Are you on LinkedIn? You should be.
This is one of the most valuable online tools out there to help you develop professionally in your career. And if you’re job hunting? Well, it’s a no brainer.
If your profile is out of date, your profile picture is a poor-quality selfie or all you do is talk about how much you love your cat, you could be missing out on some big opportunities.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s a big job. Not only do you have to create a LinkedIn page, but you’ve also got to keep it up to date too. Plus, there are so many different parts to fill in. Before you’ve even started, you feel instantly overwhelmed and wonder where to even begin.
Through my LinkedIn page, I’ve received both job offers and freelance gigs, which means my profile is doing it’s job. So how do you know if yours is? Today, I wanted to share with you these 16 simple hacks I’ve used that can help make yourself more hireable on LinkedIn. Let’s go.
By the way, if you'd like all the points in this post in a simple way all in one place, I've got a FREE checklist that you can download right here. Just click the button below!
#1 | Make sure you’ve got the basics up to date
These might seem like the least important things to you, but overall they can make a huge difference. Here are a couple of things to check:
- Make sure you’re using a custom URL. So when you originally set up your LinkedIn page, your URL will just look like a load of numbers. What you can do instead is change it to something like this: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollysutton2. Putting your name in it makes you instantly recognisable and brands yourself too.
- Include your email address, website and social media platforms. If someone wants to get in touch with you through another channel, including these makes that happen. There’s nothing worse than wanting to get in touch with a person and not being able to find their contact information.
#2 | Make your headline creative
You might think your headline should be your current job title, but this is actually a big mistake. Instead, be creative. Use your headline to describe what you want to do next. Plus, you can include more than one title too. This is mine at the moment:
Really, I class myself to have three jobs - my full-time one, my freelance business and my blog. That’s why I’ve included three different titles in one headline, so each represents one part of my career.
One thing to remember as you work through your LinkedIn page is that this is your chance to show off. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to show people what you can do!
#3 | Upload a professional profile picture and keep it updated
In one of the workshops I deliver, I talk about branding yourself across your social media platforms. People are more likely to connect with you if they know who you are. Your profile picture is the way to do this.
Right now I want you to head to Kory’s blog and open up her Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest in different tabs. Look back over them. What do they have in common? She’s using the same profile picture for each one.
The same applies for LinkedIn. Consistency is such an important thing to be aware of and it really pays off.
#4 | Use keywords throughout your page
Notice how in my headline above how I’ve used words like “blogger”, “freelance writer” and “digital marketing”? I use those words throughout my summary and experiences too. This is because I want my profile to appear when people search for these keywords.
Think about what words people associate with your profession - they’re the words you want to include.
Let’s say you’re a designer, like Lauren from Elle & Company. Throughout her page, she’d want to include words like “graphic designer”, “branding”, and “design”. If you take a look at her profile, you’ll see that these words feature quite frequently.
Notice how she’s customised her URL, too? 😉
Take a few minutes to search for jobs in your industry (even if you’re not actively looking for a new one). Note down the words that are used, then pick out the ones that are used most often. They’re the keywords that you want to use throughout your page.
#5 | Make use of the summary space
In other words, don’t leave it blank! This is one of the first things people will see when they visit your page. It’s essentially like a mini about page. You want to use it to attract the right people and tell people what you’re all about.
Just like I’ve said before about updating your about page on your website every six months, it’s important to do this with your LinkedIn summary too. This keeps your page fresh, which means it’s more likely to appear when someone is doing a search.
I’ve recently changed my LinkedIn summary so it promotes more of my freelance services. So with my summary, I’ve taken text from my ‘hire me’ page on my website, tweaked it a little and used that. It’s simple, to the point and most importantly tells people who I target and what I have to offer.
#6 | Use visuals where possible
In data collected by Hubspot, they listed that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. If we apply this to LinkedIn, that means that if you include coloured visuals throughout your profile, people are more likely to read about what you’ve done and what you have to offer.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Upload your blog posts to LinkedIn including a photo (more on this later!)
- Include a screenshot of your website
- Include screenshots of other websites you provide work for
- Include screenshots of examples of things you talk about in your experiences
Head to Elna’s profile for some great examples.
#7 | Show your personality
One of the worst things that can happen when you’re reading a LinkedIn summary is getting the feeling that it’s been written by a robot. Ideally, you want to make it appear that you’re having a conversation with someone.
Be simple. Use short sentences. Ask questions. Here are some of the phrases I include in my summary:
- “Need a writer for your blog?”
- “I get it. You’re busy.”
- “If you need… I’m the person for you.”
- “Feel free to head over to my website…”
These aren’t formal sentences and they’re not putting pressure on anyone either. They’re basically saying, hey, I can relate to you and I can provide services to help you. Interested? Let’s have a chat.
Go through your summary and pretend you’re reading it as an outsider. Do you feel like you’re having a conversation with yourself? Can you identify your personality through your words?
#8 | Don’t write in third person
I can sort of understand the reason for this. You want to shout about your achievements and sometimes the third person seems right for that. But honestly, the first person makes so much sense for LinkedIn.
The main reason for this is that when you use the third person, it creates distance between you and someone viewing your profile. It’s like they’re not reading something written by you. You can’t show your personality, you can’t make yourself relatable and it’s definitely not a way to make yourself more hireable.
Obviously it completely depends on personal preference. But for me, reading a profile written in the first person makes me a hell of a lot more likely to connect with them.
#9 | List all of your experiences
By all of them, I mean all of them! Go back to the very beginning when you first started out getting experience for free. Put everything on there that relates to what you currently do. It’s a big task to get this done in one go, but your profile will look so much better when it’s complete.
Your full-time jobs, your part-time jobs, any work experience you’ve had, volunteering, work you’ve done for free - it all helps to make you more hireable. Go ahead and create that career timeline!
#10 | Get recommendations
You know when you’re buying a new product online and you read reviews and ask for feedback on social media to make sure you’re making the right decision? That’s exactly what recommendations are like on LinkedIn.
They act as your backup and they help build your credibility. They basically say, hey - Holly is really good at what she does!
If you’re a freelancer, the best place to start is by asking your clients - especially the ones you’ve got a good working relationship with. Otherwise, ask some of your colleagues at work - your manager would also be a great person to ask.
#11 | Keep your skills up to date
Your skills also back up what you can do. If you say in the description for one of your jobs that you work with InDesign and Photoshop, add those to your skills - even better if you get endorsed for them!
#12 | Connect with lots of people
The more connections you have, the better your profile looks. And you don’t need to know everyone you connect with either. They could be potential clients, potential companies you want to work for, related freelancers in your field, related companies in your industry, CEO’s of companies - there are endless possibilities.
Spend up to an hour each month connecting with new people. You get an extra point if you send them a personalised message!
#13 | Add your blog posts
This is by far one of the most important things I can recommend you doing for your LinkedIn profile. Especially if you’re a freelance writer.
It essentially acts as your portfolio. I use my blog to show that I’m knowledgeable in the topics I write about. This makes it more likely for clients to connect with me, because they’re not only seeing my work in action, but they’re getting proof of my capabilities too.
It’s so easy to add a blog post to LinkedIn and takes no time at all to do. Try it and see what happens.
#14 | Highlight your best experience first
Nope - your list of experiences doesn’t necessarily have to be in chronological order. It can be in order of your biggest gig to your smallest one or the one you’re most proud of and then list them in order or priority.
The top three experiences listed on my profile directly represent one of the three key phrases in my headline:
- Launch and Hustle for Digital Marketing Freelance Writer
- Marketing Coordinator for my day job
- Blogger for the management of A Branch of Holly
If you’ve got a full-time job but want to make freelancing your career (whatever your profession), make sure you put an experience related to your freelancing at the top. Even if it’s your blog - that’s good enough.
#15 | Use a background image to brand yourself
Remember how we talked about consistency before? You can add to that with your background photo.
You could use one from your blog post if you create your images in a certain way, a screenshot of your website or an image of something you’ve created.
My background photo at the moment is a screenshot of all the images from the challenges in my #BloggingBreakthrough eBook. The images represent my brand and the eBook is also a huge part of what I have to offer as a business.
#16 | Be active daily
Last but not least - like any social platform, in order to see results, you’ve got to be active.
Unlike Twitter and Instagram, you only really need to spend around five minutes a day going through and liking people’s statuses, leaving a comment here or there and connecting with a few new people. Less is more and it will all add up to delivering some big results.
a final note
The good thing about LinkedIn is that you don’t have to do all these things at once. You can just do them over a period of time and watch how your presence on there grows.
Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. It might’ve taken me a while to figure out how I could make it work for me, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you.
Remember, if you want the free checklist, just click the button below!
Do you use LinkedIn to help grow your career? What other tips do you have for crafting a great profile? Share your thoughts in the comments!