1. If you’re unemployed, have a current job entry anyway.
This is a genius hack from the University of Washington: “If you’ve only listed the past positions you’ve held in the experience section but show nothing current, you’ll probably get missed in most searches.” This is because many recruiters primarily use the “current title” box to search for job candidates. If you’re currently unemployed, insert a job listing in the current section that includes the positions you’re looking for. For example, I could write, “Blogger” as my title and “Seeking New Opportunity” under the company name field.
2. Write in the first person.
You want this to be conversational in tone. If you were talking to an interviewer, you’d say, “I really like hedgehogs,” not “Melissa really likes hedgehogs.”
3. Highlight your accomplishments.
Don’t just list your duties. List everything you’ve crushed! For example, if you’re in charge of concession sales at a movie theater, don’t just say, “sold snacks.” Write “increased popcorn upsells by 16 percent in my first month.”
4. Use your summary space.
Write about yourself in about three to five paragraphs. Using bullet points somewhere in the middle works, too, because you won’t intimidate your reader with a giant block of text.
5. Be consistent in your punctuation, grammar, spelling, and formatting.
Of course, you know to spellcheck everything. But if you have discrepancies in style (for example, round bullet points in one list and dashes in another), it’s going to look careless.
6. Make specific keywords work for you.
Take a gander at job descriptions that appeal to you, then use Wordle or another tool to see which words stand out most. Those are probably the ones that recruiters are using to search for candidates like you, so make sure you pepper them throughout your profile!
7. Make your photo work!
You shouldn’t just serve some fierce face in your LinkedIn photo. You should also have a photo that represents you’ll be great at the jobs for which you’re hunting. For example, my teacher pal recently had a lot more messages when she changed her profile photo to one of her with her elementary-school aged son than she had when she used a cute but generic selfie.
If you have the option to have your URL be LinkedIn.com/janedoe (assuming your name is “Jane Doe”), use it. It looks neater and is easier to find than a bunch of random letters and numbers that can just get assigned to you.
LinkedIn will actually track this for you in a cute graph. The closer you get to 100 percent, the more likely recruiters will find and hire you.
Be colorful. Generic won’t sell.