Many professionals update their LinkedIn profiles only when they are actively searching for a job.
That’s a mistake, according to best-selling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch.
Recruiters are constantly mining LinkedIn’s 467 million profiles to identify top candidates. Having a sub-par profile, which is essentially your online resume, could mean you’re missing out on job opportunities.
“If you maximize your LinkedIn profile,” Welch says, “you may not be looking for your next job. It could come find you.”
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Here are the best ways to optimize your profile to catch a recruiter’s attention:
1. Fill out the summary section.
“You’ve probably been told a hundred times to leave the objective off of your resume,” Welch says. “The rules are different here.”
The summary section on LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your achievements and professionals goals. In fact, recruiters consider it the most important section of your profile, according to LinkedIn.
“Use it as an opportunity to talk about your experience, motivations, interests and skills,” says Welch. “It matters.”
2. Upload a good photo.
According to LinkedIn, profiles that include a photo are 21 times more likely to be viewed than those without one. They are also nine times more likely to receive connection requests.
Opt for a flattering, professional photo that best represents you. Skip ones that are poorly cropped, low-resolution, or include another person (or your pet).
3. Add your location.
You know what they say: Location, location, location. It seems simple, but it goes a long way.
“Recruiters screen by location,” Welch says. “Leaving your location off leaves you out of the running for a lot of jobs.”
By adding your city or metro area to your profile, you will boost your chances of being seen by 23 times, according to LinkedIn.
4. Include your educational background.
By adding your school or schools, hiring managers and former classmates are more likely to find you in searches. Indeed, profiles with completed education fields receive 17 times more messages from recruiters.
5. Specify your industry.
Each week, more than 300,000 people search LinkedIn profiles by industry specifically, the company says.
Listing the industry you work in, or the one you’d like to break into, helps you come up in those recruiter searches. It also helps LinkedIn connect you with the right job listings, events and trending articles.
6. List your current position.
Having an outdated position on your LinkedIn profile page looks bad to recruiters. They might think that because you haven’t updated it, you aren’t active on the website and wouldn’t return their message, or even that you don’t take your online professional presence seriously.
It only takes a minute, and it’s a great way to show your professional trajectory. Be sure to include your current title, company and start date.
7. Don’t forget to add your skills.
Don’t think of skills in strictly technical terms, Welch suggests. If you have great negotiation or public speaking skills, list them.
More employers are looking for people with soft skills, so it can only help you. According to LinkedIn, you should include five or more skills to showcase your different talents.
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