How To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile 2021
Boost Your Career & Business Opportunities
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
IMPROVE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE FOR 2021
Do you want to expand your business opportunities through your LinkedIn profile?
Do you want to be seen more as an industry authority or thought leader?
Or is it that you're looking to open up more career opportunities for yourself?
Whatever your motivations, building an All-Star LinkedIn profile in 2021 is a worthwhile endeavour and is a great way to promote your personal brand, opening up new, and exciting doors.
Please be aware that if you're currently employed, it's usually a good idea to not immediately update your profile overnight with some of these changes below.
Raising suspicion with your employer or HR department, and could lead them to believe you are planning on making a career move. That may well be your intention, in which case it's important that you keep this under wraps.
We therefore generally recommend you implement these recommendations slowly over time, unless you own your own business or you are confident your actions won't be mis-perceived or to your detriment.
So with this caveat out of the way, our recommended 10 steps on How To Improve Your Linkedin Profile 2021 are:
- It’s All About The Headline
- Pack A Punch With Your Profile Summary
- Include Your Contact Information
- Be Careful & Strategic With Your Photo
- Use A Professional Profile URL
- Demonstrate Results As Well As Experience In Your Work History
- Include Great Recommendations
- Get Networking & Grow Your Connections
- Be An Active Contributor & Publish Your Own Content
- Do Some Final Checks
Lets look at each of these 10 steps in a little more detail...
1. It’s All About The Headline
Now is the time to customise your Linkedin profile headline, especially since the amount of information you can put in it has been reduced to only 120 characters. It is important to remember here that your headline is not your job title, it’s what you do. Start thinking: Keywords, Target Audience, and your USP.
2. Pack A Punch With Your Profile Summary
Due to the reduced size of the headline on your profile, the summary section has become more prominent, and so more important. When you write your personal summary, make sure you include keywords relevant to your industry and specific role; making it easier for people within the industry to find you. Keep it concise, relevant, and informative, highlighting your current business objectives and your credibility.
3. Include Your Contact Information
If you’re currently seeking a new job or looking to make your next career move, and would like connections to be able to contact you directly with ease, make sure you include your email address and/or phone number somewhere prominent on your profile, for example, why not place your email address alongside your name.
4. Be Careful & Strategic With Your Photo
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, yet it still amazes me how many men on LinkedIn use a cropped wedding photo for their profile picture, and how many women pull exaggerated "duck faces". Neither one conveys a good impression.
Now it may sound obvious but make sure you have an up to date picture of yourself as your profile image; consider getting one shot by a professional photographer.
Prospective employers will judge you on your appearance before they've read anything on your profile. Right or wrong, it's part of our human nature. So don't shoot yourself in the foot.
Find a sharp, professional portrait shot. The image should be clear and sharp, showing your front from the shoulders-up. Avoid Instagram filters, although monochrome can be acceptable. Dress well, and set the bar high.
Go on don’t be shy, update your profile image now and stop missing out on valuable connections; make it professional and likeable!
5. Use A Professional Profile URL
When potential future employers or clients visit your LinkedIn profile, which of the following URLs would appear most professional to them?
It might seem like a minor point, but your URL really does get noticed - just like your email address does. If you have a spammy looking email address, it doesn't do you any favours. The same is true when it comes to your LinkedIn URL.
As an aside, if you don't already have one, then do make sure you create and use a professional email address. It doesn't have to be a branded company email, but it should look credible and authentic.
For instance, an email address like:
will give a better impression in your job seeking correspondence than:
6. Demonstrate Results As Well As Experience In Your Work History
When it comes to your previous experience, it's important to say what your main responsibilities were. However, it really pays to go the extra mile and explicitly say what you achieved.
For instance, if you were a Sales Executive, did you exceed your sales targets consistently? If so, by what kind of percentages? Did you win any awards or gain any qualifications or certifications during your tenure?
In this respect, it becomes clear why many people view LinkedIn as your "online CV". Similar principles to writing a great CV can also be applied to writing a great LinkedIn job history.
7. Include Great Recommendations
Anyone can blow their own trumpet, but great results can be attained when other people are seen to be blowing it for you. Recommendations from impressive clients and former employers give your profile a significant leg up.
Recommendations show future employers that you were a valuable, essential asset to your previous employers and that you've left a positive, lasting impression on your old workplace.
If you're unsure how to approach your contacts for a recommendation, one great way to do it is to provide a recommendation for them.
Humans are very reciprocal creatures, so once you've written a favourable testimonial about your contact, they'll be hard pressed if they don't provide one in return!
Don't Go Collecting Endorsements
Endorsements have limited value because they don't explain the degree to which a person endorses your skill, or the reasons why. They are often also gained from people that have not actually seen the individual demonstrate the skill. We believe it would have been far better if LinkedIn had issued a 'Skill Proficiency' rating system that allowed users to rate a person's skill on a scale of 1-10 and then have been able to enter a few comments beside the skill.
8. Get Networking & Grow Your Connections
It's important to remember that even though LinkedIn is a professional social platform, it is still a social media platform nonetheless.
That means that the usual rules of social media apply to it. In particular, one general rule stipulates that the more visible connections you have on LinkedIn, the more authority and credibility you possess in the eyes of your viewers.
However, there are other crucial benefits to a large network. It opens up the possibility for further recommendations. It also means that more people are likely to think of you when they are (or someone they know is) recruiting for a position you'd be interested in. (This also requires being active on LinkedIn, which we'll cover shortly).
So how can you practically grow your LinkedIn network? Here are some tips:
- Attend conferences and events relevant to your industry. Actively connect on LinkedIn with the people you spoke with.
- Offer to have lunch and coffee with people. Find out what they do and show a genuine interest in them rather than pushing your own agenda or ambitions. See what kind of connections or opportunities naturally arise.
- Simply ask people over LinkedIn if they'd like to connect! This honestly works for me. Often I'll lead with something like:
"Hi Lucy, just wanted to say I read your blog on XYZ and really got a lot out of it. I'm keen to hear more of your thoughts on this so I thought I'd offer the opportunity to connect. Kind regards, Leigh."
9. Be An Active Contributor & Publish Your Own Content
When you share your own thoughts within your particular niche or industry, you build up more credibility for yourself as a thought leader in the eyes of your connections and prospective employers.
The key here is ensuring that your content is original, authentic and of a very high standard. Don't copy and paste from other blogs, don't pass off others' work as your own, and avoid bad spelling and grammar.
It's also important to be on LinkedIn every day for at least 10 minutes, commenting on your connections' updates and liking posts that you find useful or valuable.
These activities are great ways to strengthen existing relationships with your contacts, potentially opening up more career and business opportunities for you down the line.
10. Do Some Final Checks
To finish off, look over your profile. Have you left any sections blank? Are there previous jobs where you've not outlined what you did and achieved within that post? Have you checked spelling and grammar throughout your profile? It always pays to double and triple check before re-releasing your LinkedIn profile to the world.
As a final thought, we can't stress enough how important it is to keep your profile fresh and in the minds of those that you are connected to.
Make a conscious effort to regularly update it. If you see relevant industry articles, news articles, industry group opinions, that you find interesting, leave your own comments or share links about these, show your interests and thoughts within the industry you're involved in.