DIY LinkedIn Profile Checklist – 10 Steps to Get You Started

Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important resources you have to reinforce your personal brand and candidate appeal. It should not only reinforce your key accomplishments you include in your resume and cover letter, but also provides you with an opportunity to deliver even more information about who you are and your capabilities. Here are 10 Steps to get your LinkedIn profile in working order. Look for expanded information about what to include in each step, in an upcoming series.

1. Optimize Your Tagline

LinkedIn’s official algorithm information on how you get to the top of a search is an industry secret. But what is known, is how important it is to optimize your tagline with keywords. In your tagline, also known as your headline, use the words, descriptors and deliverables that you want to be found for. Do not let it default to your current job title, instead, use that area for an optimized description of who you are and what you are capable of.  

2. Use a Professional Photo

Having a photo attached to your LinkedIn profile is critical – as long as you use a photo that is professional and appropriate for the type of industry you are in and the type of job you are applying for. Recruiters and hiring managers want to feel a personal connection with you as a candidate, which is why your photo is so important. Use a cropped headshot that is free from blurs, other people and distractions. Make sure you look approachable and eliminate unnecessary backgrounds, below the torso details, and any awkward poses.  

3. Achievement-Driven Summary

The summary section provides you a space to showcase your achievements and key accomplishments. It should be filled with examples of how you have achieved various things, instead of simply telling people a recap of your experience. Remove the fluff from your summary and instead, make it jam-packed with action-orientated information and language, letting your personality shine through.  

4. Use Keywords in Summary & Experience Sections

Keywords are important throughout your profile, not just your tagline. In your summary and experience sections, be sure to use words that you want hiring managers to “find you” for in a keyword search. Use descriptor words that share your abilities, subject matter expertise, and skill sets as often as possible, especially in your summary and experience sections.  

5. Choose the Right Skills & Endorsements

The skills section allows you to create an instant association to different skill sets that you want to be known for. Be careful in choosing the right skills for the job you are seeking and your personal brand. The options seem limitless – but here is the place to remember your specialization and focus only on the skills that make the most sense for your overall profile and the types of roles you are seeking. Your connections will then be able to provide endorsements for these skills to indicate that you have the skills you are claiming, creating a form of endorsement of your skills for future positions.  

6. Complete All Sections, Including Education & Interests

The more complete your profile, the higher up in the rankings your profile will be. Be sure to complete all of the sections including Education and Interests. Insert the applicable information – being conscious about the overall impact it will have on your personal brand. Include details that help enhance your brand and make your profile stronger.  

7. Claim a Vanity URL

It’s a lot easier to point people to your LinkedIn profile, when you have a direct link with your name in it. LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL easily, and you should absolutely change it. Otherwise, you will be stuck with a generic LinkedIn link that will be difficult to include on your resume materials and/or business cards.  

8. Get Recommendations

Having colleagues, bosses, clients, and others provide a recommendation about your work and capabilities is the best kind of social proof you can get on LinkedIn. Reach out to your connections and ask them to provide a recommendation. The more qualitative the recommendation, the better. Be sure to approve and include the recommendations on your profile and return the favor when asked.  

9. Showcase Your Work

There are several sections in your profile that allow you to showcase your work, professional credentials and demonstrate your personality. All of these sections add dimension to your overall brand. Include relevant information in each of these sections such as Publications, Projects, Courses, Volunteer Experience, and so on. Upload applicable whitepapers, media, presentations, and videos as applicable. But before adding to these sections, make sure that what you include reinforces your personal brand.  

10. Sync Your Profile to Your Resume

In most job application scenarios, people will find your LinkedIn profile after they have reviewed your resume. It’s important that your resume and LinkedIn profile are synced with accurate information across both mediums. Everything needs to align – it doesn’t have to be word-for-word, but the dates, titles, information, skills, and so on, need to match up. These 10 Steps of our DIY LinkedIn Profile checklist will get you on your way to a LinkedIn profile that stands out and reinforces your personal brand. Need more help from the Best LinkedIn Profile Writer? Get a formal, customized LinkedIn Profile Review from Lisa Rangel, a paid LinkedIn article contributor and Moderator of LinkedIn's 255,000 member Job Seeker Premium Group. Don't wait! If you would like to learn even more about how to optimize your LinkedIn Profile the right way to be found by top recruiters, check out our LinkedIn Leads Recorded Webinar with LIFETIME ACCESS available HERE.  

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