Getting off the starting blocks 

If you have been out of the workplace on parental leave, on a career break or even just in the same organisation or role for a prolonged period of time, your LinkedIn profile may not have been something that you have paid much attention to.

On the face of it, updating your profile can feel overwhelming and I know everyone else looks like they have their **** together, but I promise you, if you break it down into small chunks your profile will be looking brilliant in no time.

Your LinkedIn Profile is the marketing pitch for your professional brand 

Before you start, there are some things to keep in mind when building your profile. In each section, present yourself with credibility focused on your target audience. It goes without saying that keywords are critical to increasing your visibility in automated searches. Research the keywords for the roles you are interested in and make them the basis for every element of your profile.

Insider info: Did you know 95% of recruiters use your LinkedIn profile to support the recruitment process.

Start at the top 

First things first, make sure your profile picture looks professional. A holiday snap or a picture from a night out with your mates cropped out is not going to cut it!

Once that’s in place, start to think about your headline. It should be professional and authentic to you. It does not need to be a job title, it can be a phrase representing what you do and why you do it. Remember your headline follows you everywhere – it’s visible when you like, comment and share.

Insider info: In LinkedIn on a desktop the headline allows for 120 characters, if you do this on the mobile app you can have 240 characters (this includes spaces and special characters). For inspiration have a look at a few LinkedIn profiles of people you know/in a similar role whose profile impresses you.

Highlight what is uniquely brilliant about you 

The key difference between your CV and LinkedIn is that the latter gives you an opportunity to show your personality and make the profile unique to you. Use the ‘About’ section to state your business case, tell your story and talk up what makes you interesting and a perfect fit for the role or career you are looking for.

Here is where you should weave in examples of your strengths and knowledge and amplify your transferable skills. Another great way to do this is to showcase any voluntary work, training or qualifications you have undertaken.

Insider info: The character allowance for this section is 1990 including spaces and it should be written in the first person. Write and format this section in Word and copy it in when you are happy with it.

Experience matters 

Whilst the Career Experience section should be representative of it, it is not your CV. This is a good thing.

Under each of your roles you should cherry pick the most brilliant bits and highlight any exceptional projects you have been involved in – those that showcase the skills you want to demonstrate and amplify. You can provide additional depth by adding more detail to projects you have been involved in, awards you have received and any languages spoken in the Accomplishments section.

Remember above all else, the purpose of this section is to promote your career highlights and showcase the skills and expertise you have developed in your career.

Insider info: For SEO purposes it is vital to include the right keywords in this section. You can also elevate your profile by adding links to videos and other media.

Get connected 

It stands to reason, the bigger your network the more visible you are, but I would caveat that with quality over quantity. It will take time to build, but a really powerful network has 500+ connections. Start with work colleagues, ex-colleagues, work contacts outside your businesses, friends and acquaintances. Try to reach out to people you are genuinely connected to, this will give you confidence in the quality of your network from the outset.

Follow businesses, high profile individuals and industry influencers that resonate with you and your values.

Insider info: 85% of jobs filled are via a network.

Next level – boost your brilliance 

So now you have created your profile and started building your network – this is excellent progress. Well done you!

There are now a few more things you can do that will really elevate your profile and visibility.

Below I have listed some top tips:

  1. #Open to Work – this banner is a great way to help recruiters to find you. It does not need to be shared to your whole network if you don’t want to
  2. Endorse and recommend others in your network – if you do this for others, it will make it feel easier to ask them later to do the same for you
  3. Make yourself visible
    • React to posts in your feed
    • Comment and share content that resonates and supports your values and intentions
    • Create your own content (articles, recommendations, certifications, accreditations)
    • If you are feeling courageous, you can put out an announcement post talking about the types of roles you are looking for and the value and skills you bring to a role.


Need a bit more support? 

If you think you could do with some support to get your LinkedIn (and/or your CV) updated and ready to land your dream job – I can help!

You can sign up to my programme Get Your Story Straight and get 90-minutes of 1 to 1 coaching and as well as access to easy-to-follow video and PDF guides. You can find out more here.

From time to time, I also run FREE masterclasses on CV and LinkedIn. To find any upcoming dates and see my other FREE workshops click here.

Jane McKenna is a partner coach at Careering into Motherhood. Jane helps women navigating career change or maternity leave to uncover their story, reconnect with their professional identity and find career happiness through 1:1 coaching, group programmes, online courses and workshops. You can get in touch via her profile page