If you’re looking to build a career in the international market, having a LinkedIn profile is a must. The first thing you need to do is fill out your profile properly. Can you use a passport photo as your avatar? How should you describe your experience and skills? Don’t worry, we got you covered in this article. We’ll walk you through it all.

What’s LinkedIn all about?

LinkedIn is the largest professional network. It’s where you can find current job openings, connect with former and potential colleagues, build networks, and get to know recruiters from companies you’re interested in. All of this helps you climb the ladder in your profession and manage your career like a boss

If you dream of working for a foreign company, creating a LinkedIn page is totally worth it. So let’s get started. First, you need to optimize your profile. It’s best to fill it out in English right away. If your profile is in your native language, some fields may not be translated by the social network. As a result, you may not appear in recruiter searches.

Here’s how to optimize your profile on LinkedIn.

Step 1: Choose the perfect LinkedIn Profile Photo

Your photo is the first impression you make. So, forget about vacation pics, party snapshots, or group photos with your buddies. LinkedIn calls for a professional business portrait as your main photo. Remember, it’s not a passport photo. Pick a picture where you’re looking straight at the camera, appearing positive and friendly. Take a look at Bill Gates’ LinkedIn page for some inspo on a great profile photo.

Oh, and don’t forget about the banner, that rectangle at the top of your profile. By default, LinkedIn sets a boring gray background, but it might make your profile look unfinished.

How to customize your banner:

  1. Get creative and design your own background. You can include your name, profession, and contact info if you want.
  1. Go for a neutral photo that matches your profile pic or reflects your line of work. You can find cool images on free stock photo websites like Unsplash and Pexels

Step 2: Write a relevant Linkedin headline

Your headline shows up right below your name on your profile. When recruiters check out profiles, they only see your last name, first name, and headline. Usually, LinkedIn users typically put their current job title and company in the headline:

Reed Hastings

CEO Netflix

To stand out from other candidates, get creative: mention your specialty along with a couple of key skills, come up with an attention-grabbing description of your work, list programming languages you’re proficient in, or add your academic degree. You have 120 characters to play with.

And avoid using the phrase “Open to new opportunities.” If you’re actively on hunt for a job, simply indicate that in the hidden settings of your page. This way, the social network will present your profile to recruiters as a candidate who is actively looking for a job.

Here are some headline examples:

Step 3: Fill in juicy details in general Information

The “About” section is like a cover letter for your profile. It’s where you effectively present yourself to recruiters. Typically, general information includes a brief description of yourself, your skills, and your aspirations. 

To fill out this section, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long have you been working in your current position?
  • What’s your area of expertise?
  • Why are you interested in developing in this particular direction?
  • What do you do to further your development? Do you have certifications or awards?
  • Do you have any professional interests? What are they?

The maximum length for the “About” section is 2600 characters. You don’t have to use them all—people may not read through a long block of text. When filling out this section, remember to structure your text and break it into paragraphs.

Here’s an example structure for the “About” section:

Vocabulary to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

  • an expert in…   
  • well-developed skills in… 
  • strong background in… 
  • keeping up-to-date with industry changes 
  • with over 5 years of experience
  • with broad experience in… 
  • highly organized and detail-oriented  

Step 4: Manage your professional experience like a pro

Pick the LinkedIn sections that’ll show off your background the best. You’ve got options like:

  • Education 
  • Courses 
  • Certificates 
  • Licenses 
  • Recommendations
  • Work Experience

When filling this section, focus on highlighting the results of your work, what you’ve achieved in each position, the results of your hard work, and how you contributed to the company’s success. Keep it concise and add numbers, percentages, relevant technologies, and brand names that will catch the recruiter’s attention.

For example:

  • Increased revenues from $400,000 in 2020 to $1 million in 2021. 
  • Doubled client base from 3,000 to 6,000.

Step 5: Show off your skills

Include your key skills that can interest recruiters. Don’t hold back: according to the social network’s rules, you can list up to 50 skills. Choose three of them as primary skills.

Step 6: Add additional information to LinkedIn

Write about how awesome you are not only at work: maybe you’ve aced the TOEFL with a perfect score of 120 out of 120. Think about achievements you have and list them in the appropriate section. LinkedIn offers the following options:

  • Volunteer Experience (this section is particularly appreciated in Western countries)
  • Publications 
  • Projects 
  • Certificates and Awards 
  • Test Results

Step 7: Give your profile URL a personal touch

It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in how your profile is perceived. LinkedIn usually assigns users long URLs that aren’t visually appealing or easy to share on social media, CV, or business cards. So, why not customize your profile URL in the “Edit public profile & URL” section? Instead of a lengthy combination of random characters, you can use your name. The allowed length for the URL is between 5 and 30 characters.

After completing your profile, make sure LinkedIn assigns your profile the “All-Star” status. Profiles with this status are more likely to be shown to recruiters, increasing your chances of finding your dream job abroad. Good luck!