5 Ways To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile and Stand Above the Rest

Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Posted by: Kolby Goodman

LinkedIn has become a staple for any professional looking to find new opportunities, new clients or people to network with. But just because you have a LinkedIn Profile, doesn't mean the work is over. In a recent survey, more than 93% of hiring managers stated they use LinkedIn as a hiring tool. How does your profile stack up?

Below are five important actions you can take to ensure you have a top-tier LinkedIn profile:

1) Upload a Professional Profile Picture

Just as you would with an interview outfit, careful consideration should be given to choosing your LinkedIn profile picture because it is a viewer’s first impression. Your profile picture should not be an Instagram “selfie” nor should it be from a picture you were tagged in on Facebook. The picture should be of you, alone, in professional attire, smiling, and looking directly at the camera. An ideal profile picture might be your AKPsi chapter composite photo, but make sure it is consistent with your current look. If you don't have something quite as official as that, just ask a brother to take a well-lit headshot at your next chapter professional event or ritual. You can even arrange a professional photo session at your next chapter meeting to help other brothers who might also need an updated LinkedIn profile picture.

2) Join LinkedIn Groups

Groups are the true social networking aspect of LinkedIn because they allow you to connect with like-minded professionals. There are groups for nearly every conceivable industry, school and geographic location. There are even subgroups that combine those criteria, such as Young Non-Profit Professionals in San Diego, or Atlanta Legal Professionals. If you aren’t sure what groups to join, just look at the bottom of your classmates’ or co-workers’ LinkedIn profile to see the groups they are involved in. Don't forget to join the official Alpha Kappa Psi LinkedIn group! It has more than 23,000 members and you can find great content posted every day!

3) Edit Your Contact Information

If you were like me, you probably were asked to set up a LinkedIn profile when you pledged AKPsi, which means your contact information might have changed since then. Make sure to update your email address, phone number, personal website (if you have one) and your LinkedIn profile URL. The last one is important because if you don't set up a custom URL, the link to your profile will look similar to vs. I like the latter because it is cleaner and easier to type!

4) Optimize Your Headline

On your profile, the LinkedIn headline is the blurb located directly underneath your name. Many users simply put their current job title, but you should utilize this space to really market yourself by describing your core skills and areas of expertise. Along with letting others know exactly what your professional focus is, a customized headline can change where you appear in LinkedIn search results. For example, if a recruiter or HR manager is searching for someone with your expertise in your location, having those keywords in your headline will place your profile higher in the results than if you didn't have them there.

5) Give a Recommendation

Recommendations may be the most influential section of your LinkedIn profile. Not be confused with endorsements, recommendations are paragraph-long testimonials from classmates, professors, co-workers, bosses or anyone else you may have worked with or for. They act as official stamps of approval, and signals to future colleagues that you have done a great job for others in the past, and could help their company in the future.

You should be giving recommendations regularly on LinkedIn. It is a goodwill gesture; and you are more likely to get recommendations in return. When you submit a recommendation to someone else on LinkedIn, you are able to send along a special message, I highly recommend writing a quick “Hello” and asking for a recommendation in return. I have written something like, "Additionally, if you feel inclined, I would love a recommendation for my work with you as (position you held) at (company)." For a more in depth read on how to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, check out my article here.

Here is a bonus (and probably the easiest) action you can take:

6) Add Your LinkedIn Profile URL to Your Resume

A LinkedIn profile can be a great supplement to any professional’s resume. In addition to the personal recommendations, you can add presentations and projects you were involved with, awards you've received, any volunteer experience, and professional organizations you belong to. These add value for any job applicant and are items you probably could not fit on a standard resume. I recommend inserting the custom URL in the same area as your email, phone number and address.


Kolby Goodman is an Alpha Kappa Psi alumnus of the Mu Sigma Chapter at San Diego State University. He is currently the vice president of professional development of the San Diego Alumni Chapter, chapter advisor for the Iota Tau Chapter at the University of San Diego, and you can find more of this career development articles over at his website:
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