Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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“What’s the purpose of LinkedIn?” a professional asked the Fairygodboss Community recently. “I have added my profile information, job experience, education, samples of my work and have connected with people, but I still don't understand LinkedIn's purpose for a job seeker. Most professionals have a LinkedIn, but is it just a glorified online resume?”

Expert members of the FGB community were eager to chime in with their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say.

The 4 key elements of a LinkedIn profile in 2021

1. Headline

“Your headline under your photo is searchable,” wrote former executive and executive coach Eva Steortz. “So, load it up with keywords. That's how people find you.”

Remember, too, that your headline isn’t necessarily your current job description. Instead, it should describe your work and capabilities in general.

2. Connections

The connections you make on LinkedIn are really the backbone of the entire platform; using them to your and your profile's advantage is best. 

“Do I know anyone there or know someone who can introduce me so I can ask for an informational interview?,” founder Noreen Whysel encouraged FGB'ers to ask when they're applying to jobs. “What kinds of things do they post about on LinkedIn? Is it varied across the team or does it look like they only post or reply to similar things? Will I feel comfortable maintaining a similar profile?”

Whysel added that it’s not just for job searches, either — it’s also a great tool for exploring graduate school programs and conducting general networking, too.

3. Skills

“LinkedIn has hundreds of skills you can choose from and add,” wrote corporate recruiter and career coach Stephanie. “This improves your algorithm so your profile shows up in relevant searches. You should also ask your family, friends and coworkers to endorse you for skills which will give your profile a boost in search results.” 

Remember, too, that it’s very easy to get (and give) an endorsement — it only takes a quick click.

4. Your profile picture

And don’t forget the picture! “Profiles with a photo get more views,” Stephanie noted.

5 additional tips and considerations

1. Consider opting for Premium.

“The premium service is gold,” Steortz added. “You can literally find anyone and send them an email. It's a great way to make connections with people doing exactly what you want to do and at companies you would love to work for someday.”

2. It’s great for introverts.

“As a hiring manager, I look up all my final candidates on LinkedIn. It's also where we post the majority of our job postings and where we receive the most job applications to those postings,” Claudia wrote. “It's a good networking tool, as well, for those of us who are vehemently introverted.”

3. Use it to ramp up your job search.

Of course, LinkedIn is a critical tool for your job search. “LinkedIn sells recruiters a very powerful, very expensive recruitment tool that most companies have nowadays,” Joan Williams wrote. “They're not ‘browsing’ on LinkedIn.  They're hunting for talent.”

“It is the primary recruiting tool for most companies,” talent acquisition consultant Stephanie added. “LinkedIn is the sourcing Goliath, so if your profile isn't optimized and updated, you're most likely missing out on some good opportunities.”

4. Keep track of your privacy settings.

Want to keep your job search stealthy? Don’t worry. “Regarding privacy, if you're updating your profile and you don't want your network to be notified of these updates, you can change this in your privacy settings,” Stephanie noted.

Ultimately, “It starts with having a profile that is compelling, has the right information in the right places and presents you as the professional you are,” career coach Lesa Edwards noted.

About the Career Expert:

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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