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Simple Steps for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Rodney Apple
March/April 2017

This past December, Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote a letter to his team explaining the new mission of the combined companies, saying, “I’m more confident than ever that our move to join forces with Microsoft will accelerate our mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and ultimately help create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”

He went on to list the ways in which he hopes to integrate products and leverage Microsoft’s scale, including

  • enabling LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
  • collecting LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
  • the ability to draft résumés in Word and apply to a profile
  • new ways to discover and apply for jobs through LinkedIn
  • extending the reach of sponsored content across Microsoft properties
  • creating an enterprise LinkedIn lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
  • making LinkedIn learning available across Office 365 and Windows
  • developing a business news desk across LinkedIn’s content ecosystem and
  • redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with some of the products or technical jargon, let’s just say this is going to be a big deal. The first wave of product integrations alone is nothing short of game changing from job-seeking, recruiting and hiring, networking, marketing, selling, and learning perspectives.

Clearly, this is the time to make sure you have the best possible LinkedIn profile. Here are some tips.

Keyword research: Researching and implementing the keywords that best describe your background, qualifications, and skills makes it easier for employers and others to find you. If you use the right keywords the right amount of times in the right places—and you have great content within your profile—your search rankings on LinkedIn will be boosted.

Begin by running a quick search on LinkedIn. For example, the term “supply chain” will yield the top-performing profiles for this phrase. Study the top profiles and identify what they have in common—not just from a keyword perspective but from an overall content perspective. Then closely mimic the top performers (without ever directly copying content, of course).

Next, browse the APICS Dictionary, 15th edition, which contains more than 4,800 terms and definitions relevant to supply chain management professionals. This is an excellent resource for keywords that will enhance your profile.

Professional headline: This is one of the most important profile elements, as it is the first thing people see. Develop a strong branding statement and be sure to incorporate your top keywords without over-stuffing them.

Professional headshot: Make sure to use a high-quality photograph that is properly exposed and isn’t blurry or grainy. Selfies are inappropriate. Also, business professional or business casual attire is advised.

Summary: In this section, you will highlight the unique skills, qualifications, and value you bring to an organization. Be sure to include most of the popular keywords that describe your functional, technical, and soft skills. You can include the industries in which you’ve worked and key accomplishments as well. Organize this content in easy-to-scan, powerful, and action-oriented bullet points as opposed to stacks of long paragraphs. Finally, don’t be afraid to show off your personality a little in order to differentiate yourself.

Employment history: Complete this section for every relevant job you’ve held. Do not copy your résumé word for word—this is a mistake many candidates make. Instead, add a few bullet points to describe your core responsibilities and accomplishments, ensuring that you integrate your primary and relevant keywords.

Education: Include any schools and degrees that are applicable. This way, employers who are seeking candidates with a particular educational background won’t miss your profile.

Skills and endorsements: Add your list of keywords to this section. They will be indexed by LinkedIn and can really improve your search rankings and discoverability.

Recommendations: Seek out references and testimonials from current and previous managers, clients, suppliers, business partners, and peers. LinkedIn makes this very easy to do.

Organizations: Be sure to list all of the professional associations of which you are a member, including any certifications you have earned. Supply chain recruiters like myself search for these terms all the time.

Publications: If you have written or contributed to a publication, add the link and a brief description of the piece. Integrate relevant keywords here too.

Advice for contacting you: Let visitors know how to contact you. A direct connection is often preferred over sending messages through LinkedIn.

Projects: If you have completed any projects that you would like to showcase, add an overview to this section and tag other LinkedIn members who participated. This is another great place to integrate your relevant keywords.

Rich media: This area is for descriptive, visual content. Upload files or provide URLs to showcase as presentations, explainer videos, and other forms of visual content. Be sure to gain permission prior to uploading content, if necessary.

Privacy settings: Once you complete your profile, I strongly recommend that you visit your privacy settings. Explore and set them based on your personal preferences. Most people set all sections of their profiles as public and make their public profile visible to everyone.

To learn more about optimizing your LinkedIn profile—and, ultimately, yielding benefits that can make a highly positive impact on your career and business endeavors—join me for my upcoming APICS Extra Live Webinar. Register for the April 20 event at

Rodney Apple is founder and president of SCM Talent Group, a supply chain recruiting and executive search firm. He has served as the APICS career coach since 2014 and routinely contributes supply chain career development content for members. Apple may be contacted at

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  1. Amish May 08, 2017, 07:26 PM
    I like the webinar

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