Just as social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok have changed the way we keep in touch with each other and connect with people who share similar interests, professional networking platforms – namely LinkedIn – have changed how we connect with colleagues, professional acquaintances, and yes, even prospective employers.

LinkedIn is huge, with approximately 756 million registered users spread across more than 200 countries. How can you build a profile that stands out and best serves your professional goals? Here are some tips!

 

Pick An Appropriate Profile Photo

While each component of a solid LinkedIn profile is important in its own right, the profile photo is far from inconsequential.  LinkedIn has put some thought into what makes for a good profile photo, and they advise using a high-resolution image, avoiding complicated backgrounds, and picking photos that only depict you – not you and your friends. They advise against selfies, and to use filters sparingly. Picking a photo where you’re wearing appropriate attire falls into the “do” column.

As the old analogy says, a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure to pick wisely.

 

Titles, Headlines & Relevant Positions Matter

According to some business executives, titles and headlines are among the most important pieces of a LinkedIn profile. In fact, some experts describe the headline as an elevator pitch in 120 characters and suggest using those characters deliberately.

It’s not important to list every title you’ve held, old or irrelevant work history can be omitted. Listing volunteer work may be useful, especially if it’s relevant and recent. To make the most use of LinkedIn’s search algorithms, be sure that your titles are descriptive (i.e. “Aviation Consultant” instead of simply “Consultant”).

 

Show Off Your Education & Certifications

Naturally, your LinkedIn profile should highlight any undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate work, as this is where the foundation for your skillset is rooted.

But how about any certifications? List those, too, career experts say. Whether you hold a paralegal certificate, a pilot certificate, or a property and casualty insurance license, certificates can bolster your profile and point to talents that might not be evident elsewhere in your profile.

 

Endorsements Are Key

Endorsements are an opportunity to tell readers of your profile what former employers, colleagues, and other professional acquaintances think of you and your work. In fact, endorsements are one way to corroborate your experience and validate what you’ve written about yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask people with knowledge of your skills and professional ability for an endorsement.

 

Other Considerations

Read through every line to double-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Attention to detail is an important component in establishing professional credibility.

Your profile should be unique from top to bottom, and LinkedIn offers the option of having a custom – or vanity – URL. Why not stand out with an easy-to-remember, professional URL? You can get a vanity LinkedIn URL here.