February 2, 2018

LinkedIn 101: Tips Essential for LinkedIn Success

By ThinkingAhead

Here we are, just over a month into the New Year. It’s a time of re-evaluation and goal setting in order to successfully take 2018 by storm! What’s the best way to get in on the action? Create or revamp your LinkedIn profile! LinkedIn is a pivotal tool and FREE resource used by professionals to connect, network, hire and discover new & interesting career opportunities. LinkedIn is constantly evolving and taking action now is so important, even if you’re not actively looking for a new career.

February happens to be one of LinkedIn’s biggest traffic months. By my informal survey, 99.9% of recruiters (including those of us here at ThinkingAhead) use LinkedIn DAILY to find top talent. Whether you’ve decided to make a change this year and are actively looking or you would just like to be kept in mind for relevant future opportunities, having an updated and detailed profile is essential. Including industry specific keywords will help ensure you’re showing up in a recruiter’s search and being found by people you actually want to be found by. Right or wrong, your profile is being evaluated by recruiters and hiring managers. It can be the reason you are one of the chosen few or one of many who are passed over. There is no better time than the present to give your profile a much-needed facelift.

At ThinkingAhead, we find that many job seekers have no picture, no education or career history or simply have outdated or incomplete information on their LinkedIn profile. As none of us have a crystal ball, it is important to keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date in case of an unforeseen layoff or other life circumstances that may require you to shift from happily employed to actively looking.


If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some helpful tips:

HEADLINE: Your headline is one of the initial things people will see, as it is the first 1-3 lines under your name. You want your headline to quickly reveal what you do. It should add value to the viewer and include keywords that highlight what you offer. It is also a space that can be used to create commonalities and relatable reasons to start a conversation.

Here are a few examples of eye-catching headlines.

1. Public Accounting Recruiter | Candidate Therapist | Demystifying The Recruiting Process One Joke At A Time

2. Career Coach & Recruiter HYBRID | Giver of Tough Love | Nice Human | Helping Qualified Job Seekers & Employers Connect

3. Commercial Division Practice Director | Market Access, Sales, and Marketing Recruiter

PHOTO: Absolutely include one! Having a default grey silhouette makes people think you are either hiding from the law or you are ashamed of your appearance! In all seriousness though, upload a photo. Your photo should go in one of two directions;  Business clothing or more of a life-style theme that showcases who you are. This is a personal preference and can differ based on your industry. Regardless, your photo should be professional. I wouldn’t recommend using a photo from your prom 25 years ago or one in your swim trunks from your last family vacation. No duck lips! Smile and keep it classy!

EXPERIENCE: List your experience as you would on your resume. Include your relevant accomplishments, awards and your responsibilities. This is your chance to highlight your skills! Don’t forget to use applicable industry keywords! Fresh out of school and new to the job market? That’s okay! List educational awards, achievements, any volunteering you have done, projects you were a part of and internships. You can always find a way to incorporate past experiences, whatever they may be.

CONTACT INFORMATION: The best LinkedIn profiles include some type of contact information. Don’t be afraid to add your email address, twitter handle or a personal website link. If you feel comfortable, add a good contact number. Make it easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to reach you, especially when you are actively looking!

RECOMMENDATIONS: This is an area for you to give and receive recommendations. All too often, we see this blank. This section is GOLD. Ask a former/current boss, colleague, customer, peer or someone you have managed. Having someone speak on your behalf is a lot more powerful than you saying it yourself. Recruiters and hiring managers love this space. Good  recommendations will sometimes provide more information than a profile can. Remember, don’t be greedy! Always offer a recommendation before you ask for one and don’t recommend or ask for a recommendation from a complete stranger.

Bottom line: Keep it clear, concise, humble and accurate. Happy editing!