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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Gerety

LinkedIn pro tip #3: Make a great first impression

One of the easiest, highest-impact changes you can make to your LinkedIn profile is to update the visual elements. Refreshing your photos and adding media make you look professional, interesting, and informed. They keep a reader on your profile page and increase the likelihood they will read that powerful Headline, targeted About section, and detailed Experiences you spent hours putting together.

Here are 4 easy ways to elevate your visual brand on LinkedIn and get you noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.

📷 Invest in a professional headshot.

You should invest in a new headshot every 2 to 3 years (you don't want to surprise anyone when you actually make it to the interview rounds). While I typically recommend a professional photographer, I've had clients successfully ask a friend or family member who takes good portrait shots on a newer iPhone.

The idea is to look authentic, confident, and approachable. Wear something sure you feel comfortable in (I usually recommend business casual vs. formal attire, but this can depend on the industry) and look straight at the camera. (Pro tip: check out Photofeeler to see how your headshot scores on a number of different metrics, including competence, influence, and likability.)

🌈 Upload a bright image for your banner.

Listen, anything is better than that default, gray LinkedIn background behind your nice new headshot! There are a number of online resources (Canva, ​​Unsplash,Burst, Pexels) that offer free visuals you can use to create a beautiful LinkedIn banner (Pro tip: banners are1584 x 396 px). Choose something that works well with and doesn't compete with your new headshot. Make sure the image feels consistent with your other professional brand and career goals (i.e., don't put a picture of Boston in there if you're looking for jobs in San Francisco, or choose a picture of tropical plants when you work for a non-profit ski school).

📌 Pin media in your Experience and Featured sections.

If you're a new LinkedIn user, this next recommendation may feel advanced, but I urge you to think about adding media links to your profile. Are there posts on LinkedIn or press releases you can find on the internet that talk about the work that you or your team have done? When you add them into your Experience section or pin them into your Featured section, they show up in little thumbnails (photos), which adds some nice visual interest while giving readers quick links to articles that showcase your work.

💫 Update your LinkedIn URL!

Creating a custom URL (i.e., removing those standard numbers following your name) makes you look like a LinkedIn pro. It also makes it easier for people to share your LinkedIn profile and introduce you to others. This is not a difficult task. Just navigate to the right-hand side of your LinkedIn profile (where it says "Edit public profile & URL") and, well, edit your URL! If you have a common name, like John Smith, you may need to get creative or use your middle name in your new handle, but I know you'll persevere.

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