How often do you really look at your LinkedIn profile? If the answer if not often, then you need to continue reading. If you have created a profile, then you are probably hoping to reap the professional benefits of it, but many people do not realize that you have to put some work into it before you start getting results. A LinkedIn profile means that a number of people are discovering you every day, reading through your qualifications and work history. This means that if you are neglecting your LinkedIn profile, you are missing countless opportunities from interested professionals in your industry.

Read on to learn how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile with a few easy steps.

Take a good profile photo

People underestimate the importance of having a professional profile photo. When an employer is scanning through profiles, the first things they see are your profile picture and your name, so it is important that you make sure you choose a good photo. A professional headshot can be worthwhile as it helps communicate your best self to anyone who views your profile. If you prefer not to spend the money on getting a headshot, just make sure your photo is clear, professional and communicates what you want it to say about yourself.

Edit your headline

LinkedIn’s default is to use your job title as your headline, but you can change your headline to something more customized and eye-catching. Choose a title that communicates what you want to be known for. Use recognizable and compelling words that will draw in other professionals in your field.

Make your summary count

Your summary is essentially your professional bio and should expand on your headline and work history. Mention your main qualifications and make sure you include the industries you’ve worked in. Your summary should be three to five paragraphs which are concise and to the point. Try to avoid waffling on about qualifications or experiences that are not relevant to your industry and if you mention your interests, try to keep them professional rather than personal.

Once you are happy with your summary, read through it and make sure every point is relevant. Try and make sure you have provided an interesting and compelling read for people who visit your profile because this will be your main selling point. Find a friend or family member to proofread your summary before you post it because there’s nothing worse than having grammatical errors on a professional platform.

Have a detailed work history

It is important to highlight your past roles on your LinkedIn profile as this is one of the most important sections. When you are listing your past roles, be sure you are following the usual resume writing practices. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially a more detailed online resume for potential employers to view, so it has to follow many of the same guidelines.

Be sure to elaborate on your accomplishments by using numbers as results to support them. You can use LinkedIn’s multimedia feature to include key pieces from your portfolio like presentations, articles or proposals to show people your success. Try to keep your work history relevant to the industry you are interested in, especially if you have already been employed in a few roles within the field. If you do not have much experience in the field, you can use unrelated jobs that you were previously employed in and note how they helped you gain leadership skills, a good work ethic, etc.

Summarise your key qualifications

As you would on your resume, it is important to note your key qualifications on your LinkedIn profile. This shows potential employers your academic level and makes it easier for people to find you. This means any relevant tertiary qualifications (e.g. bachelor’s degrees, TAFE courses or short courses).

Be social and active

LinkedIn is a social networking tool so you need to be social on it to reap the benefits! Make an effort to connect with new people by liking, sharing and commenting on interesting posts you see. You have a lot to gain from connecting with other professionals in your field, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Try and send people customized messages such as, “Hi Tom, I also work in marketing and I am very interested in the work you have been doing. I’d love to have chat”. This is an easy way to connect with new people and find out what kind of work they doing and how you can learn from them.

Head on to this page if you want to know more tips and tricks for improving your LinkedIn profile.