LinkedIn Optimisation for Job seekers

LinkedIn Optimisation for Job seekers

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Recently, I shared a couple of LinkedIn posts, and many people shared their impressions on what could have been improved or mentioned a couple of things that were wrong.

Leveraging on the feedback I received, I consider it important to share my experiences on what has worked for me on LinkedIn so far.

I thought about writing on LinkedIn optimisation because I realise a lot of people especially fresh graduates, and young professionals don’t have a profile there; or when they do, it’s incomplete or virtually empty. In most cases when they do have pages there, they tend to be inactive on LinkedIn.

I will talk about the Dos and Don’ts on LinkedIn that may guide you in optimising your LinkedIn profile.

Picture: Your picture should be recent and very professional. Selfies at a party are a big NO! LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is a professional site so avoid using pictures that are unprofessional.

Title: Most people use their current job titles as their caption. This is okay but does not make you visible in searches especially if your job title is a little ambiguous.  It is preferable to use your profession. Use titles such as Finance Manager, Communications Officer, Fundraising Specialist and so on. Some job titles are easily recognised but, in most cases, others are not. For no reason should you use “seeking for new opportunities” as a title as it makes it difficult for you to be found in searches when recruiters are looking for a professional in your field.

Information: Don’t copy and paste your cover letter here. Most people do that. You have to write a short resume of who you are making sure all you want to sell is captured and then use bullet points or a separate paragraph to write your skills or specialties. The resume so to speak is your elevator pitch or what you will call a career summary of your curriculum vitae. This is very important because when you are being searched, the computer will pick key words on your summary or resume and that is how you will appear. If not well written, you will not be appearing in searches. This means if recruiters search for professionals in your field on LinkedIn, it might be difficult to find you.

Experiences: Starting from the current job, give details of what you did under each job title with key achievements. This usually is not just a copy and paste from your CV. What most people have in their CVs are just job titles. You need to carefully elaborate under each job title what you did, and what you achieved in quantifiable terms so that whoever is reading can easily appreciate these achievements.

Recommendations: Make sure your skills are recommended, and that colleagues and friends write recommendations on your page. This is very important because more recommendations on your page builds confidence in prospective recruiters. It also proves that you have the skills you claim to have, and that you have worked in the places you claim to have worked in. If you are a fresh graduate, get your lecturers to recommend and get colleagues in organisations where you did internships to recommend as well.

LinkedIn Habit: Develop a LinkedIn habit of updating industry related information, following, liking and forwarding your industry’s specific information on your page and writing articles on LinkedIn. This is one of the ways you can gain visibility to companies and decision-makers on LinkedIn.

Networking: Make sure you network with colleagues in the same organisation and colleagues in the same sector in different organisations as well as in organisations you aspire to work in. Also, ensure that you network with industry influencers and HR professionals of organisations you wish to work for. When sending a request to someone you do not know, kindly send an introductory message to them informing them on why you wish to network. Never ever send a “Hi” or “Hello” to someone you do not know on LinkedIn. If it is not possible to send a friend request to your prospects, just click follow on their page and you will be able to follow, comment, and like their messages. This way you become more visible to them as well and on their networks too.

Job seeker: Most often we see people writing that they are job seeking on LinkedIn. Some go as far as saying, “if you can’t help just like the message” for more visibility. This is a very wrong approach for several reasons. First, you will be contacted by a recruiter not because of what you can do but out of pity. Secondly, just saying you are job seeking without stating specific roles and the industry you are interested in will get you nowhere. Thirdly, saying you are a fresh graduate and looking for a job instead of searching for voluntary opportunities or internships that can build their experience too is a very wrong approach. What you must do is state your profession so that it is search worthy. LinkedIn now has a badge you can use as your profile picture which indicates that you are job seeking. The whole idea is to ensure that you are visible and your skills are perceived. You don’t want to sell pity.

The word ‘Interested’ has never gotten anyone a Job. I see a lot of people and even senior professionals clicking interested under jobs they see advertised on LinkedIn. If you see a job advertised and you are interested you can leverage on that to attract the recruiter’s attention. To do so, you can like it to get the recruiters attention and then engage inbox on the job and apply using the instructions provided. Also, you can get a mutual friend of the recruiter to comment and mention your name so the recruiter can see that as well and then you engage with the recruiter. You can also get a friend or a colleague to recommend you for the job as well.

Typing ‘interested’ in the comment section of the post shows you lack networking skills and will not get the recruiters attention for simple reasons that she or he could get 1000 ‘interested’. In most cases if recruiters like your profile on LinkedIn they will contact you.

A lot of people create profiles on LinkedIn as if they were forced to. They do not spend time to update it regularly, and in other cases the page is sometimes scanty. Your LinkedIn profile should be treated as your online CV telling recruiters and networkers who you are and what you can do for them The professional nature of your page, how active it is, and the recommendations can easily tell a recruiter more about you prompting them to engage with you.

After reading this article, kindly ask someone on LinkedIn to search your profession on LinkedIn and see if your name comes up. If it doesn’t, this means your page is not optimised and you need to update it and make sure you are visible. Also check how many people checked your page this week, and how many times you appeared on searches.

Finally ask yourself how many connections you make each week, and how many people have connected with you. If the answer is none, then, you have a lot to do to optimize your LinkedIn page. In all you do, don’t approach a connection from a disadvantaged position. You have something to offer as well, no matter how small.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone.

Remember that, for you to land that dream job, you really need to be on your ‘A’ game. Having a stellar LinkedIn page is one way of getting closer to that dream job or opportunity.




About the author

Venatius Tsi Fon is a Fundraising Professional with over 12 years of experience in the INGO sector and the UN. He has worked in east, central, and southern Africa. He currently works as Partnerships Specialist for UNICEF Malawi.


Venatius Tsi Fon

Venatius Tsi Fon is a Fundraising Professional with over 12 years of experience in the INGO sector and the UN. He has worked in east, central, and southern Africa. He currently works as Partnerships Specialist for UNICEF Malawi.


  1. Mungai NFI

    Says June 21, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for always sharing what is relevant for professionals. Keep on mate!

  2. Abu Ibrahim Azebre

    Says June 22, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    I happy to read this article. It’s a practical training and I have learned a lot about LinkedIn. Thanks to the author for sharing this lesson.

  3. Tangye Nebaneh SEJINE

    Says June 16, 2022 at 12:07 am

    Great write-up! Let me just start applying this now.

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Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


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Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


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Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.