9 easy ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd

A phone is being held up with the LinkedIn icon in the center.

We share some easy ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out and more engaging to recruiters and your network.

With over 850 million members, 57 million company profiles and around 15 million job listings, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is the most trusted social network platform for professionals. From posting newsworthy articles to live video feeds, the platform is no longer just used to find a new job. 

With around 130 million active daily users and millions of recruiters combing for potential candidates, it’s never been more important to have an engaging LinkedIn profile that you can use to highlight your experience, skills and career ambitions.

Aside from an eye-catching CV and an engaging cover letter, you really should have a LinkedIn profile that will help you stand out from the crowd.

We’ve compiled a list of 9 ways to make your LinkedIn profile more authentic – and get you closer to landing your dream job. 

A woman is looking at her laptop.
A profile photo and strong headline are the first step in making your LinkedIn profile stand out. (Getty Images)

Include an eye-catching profile picture and cover photo

The first thing people will notice about your Linkedin profile will be your picture, so it’s important that you include an engaging picture of yourself. In today’s new world of work, what is ‘business friendly’ is a bit subjective, so choose a photo of yourself that reflects your own personality rather than adhering to societal norms. 

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If you don’t have a professional headshot, don’t worry — today’s smartphones can take a fantastic selfie that will make a worthy profile picture. Make sure everyone can clearly see your face. A picture of you and your pals is always great content, but it’s best to have your LinkedIn profile pic be just you.

Don’t forget to add a cover photo! Here is a place where you can be a bit more creative. An engaging cover photo shows off a bit more of your personality. Many companies offer up images for cover photos, other ideas could be your city’s skyline, inspirational quotes and any sort of LGBTQ+ imagery. A quick Google search can reveal thousands of options and templates, but Canva also offers up a ton of free templates that you can customise for yourself.

Be creative with your headline

Your headline appears right underneath your profile picture and is a written way of describing yourself. The maximum length for your headline is around 50 words (220 characters) so be particular about what you write here. 

Make the first five words the most impactful as these are seen by people that hover over your profile and what appears when you comment on posts. Use this space more creatively than your job title as you can share this in the work experience of your profile. 

Recruiters use the search function in the platform to find candidates, so including keywords relevant to your industry and the type of work you’re looking for will make you stand out in search results. Cosmetically, adding the pipe character “|” to break up thoughts is eye-catching and another way to make you stand out.

Customise your URL

This is one that many forget but is just another way to make yourself stand out just a bit more. By default, your profile URL will be your name and a whole bunch of random numbers. The platform gives you the option to create a custom URL, so give it a go! It’s easy to do right on your profile page, and this handy video tutorial can talk you through it.

A woman with blue hair and a beanie is looking at her phone.
Use the summary section to tell your story on LinkedIn. (Getty Images)

Tell a story in your summary 

Your summary is where you can expand upon your headline. Many ignore this section, but this is a space where you can talk about your accomplishments, your goals and ambitions when it comes to your career. Feel free to list your skills here — but add context and bring to life why those skills matter to you. Just like the headline, it never hurts to add in some relevant industry keywords. 

Your summary will be more engaging if it is written in an active voice rather than a passive one. Take some time in writing your summary, write a couple of drafts and send it off to friends for their feedback. Remember that a LinkedIn profile is your own personal brand’s content marketing tool. So put forth the effort!

List your skills, but keep it relevant

Listing your relevant skills is an easy win when it comes to having an engaging profile. Making this section visible allows people in your network to endorse you for a particular skill. If you’ve taken a LinkedIn skills assessment and passed, a badge will also display here. If you don’t see them on your profile just click the add section from your profile and select away. 

Start out with the suggested skills based on your profile and build out from there. It’s important that all your skills are relevant – listing skills that aren’t really at your core can result in a long list and can appear unwieldy. Revisit your skills section a couple of times a year and filter out the ones that are no longer relevant.

Take advantage of LinkedIn’s features

Remember that LinkedIn wants you to showcase your talents and experience — and this is the place to do it. Here you can highlight and detail your work experience, share examples of your work and highlight your own “featured content.” 

When it comes to your work experience, many just default to copying and pasting this information from their CVs. Use this space to highlight results rather than just listing tasks — much like your summary and headline, tell your story!

A man is carrying his backpack while looking down at his phone.
Post to LinkedIn consistently and stay engaged. (Getty Images)

Take a skills assessment

LinkedIn rolled out the skill assessment feature in 2019 as a way for users to validate the skills they have and make it a bit easier for recruiters to find suitable candidates. A skills assessment is an online quiz available right on the platform, and if you pass, you have the option to display a Verified Skills Badge on your profile. 

Displaying proof of your capability is a great boost to your personal brand and even employability. Data shows that candidates with verified skills are 30 per cent more likely to be hired for roles they applied to. The beauty of LinkedIn skills assessments is that they are free, and displaying the badges is voluntary.

Get engaged and stay active!

To get noticed on LinkedIn, you have to get active, and this could look like a lot of different things depending on your comfort level. A couple of easy ways to get going include sharing your company’s posts and anything that is relative to you and your work. For some algorithmic love, include multimedia like videos, images, asking poll questions and even posting PDFs as a carousel. Staying engaged and active is a surefire way to grow your connections and widen your professional network.

Over the last couple of years, LinkedIn has become a platform where people are sharing news and their political opinions. For the LGBTQ+ community, it is more than ok to post about visibility and issues the community is dealing with. While the vitriolic and homophobic responses occur less often than on other platforms, they can still happen. There is no better self-care than blocking a homophobe, and you can do this on LinkedIn as well. Like all the other social media platforms, people are attracted to authenticity and being genuine, so whatever you post, be true to yourself!

A man in a blue shirt is looking at his tablet.
Joining professional groups and LGBTQ industry groups is an easy way to build out your virtual network. (Getty Images)

Join LGBTQ+ professional groups

For the LGBTQ+ community, LinkedIn is a great virtual space where you can network in a safe online setting. There are thousands of networking groups on LinkedIn dedicated to the LGBTQ+ experience in various industries and geographic locations.

Search for groups that interest you, join up and observe the activity and then go ahead and get involved. Remember that joining is just the first step — you need to participate to be seen!

These are just the core foundations of making your LinkedIn profile more engaging. For the LGBTQ+ community, remember that LinkedIn can be a place where you can promote yourself and highlight your own advocacy and purpose while looking for a new job. As with all social media platforms, the best approach is always the most authentic, so whatever you decide to post, make it real and make it about you!

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