How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile as a Job Seeker

Author: Victoria Cohen

Professional networks such as LinkedIn remain the #1 method of hiring next to traditional job boards and referrals, so LinkedIn could be the very key to landing your next job.


To help you understand the impact of LinkedIn, check out these current stats (reference)
• LinkedIn has 191 million members in the United States
• Over 8 million job applications are submitted each day
• 6 people get hired each minute on LinkedIn


So how do you, as an applicant, stand out in a sea of job seekers with millions of applications? It’s complicated, but we’ll break it down to the basics to help you optimize your profile, and improve your chances of getting noticed, and maybe even securing your next interview!

 1. Choose a professional, friendly profile picture

Did you know that LinkedIn members with a profile picture receive 9 times more connection requests, and 21 times more profile views than members without a photo? 

Selecting a professional, friendly profile picture is key to creating a great first impression with your LinkedIn profile. As we all know, humans are visual learners, and adding this personal touch will strengthen the connection others feel when they view your profile. It’s best to avoid photos that are too zoomed out, dark, blurry. or any group photos. Of course, make sure to leave your fun, weekend, or vacation photos out of your LinkedIn profile picture. The guidelines for your profile picture are that it should be in high resolution, at least 400 px x 400 px dimension, and JPG or PNG format.


2. Complete your profile

Write your bio
Writing your bio is completely up to you, so feel free to be creative. Make sure to write about some of your basic highlights, what you bring to the table, and what you’re seeking if you’re currently open to work. Try not to simply restate your work experience and education here – make your profile summary memorable with your values, passions, and a hint of your personality!

Add a background photo
Adding a background photo is essential to completing your profile. This is a great way to personalize your profile and show who you are. Some popular options for this section include quotes, city skylines, or branded photos. The dimension guideline for your background photo is 1584 px x 396 px, and it should be JPG, PNG, or GIF file format

Complete work experience
Here’s your chance to showcase your skills and accomplishments in your previous roles. LinkedIn will automatically sort your previous positions by most recent once you add your start and end dates, which is a nice time-saving feature. Separate your responsibilities and achievements with bullet points and descriptors with each. Put an emphasis on “showing” rather than “telling” through quantifiable results of your work – this is a great way for hiring managers to understand the true results of your work.

Complete educational history
Make sure to always include the basics such as the name of your university or college, and area of study. For current students or recent grads, feel free to include clubs, volunteering, and GPA stats to help you stand out. For those who have been in the workforce for a few years, it’s a good idea to refine these extra details in your education section.

Add skills
Adding a strong skills section not only shows what your best at, it also lowers your chances of getting filtered out by potential employers. Did you know that 40% of companies rely on skills filters to identify potential candidates for job openings? (reference)
If you’re not quite sure what to write in this section , add your top skills or the most relevant skills to the job that you are currently seeking. Take some time to endorse you other connections for their skills, and hopefully they will get the nudge to review and even endorse yours in return.

3. Enhance your visibility to recruiters and potential employers

Most of us are familiar with the “open to work” profile pictures – these are great for recent grads, or those who are returning to the workforce. However, those who are employed and seeking a new opportunity don’t want to advertise it. Thankfully, LinkedIn has options to choose who’s able to see you as a match in the job search. By utilizing these features, you can optimize your profile to increase your visibility in the hiring process.

Step 1: On your main profile, click “Open to” and then select “Finding a new job”

Step 2: Select your job preferences and “Choose who sees you’re open” 

If you’d like to keep your search private to recruiters, select recruiters only. If you’re not currently employed or would like to advertise your job search, select “All LinkedIn members”

4. Build trust through recommendations

It’s difficult to build trustful connections with hiring managers through a screen. LinkedIn recommendations not only help to showcase real life examples of who you are as an employee, they also help to build that trust. It may feel awkward, but reach out to previous mentors, colleagues, and supervisors and ask them to write a LinkedIn recommendation on your profile. To help guide them, offer to provide specific highlight requests and prompt them on what to talk about in your recommendation, because quality triumphs quantity in this section.

While there’s no such thing as the perfect LinkedIn profile, we hope you find this guide helpful in improving your LinkedIn profile, and helping you thrive on next job search!

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