Professional networking site LinkedIn revamped its entire user experience in January, and there’s a good chance you’re not using its features to their full potential.
Business Insider spoke with its lead designer to help you out.
Hari Srinivasan, head of identity products at LinkedIn, and his team redesigned the profile with both the user and viewer in mind.
When you learn the basics, you’ll be able to design a page that will stand out to recruiters. And even if you aren’t looking for a new job, refining your page can help you make connections that can help take your career to the next level.
With Srinivasan’s guidance, we’ll break down how you can easily and quickly do this.
Make a great first impression
Srinivasan said that he and his team wanted the “top card,” as they refer to the first portion of your profile, to mimic an interaction you’d have at a conference or meeting. The first thing a stranger would notice is how you present yourself and then take a glimpse at your name badge. Then the two of you would introduce yourselves by exchanging quick descriptions of who you are and what you do.
LinkedIn found that profiles with photos receive 21 times more views and nine times more connection requests. Srinivasan said you don’t need a professional headshot in formal wear if that means you’re going to drag your heels and leave the space blank, which reduces your chances of making connections. The app now features a photo editing tool, soon to be released on desktop, that makes photo selection and refining less of a hassle.
As for the background photo, add something with a bit of color and personality — Srinivasan recommends an image of where you are in the world, of the team you work with, or of something related to your job.
Plus, members who include their locations get 19 times more profile views, according to LinkedIn data.
Then, make sure to fill out your summary. “There’s no right or wrong way to do a summary,” Srinivasan said. “It’s actually the area where I say that you can be kind of the most authentic about who you are and how you want to tell your story.”
Share stories and blog posts
LinkedIn has always been good at filling you in on someone’s background, Srinivasan said, and with the redesign, they wanted to give you a better idea of what someone is thinking. He encourages you to try writing an article on your page and interacting with users.
For example, Srinivasan writes blog posts about his work at LinkedIn and thoughts about what he’s learned in his career. There’s no need to force it, but if you’ve got something to say or want to tell the world about an exciting new project you’ve completed at work, give it a shot.
Also, the more you interact with your page and with others, the more attention you’ll draw to your own profile.
You may have noticed with the new design that there are more drop-down menus in your profile. That feature is intended to allow viewers to take a glance at your list of experiences and focus on your current role, which is most important.
In a traditional résumé, you may want to cut internships from your college years as you progress in your career, but Srinivasan said that “one of the beauties of the LinkedIn profile is that you can expand it as you go,” so you don’t need to omit anything.
Make sure that you select your company’s name from LinkedIn’s official list, for search purposes as well as for getting an eye-catching corporate logo. And don’t forget to include your tenure at each role, since it’s one of the first things viewers will notice when they go through this section of your profile.
Mention your degrees and describe in detail your educational experience if you’re a new graduate
Srinivasan said the most glaring mistake users make in this section is omitting the degree they received. As for the description, you should just include your most important accomplishments.
If you are a student or are going for your first job or internship after graduation, however, you should go into much more detail about your school experience. You can then significantly pare it down as you progress in your career.
Include volunteering if it’s an important part of your identity
As with the sections above, make sure you’re selecting the organization you volunteered for from LinkedIn’s official listing. See this section as an opportunity to express more of your passions and as a way to connect with like-minded people.
Highlight at least five skills most relevant to your role and industry and rank them
For some users, the Skills section of the old LinkedIn page became a jumble of terms that didn’t mean much. With the redesign, Srinivasan and his team wanted to make them a crucial aspect of the profile. Your profile now highlights “notable endorsements” from experienced and highly recommended people in their fields.
Srinivasan recommends that you have at least five skills on your profile — LinkedIn found members with five or more received up to 17 times more views and up to 27 times more appearances in search results.
You can now also reorder your skills. Move to the top of the list the three that are most important to you at this particular point in your career, and at this particular moment in your industry.
Pinpoint your most important accomplishments
There are nine options in the Accomplishments section, but the selection shouldn’t make you feel overwhelmed. You’re not supposed to fill all of them out, Srinivasan explained. They’re there to help you express more of your talents. Highlight the ones that are most relevant to you and your career.
Follow pages that reflect your interests
And finally, Srinivasan recommends you make use of LinkedIn’s follow feature. This will help make your LinkedIn experience more enjoyable, and, like your activity feed, it serves as another visual expression of what you’re interested in.
For example, Srinivasan follows LinkedIn (his company), as well as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates, two people who not only publish material that makes his LinkedIn experience more enjoyable but also reflect his interest in media, technology, and philanthropy.