How To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile: A Top 10 List!


While transitioning from military service, we hear things like “Make sure you use LinkedIn”. But is that enough?

Frankly? No. These generic recommendations are not helpful at best, and harmful at worst. If a recruiter has your resume in front of them and they can’t find you on LinkedIn, or what they see on LinkedIn is incongruent with the resume, or lame, they don’t call you for an interview.

Add to this that the average recruiter only spends about 19 seconds on your LinkedIn Profile (LIP), and you’ve got a big challenge! If your LIP is not dialed in for maximum comprehension and value add, you’re not getting a call for an interview.

So, what is LinkedIn anyway, and why in the world would we want to use it?
LinkedIn is a social media platform that supports a global community of 414 million plus job seekers, employers, recruiters, and working professionals; over 200 million of which are Veterans.

Additionally, 93% of recruiters, human resource professionals, and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates to interview and hire, or they use LinkedIn to screen candidates, i.e. take a peek at you before they call you. 93%. You want to use LinkedIn. Effectively!

Here’s the Top 10 ways you can do so!

1) Insert Your Credentials After Your Name

Don’t make me, the reader, spend time determining if you’re qualified from the HR checklist perspective. Put things like degrees and relevant credentials (i.e. licenses and certifications) after your last name.
It took me less than a second to decide whether to keep reading or not!

2) Create A Meaningful, Helpful Value Proposition As Your Headline

You’ve got 120 characters of prime intellectual real estate right below your name! Use it wisely. Do not leave it on the default ‘current position’.

Make this sentence a powerful Value Proposition statement to recruiters and employers. It tells them: who you are; what you can do for them; and how it will benefit them.

Remember, your LinkedIn profile is not for you! It’s for the people you can help! It’s about you, but it has to convey clearly how you can help them!
Think about your audience, and speak right to them!

Now, less than 2 seconds into your LinkedIn Profile, I’ve determined you’re qualified, and I’ve determined that you bring value to me or the organization I am hiring for. You’re already standing out! Keep pressing!

3) Customize Your LinkedIn URL

And, speaking of standing out, what better way to do that than to personalize your LIP to you!

Be creative. Be innovative. It will blow the hiring manager’s mind; they think Veterans only take orders and are rigid.

And, less than 3 seconds into your LinkedIn Profile, I know you’re qualified, valuable to me, and creative, innovative, and memorable. Already I am feeling more connected to you than other profiles, and I am engaged enough to continue reading, which is what you want!

4) Have A Professional Picture

In today’s social media-driven world, people expect to see your likeness. You have to have a professional picture. And it should be inviting; nice smile, sparkly eyes, fresh haircut, and the like. You want to draw them in.

If I arrive at your LIP and I don’t see a picture, you’re out! I don’t know what’s amiss, but something is. And that’s a shame, because I was really liking what I was reading. Use a professional picture, preferably a nice head shot.

5) Tell Your Story In Your Background Summary

So, I like your warm, inviting picture, and you’re qualified, valuable, creative, innovative, clever, and human.

I’m still reading.

So don’t let me down now! Tell me your story! Unpack for me how you became what I saw in your Value Proposition! Connect with me through the monitor because I like stories, I’m human.

Through your story, you’ll come off as the wonderful, value-adding human you are, so I call you and not the other X number of candidates that meet the search criteria. You’re John or Jane, not resume number twenty-eight.

6) ABC, Always Be Connecting!

Dots that is. Don’t just list each of your professional roles! Humanize them! Make them tie into your story! Make sure I see the value by continuously connecting the dots for me!

Keep the role, title, and date. Keep the bullet points of results. But in between the two, with one sentence or so, tell me how this role contributed to your evolution and success.

For example, “In this leadership role, I learned the value of…”, or “As a resource manager, I learned how to…”. It keeps the read informative and engaging. And, you guessed it, you look different! Not many others are doing it.

You’re standing out!

Which is great, because your 19 seconds are almost up! So let’s talk about how to capitalize on the leverage we’ve created at this point.

7) Grow Your Network For Credibility

Identify target companies you’d like to work for in the target geographical areas in which you’d like to live. Then connect with line and staff employees in those companies first. This will cause you to begin popping up on the radars of Supervisors and Managers. This will help you then pop up on the radars of Directors and VPs. Then the Executives.

You increase the odds I connect with you and call you because if you know Mike down the hall in Finance, or Beatty over in Marketing, I should know you too.

I’ll connect and call.

8) Be Active

Comment, curate, and create! Read others’ posts and comment on them. Read articles you find interesting and then Like and Share them, telling your network what you thought, or liked/disliked, or what it means to the industry. That’s curating. Additionally, write brief articles or Updates to engage your network. This shows recruiters you’re active, engaged, and professional.

9) Stack The Deck

Join and display Groups on your LIP! Display Organizations and folks you’re Following. Add Interests and Causes. Someone might share a same passion, and people like those like themselves. We’re looking for any connection point with our reader we can get.

10) Provide A Call-To-Action

Finally, provide a CTA! Tell me exactly what you want me to do and how to do it. I’m intrigued by what I’ve read, and I feel like I want to know more about you. That my friends is the objective, an interview!

Give me a phone number, an email address, and availability so I can contact you to schedule an interview!

Your 19 seconds up, I’ll talk to you more next week at your interview. Have a great weekend!

Sum Up

OK, let’s recap our top 10 list here for ease of use:

  1. Insert your credentials after your name.
  2. Insert a powerful concise Value Proposition right below your name.
  3. Customize your LinkedIn Profile’s URL.
  4. Insert a professional picture.
  5. Tell your story!
  6. Connect the dots for the reader.
  7. Grow your network.
  8. Be active on LinkedIn.
  9. Stack the deck.
  10. Provide a Call-To-Action.