If you’re looking for your dream job, you should have an awesome LinkedIn profile. Why? Because LinkedIn, for all its imperfections, is your unique 'shop window' to the world and the go-to tool for recruiting. Roughly  97% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates and 64% of those ONLY use LinkedIn. 

Your LinkedIn Profile you should make you as visible, impressive and memorable as possible to your viewers. There are tons of ways to achieve this on LinkedIn: some require a serious investment of time and money, whereas others – like these LinkedIn Hacks – are a shortcut to success.

Here are 11 simple-to-implement strategies that can boost your career progression using LinkedIn: 

1. First things first, you need to build an all-star LinkedIn profile

Click here for a handy guide to building the perfect LinkedIn profile. And don’t worry if you can’t get your profile above “All-Star” status – this is actually the highest level you can achieve on LinkedIn.

2. Use a photo that is actually flattering

Yes, the content of your LinkedIn profile is important but as with any real-world encounter it’s your photo which often determines whether the recruiter will click to read more or not. Despite this, LinkedIn is littered with awful, cringe-worthy, poorly lit and inappropriate profile pictures.

What makes a good photo?

It should be professional. Not with your cat, not in your bikini.

It should be well lit, ideally with a plain background or outdoors. If you opt for an outdoor shot, try to avoid taking it at midday as the overhead lighting creates awkward shadows.

It shouldn’t be too formal or informal. Your profile picture should reflect the culture and dress code of your dream company, and, more importantly, your personality.

-  Consider hiring a professional photographer. Professional photographers will make sure the lighting and composition is bang on and they can airbrush away those pesky under-eye circles and acne. Photoshoots can be quite pricey – ranging from £200-500 – but it’s an investment that will make sure you present yourself in the best light to recruiters and hiring managers for several years.  

3.  Write a Compelling Headline

Your LinkedIn headline should make the reader want to click to read more about you. Along with the profile photo, this section is responsible for determining the readers' first impression of you so it's crucial that you make the most of that space.

The headline doesn’t have to be your job title + company. In fact, you should see it as a condensed version of your profile, telling the world who you are in 120 characters or less. 

Generally, you can choose to write a Keyword-Packed LinkedIn Headline or a Power Statement LinkedIn HeadlineHere is a brilliant LinkedIn Headline generator, courtesy of Donna Serdula of LinkedIn-Makeover.com, that will help you build either. 

4. Include a Call to Action in your LinkedIn Summary

If you are willing to speak to recruiters about new opportunities, encourage readers to get in touch. You don’t have to leave your email address or phone number, you can always suggest they connect with you via LinkedIn or another social network.

Obviously, if you're a covert job seeker, you might not want to write "I'm actively seeking new career opportunities. Please contact me if you are hiring.” However, you can still signal you’re open to a conversation about your career aspirations without outing yourself by simply writing “I’m always looking for a new problem to solve or to expand my network in this industry, so feel free to contact me at janebloggs@gmail.com”

5. SEO Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

SEO is technical, complicated, and only relevant to people in Digital Marketing, right? Not at all! If you can search on Google, you can do SEO.

SEO Optimizing your LinkedIn profile ensures your page is optimally written to be found on the web. All you need to do is think about the keywords that are relevant to your career and weave them into your profile page in the appropriate places.

A great way to find relevant keywords is to look at the job descriptions that you find attractive and put that text into Wordle . It will show you the most commonly used words so you can easily incorporate these into your profile as appropriate.

6.  Update Your LinkedIn Profile Regularly

To create a successful career, you need to become known in your industry as well as your company. Updating your LinkedIn Profile regularly enhances your personal brand, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to tell the world about your recent professional achievements. There is no reason why your employer should have a problem with this.

You should also regularly post content that you find interesting – this is an easy way to stay connected with your network, whilst keeping up to date with industry news. 

7. Join LinkedIn Groups To Get Closer To Key Contacts

If you want to send a message to someone that isn’t a first connection, join a group that they are in. This means you’re technically ‘closer’ to them and will be able to message them easily from the group’s members page, without having to pay for a premium account.

Participating in the group conversations also makes you more visible to industry insiders who might be able to help you get that dream job!

8.  Use LinkedIn to Build Your Resume 

Creating and updating a presentable resume can now be easy and stress-free with LinkedIn’s Resume Builder.

'Nuff said. 

9.   Endorse, and be Endorsed

Almost everyone has received those random endorsements and have just ignored them, but these help you appear higher and in more searches.

How do you get more endorsements? Usually if you show some love, you'll get some back in return. Endorse your friends, family, lovers, former colleagues, and it's likely that they will endorse you right back. 

10. Find Employers Who Like To Hire From Your Alma Mater

Thanks to LinkedIn's Education feature it's easy to see where your classmates are working and which employers prefer to hire from your university. 

First, you’ll need to make sure you’ve added your college studies in your Education section. Then use the drop-down menu under Interests andclick on Education. You can also do this by clicking “Find Alumni” under the Network menu option.

You’ll see a number of options, but if you click on “See Your School" you will see the top 3 employers and functions of your college cohorts.

Click on “Where they work” to get results filtered by location, company names, and job functions.

Source: Laura Smith-Proulx, CareerRealism

11.  Don’t just say it. Display it!

Thanks to LinkedIn’s new portfolio function you can add visual content to your summary, work experience and education sections on your LinkedIn profile. This is your golden opportunity to showcase everything from portfolio pieces to presentations to videos and make your profile really stand out.

To add media to your own profile on LinkedIn: click the “Edit” button on your profile page and follow the prompts in the summary, education and experience sections. You can download your content from your computer’s hard drive or from the internet. Easy Peasy. 

Of course, these hacks are just the beginning. There are lots of ways to gain insider’s knowledge of LinkedIn's platform and fresh new apps and tools are constantly being launched to maximise your presence as a strong job market contender. Who knows where your LinkedIn Profile is going to take you? 

Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith

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