Linkedin is the largest professional network on the web. According to Linkedin, the social network now has over 400 million users. That’s a huge opportunity missed in your job search if you don’t have an optimized and professional Linkedin profile!
| Written by Tara-Lee York, UX designer and participant in the Design Writing Apprenticeship.
Linkedin has many features that can be used to help you with your job hunting and networking process. In this guide, we are going to stay focused on creating a Linkedin profile that no recruiter, hiring manager, or employer would want to pass over.
Creating a Linkedin Profile lets you control the narrative of your professional story, build your professional personal brand, and gain connections that will help you to achieve career goals.
Using Keywords on Linkedin
Linkedin has recently made updates to their UI interface (March 2017). One the major changes that they made has affected how the searching and keywords work.
According to Linkedin, “More keywords aren’t always better – Our advice would be to only include the keywords, including repeated keywords, in your profile that best reflect your expertise and experience. If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, you’re likely showing up in a high number of searches. The question you need to ask yourself, however, is whether members consider your profile relevant to their search. If not, this can negatively impact your rank in search results.” (source)
Linkedin gives us some guidelines that will help to get found:
- Complete Your Profile – Be sure to feel all the sections such as summary, experience, and education that Linkedin has given you to help you get found.
- Add skills – Be sure to add skills and use that are relevant to the jobs that you wish to obtain. You can read job descriptions that you are interested in and list any skills that you find in the job applications.
- Make professional connections – People search is the first section in the new search feature. You will now show up in search in relation to your connection to the person who is running the search.
- Headlines/job titles – use headlines and job titles that you know recruiters and hiring managers may be looking for.
Here are some examples of keywords that you may want to use in your summary, experience, and education sections:
- User Research
- Information Architecture
- User Flows and Journeys
Keywords that you may use for past or current positions:
- UX Designer
- User Experience Designer
- Human Factors
- Web Designer
- Interaction Designer
- User Interface Designer
- Information Architecture
Showing Up in Google
Linkedin is one the first search item in Google that will show up when people search for you online.
Oz’s google search results show how using keywords in his Linkedin headline have been included. This screenshot shows the impact that including keywords in your headline, job titles, summary, experience, education, and skill sections can have.
Filling out most of your Linkedin profile will be intuitive. There are many core components to a LinkedIn profile. You should try your best to fill out all components as thoroughly as possible, because all these data pieces can help you get found. In this article, however, we’re going to focus on the components that UX Beginners tend to struggle with:
LinkedIn’s Header Section
LinkedIn Profile Photos
Your profile picture will be the first thing that will draw the attention of recruiters, and hiring managers. As human, we are naturally drawn to look at images first. (Case Study for Kissmetrics)
Tips for keep your LinkedIn profile image professional:
- Use a professional headshot
- Use the same image you have used on other profiles associated with your professional personal brand (ie – your website, behance or dribble profiles)
- Use a recent image
- Keep the image square
- Use editing software on your photo if needed
- Max file size 4MB and file type must be PNG, JPEG, or GIF
- Optimize for square dimensions, e.g. 400 X 400 pixels
Your personal url is your chance to customize and add a touch of personal branding to your link. Keep this link consistent with other social media profiles that you may have such as your behance, dribbble, twitter profile or facebook page.
Location and Industry
Filling out your location and industry will allow for better search results in Linkedin advanced. Be sure to fill this section out so recruiters or hiring managers don’t miss you.
- Make it clear what you do and who you are (see examples of UX Leaders below)
- Consider your audience – employers, hiring managers etc.
- Use keywords – such as “UX Designer”, “User Experience Designer”, “User Interface Designer” or “UI”
- Use titles that focus on your expertise instead of vague words such as “Ninja” or “Superstar”. For example, UX Designer with 5 years of user behaviour research experience rather than “Ninja UX Designer Superstar”.
Good Examples of UX Leaders Headlines
Let’s take a quick look at three variations that UX Leaders have taken to format their Linkedin headlines.
Joe Natoli (LinkedIn profile)
Elevator Pitch: Joe Natoli has an impactful headline that tells you right away exactly what he does and how he helps companies through his work. He gives a mini version of his elevator pitch or personal tagline.
Abbey Covert (LinkedIn profile)
Job Title: Abby Covert has kept her headline very simple by using her job title. She states exactly what she does. As a UX beginner, you may find that this is best approach for you to follow until you have more experience in the field.
Karen McGrane (Linkedin profile)
Job Description: Karen McGrane has chosen to include a headline that describes what she does rather than a job title. This is a great example of how to include keywords in your header. She has used “user experience” and “content strategy.”
Take advantage of Linkedin’s ability to make make easy to find out more about and to contact you. In advanced search, recruiters are able to search by location and industry so filling this out makes it that much easier for them to contact you.
- Include links to your portfolio, behance, blog, social profiles
- Add phone or address if you can
This is the first impression that employers and hiring managers get of you after your headline. If you are currently in career transition include an example of how your past skills are transferable to your current career.
- Tell your story
- Use keywords (see the list above)
- Format the summary so it easy read – bullet points (you could include headers) show how
- Keep your concise
- Include a call to action – link to your portfolio or email me.
- Include media – link to resume that could be quickly downloaded.
Here’s an example of Joe Natoli’s summary
Storytelling: This is a great summary example that is using several keywords that describe what he does – user experience, customer experience, and human factors engineering. He also does a great job of telling his background story while explaining why what he does matter and showing his qualifications. You can tell a short background storytelling skills that you have from your previous career and how you intend to use them as a UX professional.
Aside: what if you’re not Joe Natoli with 25 years of experience? You can try the approach of bridging your previous and existing career skills with UX. Here’s my example telling my story combining my experience nursing and healthcare.
For example, I have previous experience in nursing and healthcare positions. In my summary, I am bridging my previous career skills with UX.
Here’s an part of my Linkedin summary:
“I started my journey as a health care professional because of my strong desire to help and care for others. During my time as an health care worker, I developed a strong sense of empathy for others through caring for the elderly and disabled. I learned that life is precious no matter your age or ability.
Why the transition to user experience? I have always enjoyed engaging both the creative and analytical parts of my brain. For a long time, I didn’t know how to combine the two into a career. Finding UX Design was the perfect mix of the two for me. My desire to help people has not changed. I intend to leverage my prior experience as a healthcare professional to bring a level of empathy and attention to detail that’s critical to making intuitive user experiences.”
Let’s now look at Abby Covert’s summary:
Result Highlights and Professional Experience: Amy Convert uses her summary to give highlights of her experience. As a UX beginner, you could do by including 2 to 3 results that you have gotten through one or more of your portfolio projects. Remember you don’t need to use only projects that you have been paid for.
She also lists high profile clients that she has worked with. Be sure to include any work or internships that you had for a well known client to give yourself an extra credibility boost.
In the bottom section, she has included links to some the UX presentations that she has given. Adding media to your summary gives it an extra visual pop. As a UX beginner or job seeker, you can your resume as a document, include a link to your portfolio, and any presentations that you have given.
And lastly, what can we glean from Karen McGrane’s summary?
Background Story and Specialities (Skills): This summary example gives her background story in a way that is engaging and ties of her experience and expertise together. This type of background story may work best for the UX Designer who is transitioning from another design ( Graphic or Web design) or IT field (Frontend or Backend Developer) into UX. Finally, she uses the last paragraph list her specialities. You could use this format by listing your skills or specialities. Be sure to include any UX related skills that you have including software such as Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop, Axure etc.
More Examples of Great Summaries:
> LinkedIn’s Experience Section
This section is used to highlight your past experience including your current position and at past positions. Be sure to explain what you did and how you did it. Recruiters, hiring managers, and employers use this section to find out more about your past job responsibilities.
- Company Name – What was the name of the company you work for? If you add a company that has been listed on Linkedin as a company. The company logo will show up in your experience section.
- Add A Job Title – Be sure to use keywords in this section recruiters can use advanced search to find you
- Choose A Location – Where was the job located?
- TIme Period – How long did you work here?
- Description – use this section to describe exactly what you were responsible for in this position.
- Media – include links to projects, videos, or presentation that were associated with this position.
Tips for the description section:
- Use bullet points to describe your job responsibilities
- Ask for recommendations associated with the job position
- Use UX focused keywords when possible
Further resources for your experience section:
- LinkedIn Challenge TIP 3: How to Fill In the LinkedIn Experience Section
- 12 Tips to improve your work experience section on LinkedIn
Other Important Sections
Now let’s briefly touch on other important sections in your profile Linkedin profile. Be sure to fill these sections out as well to get an “All Star” profile.
Linkedin’s Education Section
By Filling out your education section, you are 7X more likely to get noticed. Linkedin has three separate sections to showcase your past education – general education, certifications, and courses.
According to this article on Linkedin’s blog, members with a certifications added to their profile get up to a 6X increase in profile views. For example, you might add a certification that you have gotten such as Google Analytics.
Course sections add course that you have taken that may not follow into the other traditional educational sections. Don’t just add random coursework. What are your professional goals? Will adding the coursework add credibility to help you getting a job interview? This article talks about why you may want to add to course to your CV or resume. You can use the some critique to adding courses to your Linkedin profile.
Linkedin’s Skills and Recommendations
Take a look at job applications in the UX field, what are some the most common skills that keep coming up.
A huge list of UX skills terms that you can use in your profile. –https://www.thebalance.com/ux-ui-skills-list-2063727
Linkedin makes very easy to get endorsements for the skills that you have listed. Be sure to check yes you want to endorsed by your connections.
Recommendations & Endorsements
You can think of recommendations as testimonials. Ask for recommendations from clients that you have worked with or mentors from a UX certificate programs such as Careerfoundry, BLOC, or General Assembly. Recommendations can be associated with a specific experience or educational position that you have.
Summary: For these other components, just a reminder to fill it out to the best of your ability. Any extra data – but make sure it’s relevant data – makes your profile richer and easier to find.
Conclusion: Best Practices for Linkedin Profile
Wow, we covered a lot! We looked at the major sections you should fill out in your LinkedIn profile, completion of which will help you become easier to find on the network. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind before you dive into re-editing your profile:
- Be truthful and credible
- Use headlines that grab your reader’s attention
- Use keywords throughout your profile
- Keep your profile professional, but add a bit of personality
- Know your goals – why are you creating a profile? Have a well defined reason for including anything in your profile
- Check spelling and grammar before pressing publish
- User test your LinkedIn profile by asking a colleague or friend to give a quick look – then ask what their impressions are. What do they remember?
Pro Tip: While you are updating and making changes to your profile turn off your network notifications so your connections are not overwhelmed each time you hit save.