3 Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Pop!

Headhunters, hiring managers, and HR professionals rely heavily on LinkedIn to identify the candidates we so desperately need to fill our open roles. With millions of professionals competing with you to get noticed, here are 3 Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Pop and stand out from the crowd.

1. Start with the end in mind — know who you’re targeting and why. One of my favorite books of all time “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey recommends to first visualize the end goal, then work backwards. What are you trying to gain from your LinkedIn use? Once you’re clear on that, formulate a strategy to target that specific audience.

If your objectives change, your LinkedIn profile should pivot to align to your new strategy. In my last position as an executive headhunter at a global firm targeting the life sciences market, everything had to relate to my goal of capturing clients’ and candidates’ attention to work with me. All my recommendations were from clients or candidates in that specific field. I would join groups and add connections solely in relation to pharma/biotech. All my posts centered around new drugs or recruitment advice specifically for the life sciences sector.

Now that I’m entering a totally new realm of coaching and personal development as the CEO of Dandan Global, I’ve added countless new connections across all fields and experience levels. My posts now share inside scoops on how to best manage and crack the code on networking/job search. I had to totally revamp my LinkedIn page to shorten my past experiences as LESS IS MORE. No one wants to read paragraphs of text, so succinctly communicate your background and experiences.

Similarly, as you climb the career ladder or switch careers, your job responsibilities change. It’s important to create a comprehensive story that is easy to understand in as few words as possible. You’re not obligated to display every single job and task you’ve ever had. If you’ve switched jobs a lot and only had a few months here and there, is it worth even documenting?

2. Get a headshot appropriate for your profession with a matching expression! Because headshots are so important, my company commissioned a photographer to create company headshots for everyone. I’ve seen many firms do this, and it’s a great strategy because your employees look very sharp, and it’s clear they work for a specific company due to the uniform format.

Here’s the last profile picture I used for many years. It was taken at a conference, which highlights my professional/industry exposure. The words “Recognizing Talent” with a purple backdrop represents the company branding. Although this picture sufficed, it was far from the best. My smile conveyed what I wanted (approachability, pleasantness, friendly customer service), but the overall picture lacked professionalism and executive presence due to the poor resolution and lack of clarity.

Under Dandan Global, I hired a photographer based in NYC, Audrey Froggatt, who will be coming to tonight’s NYC Game Changers Meetup to take free headshots for our participants. My new headshot helps me market myself better because of the high image quality and the facial expressions Audrey captured. I chose red as it’s the color of Dandan Global, matched with red lipstick. Blazer = professionalism as well, and the jewelry was a nice touch. I went light on the makeup, no heavy smokey-eye/crazy shades, because again, I’m coaching people how to excel at work, not at the club.

3. Think twice before connecting with someone new or liking/posting others’ content, because everything is tracked! LinkedIn displays all your activities under your “Recent Activity” tab, whether it’s someone else’s post you liked or your own comments/shares. Your profile changes also are announced to the world.

If your manager may freak out upon seeing you updating your LinkedIn, there is an option to choose if you want to “Notify your network?”. Slide the toggle from the green “Yes” to “No” if you decide not to publicize your changes on LinkedIn.

My view on this option is to keep it on. Fortunately, I have never worked in an antagonistic environment where managers instilled fear. Even if someone questions your motives of utilizing LinkedIn, what’s wrong with updating your professional profile? You want to represent your employer well, and certainly your job clearly, as it’s helpful to internal colleagues and external stakeholders. There’s really not much your management can do, plus, they’re probably not monitoring it.

Some people fear that too many changes may annoy their contacts, and thus choose to silence their updates. I think there’s nothing wrong with over-marketing because I’d rather be known than unknown. With the growing volume of LinkedIn users, you’re lucky if people even click on your profile, so it’s important to keep this button on. I guarantee you, for every 1 person who disables it, there are 5 more who activate it, so wouldn’t you rather be visible?

TIP for Female LinkedIn Users: Self-marketing and promotion is often touted as self-serving and negative (bragging, boasting, etc.). As 40% of the candidates I placed were women, I focus on changing that mindset especially for my female clients as the first step. LinkedIn is a great platform to share your experience through posts/op-eds on your views on the current status of your industry to continue highlighting your dedication to your profession. I have always benefited from heavily promoting myself, because I knew I worked hard and did a great job. I have the right and obligation to proudly state my success with no shame and misplaced humility.

In conclusion, I encourage users to be more active and tout your successes more. By summarizing clearly what your accomplishments are and having a great headshot, you’ll look that much more professional than the last profile. Whatever you do, just don’t sell yourself short!

What other LinkedIn tips have you benefited from? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

With a background in executive headhunting, Dandan Zhu is a coach and public speaker on using the DANDAN Method to help you achieve the life and career you envision.

Subscribe to the DAILY DANDAN Podcast for more free tips on job search!

For more professional and personal branding advice, read:

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome

3 Networking Hacks

From a Headhunter’s Perspective, Networking Tips for Introverts (I’m an Ambivert)

From a Headhunter’s Perspective, an MBA is NOT Worth the Investment*!

3 Ways to Judge Each Headhunter Who Calls You

3 Things You Should Always Tell Your Headhunter

3 Common Abuses of LinkedIn

How To Bounce Back After Someone Takes Advantage Of You

3 Steps to Describe Yourself Effectively in 30 Seconds or Less!

Follow @DandanGlobal for more advice, tips, and secrets about how to work with recruiters, HR staff and hiring managers!

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