Today, over 600 million professionals have a LinkedIn profile connecting them with a nearly unlimited network of business professionals and career opportunities. But many users treat their LinkedIn profile as an afterthought—updating it only when they’re on the job hunt—while others simply view it as another social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Why Every Tech Pro Needs a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn offers a platform for tech professionals to create peer connections, track industry trends and events, and discover career opportunities. Here are some of the main reasons every tech pro should be on LinkedIn:
- Career Opportunities: LinkedIn is a powerful tool for those on the job hunt because hiring managers and recruiters are actively looking for talent on the platform every day. A whopping 90% of recruiters from 30 million companies regularly use LinkedIn.
- Building and Maintaining Connections: The platform promotes staying connected to colleagues, clients, classmates, mentors, and industry experts. You can join groups to share and gain expertise, become a mentor, or find someone to mentor you. A single connection can open doors to new opportunities.
- Keeping Track of Industry Trends: Industry peers and experts from all genres are active on LinkedIn. You can review endless publications on a wide variety of topics that provide industry-specific insights, trends to watch, or tips to help you solve daily challenges.
- Managing Your Personal Brand: 57% of the 645 million users on LinkedIn search for people before they communicate, meet, or do business with them. LinkedIn provides an opportunity to make a solid first impression.
10 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is an essential and powerful tool for any technology professional—from seeking a new job to maintaining a personal brand. (The free price tag is a bonus too!) Tech pros must have an active and polished profile if they want to achieve the full benefit of LinkedIn.
#2 – Improve Your Headline
The headline is your opportunity to impress potential connections—don’t waste this valuable space! Most professionals list their current title or position, but don’t stop there. Add at least one other attribute, skill, or accomplishment to help you stand out.
Use this real estate to emphasize your current job, the things you excel at, or topics you have a professional interest in. If you are on the job hunt, use this space to describe what you are looking for in your next role.
#3 – Be Strategic About Your Endorsed Skills
Do you have endorsements for many ordinary skills that are entirely unrelated or just not valuable to your personal brand? (i.e. Google Docs, Microsoft Office.) If so, they’re cluttering up and detracting from the skills you want to be known for having. Skills are another way to add keywords to your LinkedIn profile, which increases the chance that you’ll be found when others are looking for an expert.
Follow these steps for cleaning up your endorsed skills section on LinkedIn:
- Delete Meaningless Skills: You shouldn’t list a skill unless you’re prepared with key examples or a portfolio of work to prove your expertise.
- Add Key Skills: Include skills that are key for someone in your industry and role. PRO TIP: Do a search for others in your position, and look at the skills listed for the top people.
- Reorder the List: Always put your most important skills on the top. This is for more than just visibility. When people go to endorse you, they will almost always gravitate to the top skills first, helping you build your credibility in these ideal areas.
#4 – Customize Your URL
A simple fix, but a custom URL makes it so much easier to send people to your profile (plus it looks cleaner and more professional). This LinkedIn help article provides easy instructions for customizing your URL.
#5 – Add a Profile and Background Image
This LinkedIn feature is the opportunity to express more about who you are and what you do in a highly memorable format. People remember visual imagery more than they retain written information. It is essential to have a background image if you want your LinkedIn profile to standout.
- Profile Image: According to LinkedIn, profiles with headshots are 21x more likely to be viewed than those without a profile picture. Your headshot should be clear, professional, and only include you. The rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t look like that for an interview, don’t use it as your profile photo.
- Background Image: Think about what people instantly associate with what you do (developer-code, blogger-computer, etc.), or choose from any of these free, professional options you can find here.
#6 – Add (or Update) Contact Information
On your profile, be sure to include your email, phone number (optional), website, GitHub, portfolio, and other social media platforms you use professionally. LinkedIn is about making connections, and you want people to be able to contact you as a subject matter expert.
#7 – Delete Jargon
Are you a passionate, results-driven team player? Guess what, so is everyone else on LinkedIn. Overused buzzwords don’t really say anything, and they make you blend in with everyone else. Instead, remember the classic advice to “show, not tell” by discussing your accomplishments and including recommendations where others vouch for you.
Here’s a list of the most overused words on LinkedIn and more information on strategies to craft a profile without them.
#8 – Maximize Experience Real Estate
The experience section of the LinkedIn profile is the biggest miss for many users. Don’t make the common mistake of copying and pasting what it says on your resume. Instead, you should talk about your achievements, milestones you’ve delivered for the company, and the skills you’ve mastered.
Unless you’re working for a company that is a household name, there’s a high likelihood that someone reading your profile won’t know any of the companies listed. Instead of the physical location, put the URL for the website. Try adding the company boilerplate to the end of your experience too.
#9 – Request Recommendations
Similar to the value of a 5-star product review, testimonials on a LinkedIn profile can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to ask your current or past colleagues, supervisors, or former classmates for recommendations. If you are customer-facing, don’t hesitate to ask your favorite clients. Here’s a handy template you can use to start asking.
#10 – Look Active
Once you’ve updated your profile, your work isn’t over—but there’s no need to spend all day every day updating your page either. Aim to take one action, once per day, Monday through Friday. Even the smallest effort will keep your profile clean, searchable, and geared for results.
About the Author
Vince Dorazio has 20+ years of experience in the recruiting and tech industry. He is currently the Founder & CEO of UpRecruit, a recruiting platform that intelligently matches tech talent to innovative companies. He has a passion for the start-up community and serves as a mentor, advisor, and board member to multiple SaaS companies and non-profits.