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How should I optimize my LinkedIn Profile?

Lots of people have LinkedIn accounts, but few of them are as polished or robust as they can be for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. For starters, replace that picture of you and your dog. It’s cute but not the right type of photo for a professional network. It might be right for another platform, but you’ll probably want to use a more professional headshot for a solid first impression on LinkedIn.

Never leave the summary field blank. Max it out to the 2,000-character limit. This is where you highlight your accomplishments rather than your formal job description. Recruiters want to see what you’ve done so they can decide if you’re a good fit for their client.

Claim the vanity URL that has your name so it looks like “linkedin.com/in/yourname” (here’s how to do that). Since LinkedIn often ranks well in organic search, including your name directly in the URL can also help you rank well. Once you’ve finished giving your LinkedIn a spit-shine, you can add that URL to the bio of your other social media profiles.

Include other places where people can find you online by customizing the website listings in your contact information. Rather than using LinkedIn’s default of “website,” select “other” when you add links to your profile so you can label them with a specific company name or note it’s a writing portfolio, for instance. That can help it stand out when someone views the contact info on your profile.

Your final step in optimizing LinkedIn is deciding how much of your profile you want to make available to the general public. Your public profile can be modified so you limit what people see when they aren’t logged into LinkedIn. There are some upsides to doing that; requiring people to log in before they can see your employment history and accomplishments allows you to see who viewed your profile, unless their own viewing settings are set private. But if you want to make it easy on recruiters (and you do!), make your full profile available to everyone without requiring a login.

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