Here's everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile.

If you’re on the market for a new job, you’ll need to dust off your long-neglected LinkedIn profile and really optimise it for your job search. It’s vital that in addition to helping you build a strong network, your profile really sells you, your experience, your skills and your achievements. Not sure how to accomplish this? Never fear ‒ we’re here to guide you through every step of the process. So what makes a perfect LinkedIn profile?

The right profile photo

Your ideal LinkedIn profile photo is a clear headshot against a plain background, ideally in office clothes. Anything less relaxed should be saved for your other social media accounts. Remember that your aim is to present a professional first impression to recruiters. Click on the following link to learn more about how to pick the perfect LinkedIn profile picture.

An eye-catching headline

LinkedIn will automatically set your headline to your current job title and company name, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave it like that! The headline is the only part of your profile that is displayed in a search, apart from your name and photo. Increase the chances of a recruiter noticing you and clicking through to your full profile by changing your headline to something more interesting and memorable. Space is limited to 120 characters, so you’ll need to be concise and punchy. Think about your USP – what can you offer that other candidates cannot? Consider your industry, area of expertise and successes.

A unique summary

This is your opportunity to show a recruiter who you really are. While a CV can be quite formal, you can let your personality shine through on your LinkedIn profile. Explain what you do, where your passion lies and what you specialise in. Don’t waste time and space on clichés such as ‘hardworking’ or ‘team player’ - focus on the high-level skills and experience that will really sell you.

Detailed professional experience

Common mistakes for this section include not adding any detail on your responsibilities and achievements or simply describing what the company does with no reference to your personal input. There’s no need to include an exhaustive list of every responsibility you’ve ever had at each company, however. Keep it succinct – try to summarise in one or two sentences exactly what you were hired to do, and then briefly expand on this to ensure that the recruiter can really understand the scope of your role. Say how many people you managed, what your annual budget was (as long as it’s not confidential) and how many sites or countries you worked across.

Analyse a few job descriptions for vacancies you’re interested in to ensure that you include the skills that are most in demand – it’s all about maximising those keywords! And don’t forget to add a list of your main achievements in each role to show a strong record of success throughout your career. Quantifying these achievements will increase the credibility of your claims.

Your education and professional development

The detail you include here will depend on how much professional experience you have – assuming you have a couple of years under your belt, this only needs to be a top-level overview of your qualifications. Recent graduates can benefit from adding further detail such as modules completed or scholarships. There are also sections for courses and certificates, which are useful for highlighting your industry-specific knowledge, and even internal courses count!

Relevant skills that show your prowess

Try to add as many relevant skills as possible – this will increase the number of keywords on your profile and therefore increase the number of times you appear in search results. Here, aim for industry- and job-specific keywords, rather than soft skills. Look at what other people in similar jobs have listed to ensure that you’ve captured everything.

People in your network are able to endorse you for these skills, which adds further credibility to your profile. If you don’t feel comfortable asking directly, endorsing colleagues yourself will often result in reciprocal endorsements.

Completing your profile

The sections above should be completed for every profile, but depending on your experience you may find that other sections are relevant too. You can add languages, publications, voluntary work, projects and awards, for example. Aim to complete as many sections as possible so that LinkedIn rates your profile as All Star. You can also personalise your URL and add multimedia.

In summary

To write the perfect LinkedIn profile for your job search, bear these points in mind:

  • Include a professional headshot

  • Write a high-impact headline

  • Use as many keywords as possible throughout your profile to maximise your search rankings

  • Align your experience section with the kind of roles you’re targeting

  • Fill in as many sections as you can

  • Ask for endorsements and recommendations to strengthen your profile

  • When your profile is complete, stay active by posting updates and sharing relevant content

Your LinkedIn profile may be strong, but is your CV? Submit for a free CV critique and we’ll tell you where you stand.

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