Your LinkedIn profile is your online résumé. The difference to your paper CV is that people can view this whenever they want, without waiting for you to apply for a role, allowing them to contact you directly about opportunities you may not have otherwise been aware of.
In case you are doubtful about just how big a part LinkedIn can play in your career progression, here are some simple facts:
- 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates.
- 48% of recruiters ONLY use LinkedIn for social outreach.
- Social professional networks are the number 1 source for job hires, followed by internet job boards and employee referrals.
- 70% of the global work force is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching. This means that both employers and recruiters are more likely to be looking for you before you’re looking for them! How else can they find you without a tool like LinkedIn?
So having now clarified the importance of your online social presence, let’s move on to our top tips to optimise your LinkedIn profile; brought to you by someone who spends most of their day searching for candidates via LinkedIn:
1. Current job title. When you appear in a search result, your headline description will be the first and often the only thing that a recruiter will read before deciding on whether or not to view your full profile. Don’t rule yourself out by being unclear about your job title. Note you can have a slightly different ‘headline’ to your current job title (they are filled in separately) so if you feel your current role doesn’t best describe your talents, you can take some creative licence, within reason. Just don’t be that guy who has ‘Jedi Master Disruptive Cryptotech Investment Entrepreneur Guru’ as their headline; nobody’s hiring him.
2. Job description. Keep this clear and direct. You need to separate out the job description that goes against each role on your history versus the personal summary, which sits at the top of the profile. Both are important and they can do different things. The summary can talk more about general skills and aspirations, whereas the job descriptions should stress skills used.
Using bullet points to describe what your role was can be much easier on the eye for a recruiter. Rather than describing your full role as though you were selling the position, list the main skills used like project management, event organising, customer service, WordPress, blogging etc.
3. Skills. Aside from your job title, the main thing that will bring you to appear in recruiters’ search results are your skills. Add everything that you have experience with using (as long as it’s honest), for example, if you have worked with PHP software development in the eGaming industry, add both ‘PHP’ and ‘eGaming’ to your skillset. Some employers are looking for candidates with experience in a specific industry, so don’t get looked over by missing a skill.
4. The picture. Let’s face facts, as much as we don’t like it; this is just as important as anything else on your profile. You don’t need to have a super duper professional picture but I would recommend using one that is friendly and shows your full face. Again, this is effectively your online representation and the first impression you make with recruiters. Don’t leave your picture blank as this can appear that you are an inactive user.
5. Ask current and previous colleagues to write you a recommendation. Though not directly applicable to recruitment, studies have shown that a staggering 92% of all consumers report that a recommendation is the leading reason they buy a product. Recommendations matter because they can give insight into what a person is like to work with, something that no other part of your CV or online profile can do.
6. Connections. Connect, connect, connect! Don’t hold back on this one, connect with anyone and everyone who works in the industry you are in, or in the companies you would love to be hired by. As mentioned at the start, 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive candidates who were found via social media or shared connections. There is a huge amount of opportunity about and connecting with people makes you far more visible to employers. The larger your network, the more likely you are to appear in a recruiter’s searches.
7. Make sure your settings show that you are ‘open to career opportunities’. You can do this by going into the Settings and Privacy section of LinkedIn, then select Privacy and underneath the Job Seeking section you can change your preference on letting recruiters know you’re open to opportunities. This only appears to people with specific Recruiter accounts on LinkedIn, so it won’t get you in trouble with an employer.
8. Add any published work to your media space. If you have created anything online like blogs, websites, or videos, add these to your media links on your main page. This works like an online portfolio and helps to add support to you
9. Follow, like and comment on topics of interest that relate to your career goals. Again, this potentially increases your visibility on the news feeds of employers and recruiters.
10. Remember that your LinkedIn profile is there to represent you, not your employer! Don’t write a huge paragraph about what your company does, recruiters don’t need it and this is removing the potential to showcase yourself. Keep any description of your current employer brief, to no more than one sentence. Recruiters can view your company’s website if they wish to find out more.
If you’re actively seeking a new role email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may already have a great opportunity for you to advance your career.