Building your LinkedIn professional network is advantageous to your job search and networking growth. The connections you make on LinkedIn can land you your next job or client. Additionally, you make it easier for recruiters and employers to view an online portfolio and resume. Anything employers require from a job applicant can be featured on a LinkedIn profile from certifications to professional references. How do you build up your profile to get the most out of what LinkedIn has to offer? Here are a few LinkedIn networking tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

1. Upload a professional headshot

Having a photo-less LinkedIn profile will not get you very far. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21x more views and 36x more messages. Users prefer to connect with someone they can recognize as human rather than a icon. Furthermore, LinkedIn professionals can view the LinkedIn avatar image as a bot rather than a person. When choosing a photo, follow these guidelines:

linkedin networking tips for a professional headshot and profile photo
  • Don’t pick any random one. The more professional the better. However, if the last professional photo taken of you was in 1997, consider either finding another or getting your headshot taken. You want to be recognizable in the photo.
  • Additionally, use a photo with high resolution. Pixelated photos appear unprofessional and lazy.
  • Be the only person in the photo. Group photos can confuse viewers.
  • Make sure your face takes up about 60 percent of the photo. Photos that are too far away or too close also appear unprofessional.
  • Get someone else to take the photo or use a self-timer. Thanks to social media, most online users view selfies as informal.
  • Wear professional attire such as what you would wear to the office. Wearing casual clothing can make the wrong impression.
  • Lastly, don’t use crazy filters. Filters can distort your features and also appear unprofessional.

2. Write a summary statement

Create a small summary of who you are that should mention your title, brief experience, industry and goals moving forward. Besides your photo and title, summaries are the first item people view on your profile. Get straight down to business and give employers the introductory information they would need to determine if you qualify as a candidate. However, you don’t have to stick to one type of summary. Instead, narrow it down to three:

  1. The mission-based. Spin your summary with the intention on how you can help the employer. Many of these types of summaries deal with clients.
  2. The personality. Certainly the more creative of the three, tell users a unique story of how you got into your industry. A word of caution: don’t make it too lengthy.
  3. The short-and-sweet. Make it easy and straight to the point. Recruiters and some human resources professionals probably look at 100 profiles, resumes, and summary statements a day. So give them the necessary information they need in a concise format.

3. Fill out relevant experience

This one is a no-brainer. LinkedIn gives you the ability to feature companies on your profile that can be linked to their main LinkedIn page. Even though you don’t have to worry about lack of room, stick to 4-5 relevant items so users can easily search through them. Additionally, you can attach any relevant work such as links, photos, and documents. This gives LinkedIn the ability to act as both a dynamic online resume and portfolio. As you may already know, summarize your experience using a quantitative description rather than qualitative.

4. Add certifications and organizations

Adding certifications and organizations to your profile can also expand your LinkedIn page. When other people see the projects and organizations you are involved with, they get a fuller picture of who you are and what you do based on your profile. This can help develop more useful connections. Your organizations can show your passions and causes you care deeply about. If you add professional organizations, you can increase your credibility on LinkedIn as well.

5. Connect with users

LinkedIn has the feature where you can sync your contacts through various sources such as email or social media. That way, you can find relevant connections more easily. Get the best out of our LinkedIn networking tips by connecting with people you know such as past or present colleagues and old peers. Then, branch out from there. Begin following industry professionals with large followings. Lastly, find organizations on LinkedIn and start connecting with their CEOs and human resources department. There is no rule on connecting with people on LinkedIn. However, since you want to develop a network, we suggest developing a larger amount of connections rather than smaller.

6. Obtain references and endorsements

Reconnect with old colleagues and managers to receive references and endorsements. After sending connections to colleagues and managers, consider asking for a reference or endorsement. A reference is simply a professional recommendation featured at the bottom of your LinkedIn profile. An endorsement is a connection indicating that you excel in a particular skill. Both items help boost professionalism.

7. Join relevant groups in your industry.

linkedin networking tips on joining industry groups

You can either search for industry groups or find them under Discover More. There, LinkedIn recommends hashtags, professionals, pages and groups you should follow. You can use LinkedIn’s industry resources to your advantage by joining groups that are specifically hiring in your industry.

You can also join other relevant groups, ask questions, and post content. Ultimately, start interacting with users, groups and trends to not only boost LinkedIn’s algorithm to show your profile, but to also get further access into the industry and your career.

Start the application process right by giving hiring managers everything they require online. By following these LinkedIn networking tips, your network growth will be off on the right foot. However, if you still have difficulty, IT Resources can help you polish up your resume and interviewing skills and direct you toward a job suited to your interest. We work hard to place professionals with top companies nationwide. Our career counselors give you personal attention throughout your job search; you’re never just a number to us. Contact us to get started today.