This week I have a special treat just in time for the holidays. As my Christmas gift to you, I’m giving you 8 hacks to help you make your Linkedin profile a tool you can use to get ahead in your career.
Linkedin is honestly one of my favorite platforms for professionals and unfortunately, not many people take advantage of all the tools and opportunities it can bring. These Linkedin tips and tricks will be great to make your profile visible to more recruiters and hiring managers. They will also help to put your work out there, elevating your experience and overall professional profile.
Now if you don’t have a Linkedin account yet, this is your sign to sign-up! Registration is super simple and the benefits are definitely worth it. As I go through these tips and tricks, I’ll be going from basic to more advanced. At the end, I’ll do a quick review to go over anything you might have missed.
Those of you that have already done the first few, let it serve as a refresher or use it as a tool to review what you have and update it if needed.
TIP #1: UPDATE YOUR UNIQUE URL
The first tip may not seem important, but it makes a big difference, especially when sharing your profile with companies or recruiters.
When you sign up to Linkedin, you’re given a unique URL – it usually starts with linkedin.com/in/ and then lots of numbers. The idea and goal here is to change this URL to reflect your name. Not only does this make you look more professional, but it is much easier to share your linkedin profile when it’s your name versus a long list of random numbers.
To do this, you’re going to need to head over to your profile assuming you’ve registered and have a Linkedin account. From there, look on the right side of the page to where it says “Edit Public Profile and URL”. Click on that link and a new page will open. In that same area on the top right, you’ll see a section that says “Edit your custom URL”.
Click on that little pencil icon and it will prompt you to change the last part of the long URL you were given. It’s important to note that you won’t be able to remove anything before the slash as every single account has to have the Linkedin and in areas before your unique profile identifier. In this space, feel free to add your first and last name.
For some of you with more common names, you may need to do something like add a middle initial, a number or a special character because your first and last name may be taken.
Again, doing any of this will still be a better option than keeping the list of random numbers Linkedin automatically gives you.
There are 2 important things you need to remember when you’re creating your custom URL:
- The part you add at the end of the URL is case sensitive, meaning that if you include any capital letters, you’ll have to always use them that way or else your profile page will show up as an error
- You can change your custom URL up to 5 times over the course of 6 months. I don’t recommend changing it too often, mainly because people won’t be able to find you
TIP #2: YOUR PROFILE PICTURE
The next thing we’re going to talk about might be one of the most important aspects of your profile and that is your profile picture. A good profile photo can make a big difference in how recruiters or hiring managers perceive you.
Now, something very important you need to understand about this platform is that it is made for professionals. It is a professional networking site and as such, your profile picture needs to reflect this. Unlike other social media apps or sites, Linkedin is a bit more… serious.
Think of this as a preliminary meeting with recruiters and hiring managers – one where they will see your picture, your summary and your experience. Just like you would dress professionally and as your best self for the interview part, you’ll want to do the same with your profile page.
First, take an existing photo of yourself that you love. Make sure it’s professional, high quality, clear and represents you well.
Use an image where you’re facing forward, your face isn’t covered by anything and you definitely don’t want to use selfies or group photos.
Then head to Canva or any image editor app that you like and create the image size for your profile picture. In this case, the recommended dimensions for Linkedin are 400×400 pixels.
While it’s great to shoot the image during the day where there is plenty of light on a white background, this may not always be possible and that’s ok. All you’ll have to do is remove the background from your picture.
If you have an iOS phone, you’ll be able to do this by pressing down on any part of the image that has you in it. It will automatically copy just you and remove the background.
If you’re using Canva and you have a pro account, all you have to do is click the background remover feature. (No pro account? Sign up for a free trial here!)
If you don’t have a Canva Pro account, there are 2 great sites I recommend for removing your background for free. They are:
Before I had my Canva Pro account, I used both of these sites all of the time when creating these types of professional looking headshots.
From there, once you’ve removed the background from your picture, head back to Canva or whatever program you’re using and add a background, preferably in white – but this can be your choice. I like to use a light marble background and then change the color a little to give it some texture.
From here, you’re going to download the image and save it to your files, then head to your Linkedin profile. Click on your current picture, then select View or Edit Profile Photo.
Select Add photo and click Upload from Photos. Choose the image you just created on Canva, adjust it as necessary, hit save and voila – you’ve got yourself a professional headshot without needing to hire a personal photographer!
TIP #3: YOUR ABOUT SUMMARY
The next item on our list of Linkedin tips and tricks is your About section.
This area is a great place to showcase your unique strengths and accomplishments. Use it to tell your professional story, highlight your achievements and explain why you’re a good fit for the types of roles you’re interested in.
The About section of your Linkedin profile is similar to a Brand Summary on a resume. It’s where you get to share your experience before getting to your actual job section. For those of you who haven’t listened to my episode about branding statements and skill tables, head over to Episode 9 after this episode so you know exactly what I mean.
In this section, you want to make sure to write a compelling summary. It’s your chance to introduce yourself, highlight your skills and experience and because it’s at the top of your profile, it’s what recruiters will see first before getting to your experience area.
Be sure to use keywords that recruiters and hiring managers might be searching for, and include any achievements or accolades that showcase your expertise.
Something important that you need to remember and not many people do is that Linkedin can be used as a search engine. Similar to Google, you can type in keywords into the search bar and come up with results within the site or the app that match what you’re looking for.
In this particular case, you’ll want to make sure that you include keywords to be searchable to recruiters.
If someone typed in a specific skill that they’re looking for a candidate to have, if you have that same skill listed in your summary area, there’s a much better chance that you’ll be part of the results that that person gets, giving you an advantage over other people on Linkedin.
When creating this area, be sure to use bullet points, not paragraphs – to speak to your experience, skills and work.
During the pandemic, I had my Linkedin profile audited – yes, this exists and it was EYE-OPENING. One of the biggest callouts my auditor had about my summary section was that it was way too long and needed to be bullet points in order to be short, sweet and effective.
A few weeks after revamping my profile using this bullet-point model for my summary and putting more of an emphasis on the keywords I was using, I swear to you, I had 2 recruiters randomly reach out to me via private message with potential projects AND I increased my profile views/visits by nearly 200%!
Now, if at any point during this episode you want to see examples of what I’m talking about, head over to my Linkedin profile. I never teach what I don’t utilize myself so you’ll be able to see all the tips and tricks I’m discussing on my profile page in real-time!
TIP #3: THE FEATURED SECTION
Heading down the page, the next important part of your profile is the featured area. You’d be surprised to know the number of people that don’t add anything to this area at all.
Information has a way to affect us and stay with us when we’re able to see it, especially if it comes in the form of images or colors. The Featured area in Linkedin is the perfect place to showcase your work and accomplishments.
For those of you who are just starting out, don’t feel like you need to have tons of experience or projects in order to use this section. This is where you can link to school projects, case studies, blogs, podcasts – anything that was made by you and relates to some area of the work you have done, are currently doing or aspire to do.
If you have an online portfolio, this is the place to add it! It’s the perfect prelude to your experience section because it’s visual and it will give recruiters a chance to see what you’re capable of while giving you the opportunity to stand out in the process.
If there is anything you take from this episode, it’s this:
USE THE FEATURED AREA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!
No project is too small. This is the place to show off your vision, your work, your projects and your ideas.
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TIP #5: YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE
The next part of your profile we absolutely need to talk about is your experience area. This area is what most resembles a resume on this platform, so be sure to fill it out accordingly. It always baffles me when I see people leave this area blank and just add the company they worked for and their position.
Would you ever turn in a resume that only had company names and your positions? No, right? Treat this area in the exact same way, but with even more care because here, it’s available to a much wider range of people from networks all around the world.
Similar to your About summary, you’ll want to make sure you’re using descriptive words and industry keywords to be more searchable to brands and recruiters.
Some additional things to point out here: if you’re treating this area like a digital resume, remember that:
- Grammar is so important. I’m not just talking about spelling here. Make sure to watch your tenses. If you currently have the job you’re listing, every bullet point should be written in the present tense. All other jobs that you’ve had but no longer work in, should have past tense verbs that start each bullet point.
- Try to change up the verbs for each bullet point so it doesn’t just look like a long list of things that start with you “being responsible for” or “in charge of” tasks. Sites like wordhippo.com are amazing at providing synonyms to help you expand your points and information a bit
If you find that you don’t remember certain tasks or don’t know how to professionally articulate them, see if you can search for that same position within the site and take a look at what others have included as their responsibilities. Make sure you’re using this as a reference and not copying anyone’s work word-for-word! Chances are your roles weren’t identical anyway, so you shouldn’t be adding experience you don’t personally have.
TIP #6: CONNECT WITH INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
Once you’ve got these key components of your profile setup, the next important step is to connect with industry professionals that are currently on the site. At its very core, Linkedin is a virtual connector, meaning its algorithm works by showing you the activity from people that are connected to you, which in turn, helps you to connect to them as well.
In essence, it allows you to create a personal network based on people you may know and extend that to the people they know – giving you and them an opportunity to connect. The beauty of this is that it helps you reach a wider audience, both with your posts and with your profile.
Over time, your network will grow and get stronger. This helps greatly when you’re looking for a job or a potential next project, as the more people are connected to you, the more chances you have of finding something or someone that can help.
The first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to any people that you’ve worked with in the past or know from school or any clubs or organizations you may be a part of. Feel free to add friends or family members because, as I just mentioned, this will help you connect to their network of people on Linkedin in addition to yours.
Linkedin also has a feature that allows you to invite people whose numbers or emails you have saved to connect with you.
A word of caution! Before hitting yes on this feature, just make sure you want to connect to everyone whose numbers you have saved in your phone.
When I was first starting out on Linkedin, I clicked ok and later realized that it not only sent an invite to everyone I worked with at my current company, but the invite also went out to people I had known for years, including ex boyfriends. One of them actually reached out to me after that thinking that I was trying to connect with him on a more personal level!
…Just make sure you’re sending an invite to people you actually want to send to and not just everyone in your phone.
Once you’ve reached out to people you know, make a list of companies you want to work with or really like. Search each of these companies and click on the “people” tab on their page. This shows you all of the different people that work there. If anyone stands out as someone you could learn something from or would like to learn more about, request them as a connection.
Remember that LinkedIn is all about building connections, so make sure to connect with professionals in your industry and don’t be afraid to request senior members of companies as they usually have lots of wisdom to share.
When you’re sending these out, just note that some of these contacts may not respond to your invite right away and others may not respond at all.
Also, whenever possible, try to write a small note or message to them when requesting to connect. I know it asks to explain how you know them, but if you’re requesting someone you are sure you don’t know, instead of saying that – just let them know why you’re looking to connect, whether it’s because you want to learn more about their position, their company or simply to expand your network in the fashion industry.
Honesty is the best policy here. Keep it simple, precise and professional.
TIP #7: USE LINKEDIN GROUPS
Another huge component of using this site to network is to use Linkedin Groups to your advantage.
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with professionals in your industry and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and news. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions to get noticed by recruiters and most importantly, to build your network.
I don’t know how many of you have used the groups feature on Facebook – I know I know, it’s a dead app for many of you reading this, but just hear me out. The Groups feature on both of these sites is a fantastic place to learn, connect and share.
Depending on the group, there is so much information that is shared daily that can help you learn general knowledge about the industry, tips and tricks for your career and information on the daily happenings within fashion.
It’s also a great resource to use when searching for more people that are in your industry and sometimes even more niched depending on the group you’re a part of. If you participate in discussions, not only will you build a stronger image, but you’ll also be more familiar to those in the group which means if you decide to request them as contacts, they will feel more comfortable accepting you than if you sent them a blind request.
Finally, it’s also a great place to share things like industry news or even personal projects. Just be sure you understand the rules of the group before sharing anything personal or strictly related to your experience or career.
Finally, if there isn’t a group that has what you’re looking for, you can start your own! Make this as niched down or broad as you like. Share the information that you want to see and set the rules and the tone of your group.
I definitely recommend this option if you have a blog or website or if you don’t see a particular subject represented on the site itself.
TIP #8: GET JOB ALERTS
Now that we’ve gotten all of the networking out of the way, the final tip to make your Linkedin experience powerful and productive is setting specific alerts for jobs.
This is one of my favorite features on the site or app itself because it gives you the opportunity to be alerted when jobs that have a specific keyword are posted. The best part about this is that you can set as many alerts as your heart desires.
You can also make this as specific as you want it to be. For example, if you’re looking for a fully remote role within merchandising at a footwear company, you can set that specific alert anytime something is posted that includes those specifications.
If this is the route you want to take though, I recommend having multiple alerts. One can be as specific as this and others can be a bit more broad or include broader keywords.
For example, using the parameters mentioned above, you could make the 2nd alert be for merchandising roles, a third for footwear company roles and a 4th for fully remote fashion positions.
While it sounds overwhelming, the alerts don’t come that often and this way, you’ll have more chances to find something you’re looking for without pigeon-holing yourself to just 1 very specific job alert.
IN THE END…
LinkedIn is an essential platform for professionals looking to connect with others in their industry while showcasing their skills and experience. If you’re job hunting or looking to advance your career, it’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out to recruiters and accurately represents your experience in a way that highlights the best areas within your career.
A quick recap to remember about all of these Linkedin tips and tricks shared:
- Update your personal Linkedin URL to showcase your name. If your name is taken, use a middle initial or even a number to make it as personal and close to your name as possible. Remember that this part of the URL is case sensitive which means if you use a capital letter, this is how you must always write or share it, otherwise people won’t be able to access your profile
- When selecting your profile picture, remember that it is the first thing recruiters see when they visit your profile, so make sure to use a high-quality, professional-looking headshot that represents you well. Avoid selfies and group pictures
- Your summary is a great place to showcase your unique strengths and accomplishments. Use it to tell your professional story, highlight your achievements and explain why you’re a good fit for the types of roles you’re interested in
- Take advantage of the Featured area on your profile page. Adding media to your profile, such as videos, presentations, or articles you’ve written, can help you stand out and showcase your skills and expertise. Choose media that is relevant to the fashion industry and showcases your talents and achievements.
- Your experience area is what most resembles a resume on this platform, so be sure to fill it out accordingly. Make sure to use descriptive words and industry keywords to be more searchable to brands and recruiters and be mindful of your grammar
- Take advantage of the power LinkedIn has for building connections, so make sure to reach out to professionals within your industry. In addition to growing your network, this can help you get noticed by recruiters and give you access to job opportunities and valuable industry insights
- LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with professionals in your industry and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions to get noticed by recruiters and to build your network
- Use the job alerts feature to its fullest capacity. Keywords and filters that fit into multiple alerts will give you more choices for jobs to apply to.
I truly hope this post has been beneficial to you – it was one of my favorites to make because I know just how powerful and beneficial Linkedin can be for your career.
Don’t be afraid of reaching out to senior members of companies you love or people that currently have the position you’re interested in pursuing. Be brief and professional and request an informational meeting that can take place over a zoom call.
If you’re not sure of what to ask at this meeting, I have a Cheat Sheet with 40 questions that will help you ask specific industry questions during an informational meeting and put you more at ease when speaking to industry leaders.
Remember, you’ve got this.
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