How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out to Recruiters

person using LinkedIn to find a job
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LinkedIn can be a powerful tool during a job search. As of October 2020, LinkedIn reported that three people are getting hired on the networking platform every minute. So, how do you become one of those people? To find out, GOBankingRates spoke to recruiters, career pros and human resources experts to find out what they personally look for in a LinkedIn profile when looking to fill an open position. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to make your LinkedIn profile stand out to these stakeholders.

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Fill Out the ‘Featured’ Section

You may not have even noticed it, but your LinkedIn profile contains a “Featured” section under the “About” section. This is an area where you can highlight samples of your work, including LinkedIn posts, documents, media and websites.

“Personally, I am impressed by candidates who utilize the ‘Featured’ section of their LinkedIn profiles,” said Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com. “LinkedIn users may highlight five items that they believe showcase their talents in the strongest light or best represent the range and diversity of the kind of work they do. If you have incredible work you’d like to highlight, utilize this section for it!”

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Ask For Recommendations

It’s one thing to talk about your own accomplishments, but getting recommendations from people who have worked with you in the past can help make you stand out.

“Gather testimonials from managers, colleagues or others who have worked with you in a meaningful capacity,” said Rebecca Safier, founder of Remote Bliss, a resource for remote job seekers. “Not only can these testimonials shed light on what it’s like to work with you, but they can also be a valuable and persuasive form of social proof that impresses prospective employers.”

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Share Posts on LinkedIn

You may organically attract the attention of a recruiter by sharing posts on LinkedIn that highlight your expertise.

“Publish articles or other works that establish you as a thought leader in your field,” Safier said. “LinkedIn can be a powerful form of social media, and you can use it to establish your professional authority, make connections with others in your industry, and share your unique thoughts and ideas.”

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Be Thoughtful in How You Fill Out Your Headline

“Don’t use the headline of your LinkedIn profile to tell people you are looking for a job, in any words. Use as many of the 220 characters you get in your headline to tell the viewer what you do (or want to do), using keywords relevant to the job you want,” said Teddy Burriss, founder of Burriss Consulting, Inc. and a LinkedIn strategist and consultant. “Your headline is the most important text field on your LinkedIn profile. It is searched with all LinkedIn search tools (LinkedIn and Recruiter) and shows up in all of the search results windows.”

Darrell Rosenstein, recruiter and founder of The Rosenstein Group, recommends including a number in your headline.

“Numbers always stand out,” he said. “They convey the value of something, and in this case, your value and what you bring to the table. In your LinkedIn headline, try adding a figure to describe a specific achievement. For example, if you are a B2B conversion copywriter, your headline could include the conversion rates you have achieved for your clients in past projects. For example, the headline could read ‘B2B Conversion Copywriter. 2X Conversions for [client name].’ This is a solid way to show just what you are capable of doing.”

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Include Keywords in Your ‘About’ Section

Just as the headline should include relevant keywords, so should your ‘About’ section.

“Use keywords in appropriately written sentences telling the viewer about your accomplishments and involvement in previous jobs, again, relevant to the job you want to do,” Burriss said. “You get up to 2,600 characters to tell stories about the skills you have in this field. The more relevant this information is, the better your LinkedIn profile will rank in relevant searches. Irrelevant content and keywords negatively impact the ranking of your LinkedIn profile in searches.”

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Highlight Relevant Skills in the ‘Skills’ Section

You have the option to “pin” three top skills in the “Skills & Endorsements” section of your profile. LinkedIn will automatically sort this to show the skills with your most endorsements, but these may not be relevant to the jobs you are now applying for. You should also remove irrelevant skills.

“Pinning your top three skills to the top makes them immediately visible to the viewer,” Burriss said. “Removing irrelevant skills helps to improve the ranking of your LinkedIn profile in relevant searches.”

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Make Your Profile Memorable

“If the profile tells a story in a personal and engaging way and you’re able to identify what they are good at, that’s what makes a Linkedin profile stand out,” said Fareen Shaikh, career coach and director of talent at Acework.io. “A recruiter will come across many profiles, so if you can make them laugh or you have something memorable to say, they’re more likely to keep you in mind.”

Include a Profile Photo and Background Photo

Several recruiters noted the importance of having a profile photo — some would not even click on a profile that did not include a photo of the job candidate. Your profile photograph should be current, clear and only show you.

Choose “a friendly picture that shows you’re warm, but also composed,” said Jacques Buffett, a career expert at Zety. You should also include a professional background photo.

“Yes, aesthetics actually do matter,” Buffett said.

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Last updated: April 22, 2021

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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