logged onto LinkedIn, maybe you added your job title and a few short paragraphs to your About section.

Just because it’s “standard” doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore.

Get detailed. Use numbers whenever possible. Instead of saying you “exceeded sales goals” or “over-delivered on several performance metrics,” use percentages and quantifiable data to back up these claims.

Also, Your Skills section is another excellent opportunity to use keywords. Select a few relevant keywords in your industry and use them in your Skills section to further increase your chances of appearing in the search bar. 

8—Get Your LinkedIn Profile Verified

Another quick way to boost your online networking potential is to follow the prompts to verify your LinkedIn profile.

You’ll need a government-issued ID. It takes under five minutes, and according to the LinkedIn Team, verified accounts get “60% more profile views on average.”

9—Be a Contributor

LinkedIn tips are subject to change.

In other words, the best way to appear on LinkedIn in 2019 is not the best way to appear in 2024. The algorithm changes frequently, and LinkedIn is constantly rolling out new features to improve the platform.

One such feature is the ability to earn a community Top Voice badge. You may see prompts encouraging you to contribute to collaborative articles in your notifications or view a list of collaborative articles here.

Contribute to three or more collaborative articles in a single category to increase your chances of earning a Top Voice badge. And it always helps to be supportive of fellow contributors. Like and comment on others’ contributions to show you’re an engaged part of the community.

10—Pick an “Extra” to Explore

Explore the latest features LinkedIn has to offer.

Entrepreneur magazine warns users not to overly rely on the gurus or influencers for LinkedIn tips. Why? Because the algorithm and newest features are always changing.

What worked a few months ago might not work today.

The most reliable strategy is to show up consistently, provide value, and be unapologetically you.

And get ahead of the curve! When you see a new feature, check it out. See what you can do with it and how useful it is to you. Be your own judge.

Troubleshooting Your LinkedIn Profile

While these can all be reasonable steps if you’re prepared to make changes to your LinkedIn profile and you like online networking (or at least don’t hate it), I know that’s not a blanket statement for everyone.

Many people are concerned about using LinkedIn to find a new job, mainly when they’re employed and want to keep it that way.

They’re concerned that being too active on LinkedIn—updating their profile, making changes, or even posting—will clue their employer in that they may be interested in finding something new.

I hear you about this and several other concerns, so let’s do some troubleshooting:

I don’t want my current employer to know I’m looking.

You have a few options here. I recommend making small changes over time if you’d like to update your profile and keep it visible to everyone.

Refer to the list of LinkedIn tips above and pick one or two. Update your profile once a week, maybe once every few weeks. Making small incremental changes not only makes your profile more accessible but also lends credibility to the idea that you’re just improving it over time.

You’re just polishing it up here and there for online networking purposes (including ones for your current company). Doing it this way is much less conspicuous than making many changes simultaneously

Another option is to adjust your privacy settings. If you want to change who can see what you do on LinkedIn, click on your profile picture at the top, then click Settings & Privacy, Visibility, and then scroll down to “Visibility of your LinkedIn Activity.” From there, you can turn off notifications about profile updates, limit the visibility of your mentions, and more.

If you’d like to post, you have the option to share the post with everyone, your network online, or a specific group. Make sure to adjust these settings before you hit “publish.” You can’t change the settings after the fact.

My current company wants me to use LinkedIn to promote them.

It’s your LinkedIn profile, not your company’s. More and more, companies are learning to respect that.

Some companies ask you to show their name on your banner image. It’s your choice whether to do that.

Do I have to post?

That’s up to you! Recruiters, HR professionals, and leadership from various companies are on LinkedIn.

Many people find online networking opportunities and job offers via LinkedIn. It all depends on your comfort level, but I highly recommend keeping your profile current. If you’d like to post and can do so knowledgeably and in a way that reinforces your skills, values, and strengths, go for it. 

Seeing other people get the jobs I want makes me feel disappointed.

I get this one a lot—and there’s often a lot of shame around it, too. People may feel envious, disappointed, frustrated, angry, irritable, or depressed (among other things) when they see an acquaintance or friend get the job THEY want. First, these feelings are normal. There’s nothing wrong with being annoyed or jealous.

Emotions are just signals. It’s a signal you want a job like that one. Great. File that info away for later and give the feeling time and space to pass.

Second, curate your feed! Filter out the posts that make you feel stuck in comparison. Favor content that’s useful, valuable, and encouraging.

Do I have to turn on the Open To Button?

This feature lets recruiters know you are open to new opportunities. You can even select the types of job titles you are seeking. You control who can view this feature on your profile. I have many clients who turn this on, and I’ve yet to hear of anyone’s employer discovering it. While there are no guarantees, it seems like a supportive move.

If you’d like to include an #opentowork banner on your profile picture, click on it, go to Frames, and select the green banner.

It’s not you.

Getting a job can be tough these days, and I want you to use all the tools at your disposal, including online networking and LinkedIn.

If you aren’t using your LinkedIn profile to create new opportunities and grab attention, you’re underutilizing it.

Pick one or two LinkedIn tips above to start and dive in. As with anything, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Baby steps count, and they add up quickly.

Revamping your LinkedIn profile is just the beginning. For career support that goes beyond LinkedIn tips and gets at the heart of who you are, what you’re meant to do, and how to design your dream career and life, reach out to a Career and Leadership Development Coach. I’d love to get the convo started with a complimentary career clarity consult. Book here.

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