Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile For Your Job Interview

By Mike Simpson


Cover letter…check.

Fancy new corporate outfit…check.

Perfectly crafted and optimized LinkedIn profile

Uh oh…

Just when you thought you had covered every angle, crossed every “t” and dotted every lower-case “j”, you realize that your LinkedIn profile is opened up on the screen on the hiring manager’s computer as you go strolling into her office for your interview.

Do you remember the last time you looked at your LinkedIn Page?  

Have you any idea of which work experience you decided to include when you first set up your profile all of those years ago?  Is there any chance at all that your profile is optimized for the job interview that you are sitting in right now?

I’m going to guess the answers are no, no and NO.

Don’t worry though, because you’re not alone.  Despite being the second largest social network in the world and the largest career-based platform, LinkedIn often is on the back of many job seekers’ minds.

How come?

Well, my best guess is social fatigue.  Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and YouTube, there are simply too many distractions!

Unfortunately for people who suffer from “selfie-itis”, it’s the one that matters most when it comes to their career, and dangers await those who don’t stay on top of it.

You (being an extremely responsible reader of TheInterviewGuys.com) definitely want to make sure that doesn’t happen and you give your profile the attention it deserves.

How To Ensure Your LinkedIn Profile is Interview Proof

Lucky for us, LinkedIn has produced this handy infographic that outlines the best practices when it comes to your profile.

Now, make sure you pay attention to the Top 10 Most Overused Buzzwords list.

I know, it seems like a lot of those words fall in line with what you’ve been taught about using “Power Words.”

Here’s the thing though.  All of your competitors have also been taught the same thing, so in trying to stand out from the crowd, you’re actually getting lost in the crowd!

Profile Picture

There is some controversy, generally regarding discrimination, about the idea of having a photo available to hiring managers before you are given a fair shake in the interview room.  I suppose it is a valid concern, as discrimination is a part of human nature.

However, as Susan P. Joyce (President, Netability Inc.) states,

"The discrimination will happen regardless. The question is the timing of the discrimination."  

What she’s saying makes sense.  

If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.  If the hiring manager isn’t going to hire you because of your gender, age or looks, you may as well get the discrimination out of the way before wasting all of your time going to the interview.

She then goes on to say:

"A professional social profile without a nice headshot of you hurts you much more than the lack of one helps you avoid discrimination. So don't skip it."

 I would tend to agree.

For more in depth info I highly recommend Susan’s article: “Headshot Best Practices”.

Taking It One Step Further

As you may have seen, the folks over here at Interview Guys Headquarters take few things more seriously than “tailoring”.

To recap, tailoring is the practice of customizing all aspects of your job interview to the specific company you are interviewing with. (For more in depth information check out our job interview questions and answers 101 post.)

This means that your cover letter, your resume, your answers to interview questions – heck your ENTIRE interview – needs to be fully tailored to the position your are interviewing for and the company you are interviewing with.

Makes sense right?

Here’s a little twist though.  You can also apply this logic to your LinkedIn page.

Recall at the beginning of this post we left you staggering into the hiring manger’s office for your interview only to see her going over your un-optimized LinkedIn profile with a fine-toothed comb.

Now, imagine the contents of your profile had been specifically tailored to the company you are about to interview with, meaning every aspect of your profile is aligned with the needs of the company…

You probably feel a little more confident, right?

For extra help, check out our Linkedin Summary Examples article.

MIKE’S TIP: Since you already have a LinkedIn account, make use of it!  Go to the LinkedIn page of the company you are interviewing with and study the types of people who they hire.  What are their common characteristics?  What are their skills and experiences?  Take a good look at their LinkedIn profiles and do your best to include some of the characteristics that are common throughout in your own profile.

The Big Picture

That should have you covered for now.

You don’t need to freak out if you haven’t paid much attention to your LinkedIn Page, because a few small tweaks can really make a big difference.

At the end of the day, you have to think to yourself, “What does this company want to see from me?” and do your best to emulate that in your profile.

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.