LinkedIn Tips For A Successful Job Search

June 12, 2024

Optimize your LinkedIn profile in 10 simple steps

LinkedIn is one of the largest professional networking platforms in the world. As of January 2024, 24.4 million users in Canada are using the platform to grow their professional presence, search for jobs and for recruiters–find the best talent matches.

Leaving this platform out of your job search strategy could mean leaving opportunities on the table. 

Your LinkedIn profile is your own professional website that complements your resume. When used properly, it can help you build a personal brand and increase your exposure to recruiters, hiring managers, industry peers while opening the doors to opportunities beyond traditional job boards. 

Ready to boost your LinkedIn presence and land your dream role? Follow our expert tips.

10 LinkedIn profile must-haves

  1. Say cheese with a professional profile picture

It’s been shown that LinkedIn profile views increase by 21x after adding a profile photo. So, if a picture is worth 1000 words, what does your LinkedIn profile picture say about you? A professional profile picture will help you make a strong first impression. Think of it like a great interview outfit. A great profile photo is high-quality, bright, approachable and clearly showcases who you are. 

Profile picture tips:

– A professional headshot is best, but if this isn’t accessible don’t sweat it! All you need is a clear and well-lit photo. For a stellar DIY headshot, put on your favourite professional outfit and ask someone in your circle to snap a few pictures of you in front of a neutral background using your phone camera. No professional equipment required.

Don’t be afraid to show your personality. If you love bright colours, choose a colourful outfit. If you work in tech or a creative field, stand out from other candidates by using an illustration or AI-generated headshot.

  1. Build your brand with a custom background image

Now that your profile picture is helping you make a great first impression, it’s time to upgrade your profile with a custom background image that speaks to who you are as a professional. Think of this space as your profile’s billboard. It’s prime real estate, don’t let it go to waste. Top profiles use personalized background images to highlight their professional brand and tell hiring managers what they do at-a-glance.

Background image tips:

 A custom background image is a must to stand out from the hundreds of profiles that recruiters are scanning. No design skills are needed to create your own personally branded background image. Thanks to the free templates available on Canva, all you need to do is pick one that best represents you, input your details and customize where you see fit. Here are a few examples for inspiration.

– Use high-quality, visually appealing and relevant images. It should be clear what your image is (avoid abstracts) and why you chose it (related to your field). Whether you create a custom banner or stick to a simple picture, be sure the visuals you use are relevant to your personal brand, industry, company or interests.

– Avoid personal photos. LinkedIn is a place to build your professional credibility. It’s important that the images you use represent you professionally. Save the family photos or vacation snaps for Instagram. 

– Now for the technical details, LinkedIn recommends using a background image that is 1536 x 768 pixels.

  1. Headline

For recruiters, LinkedIn is their talent-finding search engine. They use keywords to find great candidate matches. That’s why, contrary to popular belief, your headline shouldn’t just be your latest job title or your educational background (e.g., Account Manager at Keynote Search or Information Technology student at McGill University). Instead, craft your headline using relevant keywords that inform recruiters what you do at a glance, no matter what role you’re in. 

Choose keywords that showcase your field, skills, experience, or expertise in a concise and compelling way. This approach will help you rank higher in the right searches while highlighting why you’re the best candidate for the role.

Pro Tips:

– Make sure your headline accurately reflects what you do and what you bring to the table. You can add a splash of personality by adding emojis one or two to avoid distracting your reader.

– Highlight key details that recruiters and hiring managers will be looking for right off the bat. This includes years of experience, your field of work, industry and employment level. 

– Here are a few examples to spark inspiration: Recruitment manager with 5+ years of experience building tech teams for healthcare startups.

  1. About

Don’t write off your about section–it’s one of the most versatile tools on your profile. A well-crafted about section will pack more relevant keywords into your profile, tell your professional story and highlight your unique value proposition. Use this space to go into more detail about your background, passions, experience (volunteering and professional), and achievements. 

Pro Tips:

–  Keep your summary concise and focused – around 2-3 paragraphs – and use bullet points to highlight key achievements when appropriate.

– Write in a conversational tone and avoid using overly formal language–it should sound like you!

– Start off with a story. What was the catalyst that inspired your career journey? Is there a specific project that you’re proud of? What was the background behind it? This is particularly useful if you’ve made a career transition. But no matter where you are in your professional journey, stories are a memorable way to stand out.

– Highlight the soft skills and experience that sets you apart from other professionals in your field. There is no one out there who is exactly like you. You have unique experiences and perspectives that can’t be duplicated.

Use these three questions to prompt your writing:

  1. Why did I decide to go into this field?
  2. What accomplishments am I most proud of?
  3. What sets me apart from other professionals in this field?

Remember to highlight your personality + weave in keywords throughout!

  1. Featured Media

Don’t wait until the interview to show recruiters and hiring managers what you’re made of. Give them a sneak peak at your abilities by adding featured media under your about section. Here you can feature a variety of content including popular thought-leadership posts you’ve published on LinkedIn, articles you’ve written for your company’s blog, a webpage you’ve designed, or a link to your portfolio. 

This section lives near the top of your profile and is best served to highlight big projects, accomplishments (like awards or accolades), community involvement, thought leadership or other excerpts of your work that demonstrate your unique expertise. 

Continue to build this section as you grow your career to provide a more colourful and creative profile.

Pro tips:

– Set a quarterly reminder to update and review this section to ensure your samples are relevant as you advance in your career.

– Add stand-out items that are unique to you. For example, your perspective on trending industry news and projects you’ve worked on, the approach you took to deliver a successful project

–  Include professional imagery to keep your profile visually appealing and project professionalism.

– Size media accordingly so that it is consistent and looks consistent side-by-side.

  1. Experience

The experience section is similar to a resume. It’s a chronological summary of your work history and accomplishments from your career so far. When working on this section, include your relevant job titles, employers, dates of employment, and a description of your responsibilities and achievements in each role. 

Aim to capture the outcomes you achieved (did sales increase? were efficiencies achieved? Did you boost brand recognition? Introduce new systems?), major projects you contributed to, the size of your team, and whether you had any direct reports or received special recognition.

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to go more in-depth about your experience than on your resume (which should be tailored to each role). Your profile doesn’t need to be a carbon copy of your resume, but your experience and dates of employment should match.

Pro Tips:

– List your experience in chronological order, with your most recent and relevant experiences at the top of the list.

– Add a sentence at the beginning to let the reader know what your current and past workplaces do and how you supported that work.

– Use bullet points to highlight your achievements and include how your responsibilities positively impacted your workplace. Make sure you include numbers to highlight how you contributed to the company’s growth and goals.

– Keep the content clear and concise, if a recruiter can’t easily see what they’re looking for, they will move on to other candidates.

– Leave out experience that isn’t relevant to your field or is outdated. As you progress in your career, that first role you had out of college or your part-time job from high school can be removed.

  1. Education

Use this section to complement your professional experience by listing your formal education and any relevant certifications or degrees you have earned over the years. Hiring managers and recruiters are impressed by candidates who continuously level up their skills, so keep this section updated as you take professional development courses and certificates throughout your career.

To showcase your industry-related certifications, LinkedIn provides a “Licenses & Certifications” section where you can showcase items like Google Analytics Certification, LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Certification, Project Management Certification, Finance & Accounting Certifications, etc.

Pro Tips:

– Details matter. Include the name of the school you attended when you graduated, and the degree you earned. Depending on your field and how far along you are in your career, high school details are likely not necessary.

– Highlight coursework, honours, awards, committees and extracurricular activities that are relevant to your field of work.

– If you have any industry-specific certifications, be sure to include them here as well.

  1. Contact Information

When the opportunity comes calling, make sure it has a way to get in touch. Include your email and phone number on your profile so recruiters and hiring managers who are impressed by your stellar LinkedIn profile can get in touch about job openings. 

Pro Tips:

– Make sure your information is up-to-date. Don’t let an inactive email hold you back from your dream job.

– Use a professional email address that won’t give recruiters the wrong impression. That means ditching your old MSN style email – hiring managers may hesitate to reach out to or

– If you decide to include your X profile or any other social media account for that matter, make sure that the content you like and share through your profile is professional and appropriate. Before you add this to your profile, ask yourself whether you’d want your future employer to see what you share.

– Take it a step further by adding your email and an invitation to get in touch at the end of your About section.

  1. Skills

A properly developed skills section can give your job search a boost. It’s where you can showcase your hard and soft skills, which recruiters use as key search words when looking for candidates. Your skills also help LinkedIn match you with relevant roles and can be a tool you use to assess how well-suited you are for jobs posted (hint: check the top of the listing to see how many of your skills match).  

Pro Tips:

– Do an audit of what skills other professionals in your field are including to get an understanding of what skills are in demand.

– Once you’ve done this, list the skills that are most relevant to your industry, align with positions you’d like to be considered for and that you can speak to based on your professional experience.

– Get endorsements from others to build credibility and demonstrate your expertise.  Don’t sit around waiting for endorsements to roll in. Take initiative and ask a group of colleagues or classmates to endorse your skills.

– Regularly update your skills to reflect any changes or new areas of expertise.

  1. Recommendations

Recommendations are a powerful way to build credibility and demonstrate your expertise to others. It gives recruiters and hiring managers the chance to see what folks are saying about you early on in the hiring process. Think of recommendations like reviews that speak to your professional brand as an employee.

Pro Tips:

– Aim to have at least three recommendations–one from a manager, one from a colleague you collaborated with regularly and one from a direct report (if you were a people leader).

– If you work in a relationship-driven role, create a stronger picture of who you are as a colleague by asking vendors or suppliers you have a good professional rapport with to leave you a recommendation.

– Ask for recommendations from people who can speak to your professional skills and experience.

– Each time you move to a new role, ask your current colleagues, including your manager, to leave you a recommendation. That way your experience is fresh in their mind.

– Sharing is caring! Give recommendations to those in your network to show your appreciation for their time.

  1. Activity

Your recent activity–including posts, reshares, likes, comments–populates on your profile in a section called “Activity”. While being engaged on LinkedIn is a great way to use the platform and expand your reach, be mindful that the posts and people you interact with will be published on your profile. Before you engage, make sure the content featured won’t raise questions from your current or future employer.

Pro Tips:

– Use this section to your advantage by posting your big wins. By sharing updates about projects you’ve worked on, career milestones and new courses you’ve taken, you’ll impress recruiters and hiring managers who click the “More Likely to Engage” in LinkedIn recruiter.

– Level up your professional brand by posting relevant thought leadership content. Pick your favourite industry-related topic and share your tips, experience and insights about it. Don’t let the discomfort of sharing hold you back. Posting regularly on LinkedIn can have a significant impact on your professional brand in the long run.

– If you’re struggling with content ideas, start by sharing interesting content from others with your comments on the topic or share key takeaways from relevant webinars you’ve attended or articles you’ve read.

Beyond the basics: 3 finishing touches to make your profile shine

  1. Showing the quality of your work is key. In addition to having an updated “featured” section be sure to include a link to your online portfolio. If you don’t have one yet, there are plenty of free sites where you can get started.
  2. To qualify for roles that require proximity to an office, be sure to add your location to your profile.
  3. List your language skills and proficiency in each language. This will help you appear in searches for bilingual roles that require specific language skills.

How to apply for a job on LinkedIn

Now that your profile is ready to impress, it’s time to put yourself out there and start looking for opportunities on LinkedIn. If you aren’t sure where to start, we’ve outlined four ways LinkedIn can help you find open roles.

– LinkedIn Job Search: Start by searching for jobs by title, location, and skill set. If you see roles you’re interested in, it’s easy to save jobs you want to apply for. Once you’re comfortable with searching, set up job alerts based on your searches or for specific companies. As you search for jobs, LinkedIn will learn what you’re interested in and start recommending jobs to apply for.

Easy Apply: More employers are opting to use the “Easy Apply” application feature on LinkedIn, which means all you have to do is upload your resume and submit your application. Before hitting “Easy Apply”, read through the job posting for application instructions to ensure you don’t miss any steps.

– Connect with your professional network: Many jobs are filled before they even get posted publicly. Tap into the “hidden job market” through your own professional network. Here’s how: Set up regular networking calls with your connections (past colleagues, mentors, friends of friends) to tap into job opportunities before they’re advertised. This is also a great way to maintain your professional relationships.

–  Connect with hiring managers and recruiters: What makes LinkedIn unique is that it’s used by recruiters, hiring managers and job seekers alike. That means you can take your job search to the next level by directly connecting with hiring managers and recruiters. Use this to your advantage by asking for a coffee chat with a people leader at your dream company or by following professional recruiters in your industry to get updates about their open roles.

These steps will help upgrade your LinkedIn so you can focus on meeting new people, connecting with your network, finding new opportunities and getting inspired on your career journey. Remember LinkedIn is a social media platform, just like Instagram, X, Facebook and TikTok, so get involved! Participate in meaningful conversations, ask questions, introduce yourself to industry professionals and share your own experiences.


Whether you’re looking to redefine your career goals, improve your resume or LinkedIn profile, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. 

Contact us for more information on how we can assist you.