As a recruiter, LinkedIn is a critical tool that provides quick and targeted results for finding top talent. It has transformed the recruiting process to be far more efficient and effective by marrying professional networking with the digital age. For the average recruiter, finding talent is a volume play; it’s shooting out as many InMails to get as many responses as possible to find the best candidates.
With over 400 million users, how can you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers? There are a few simple changes that you can make to your LinkedIn profile to help you land that next job, whether you’re hoping to break into a new industry or take on greater responsibility within your current field.
- The profile picture: As a recruiter, I can tell you that I’ve seen everything from bathroom selfies to cartoon characters. In some professions, such as advertising or entertainment, a slight creative twist may be appreciated. It is definitely a case-by-case basis. However, as a general rule of thumb, your picture should be a professional photo. You want it to show that you are confident, successful, and polished. You should look as if you are about to walk into a job interview-- clean background, good lighting, nice outfit. Done. No cropping out your significant other, no family portraits, no night clubs, and no duck faces.
- Headline: Along with your profile picture, this is a great opportunity for you to catch attention. It is prime real estate. The default LinkedIn headline displays current title and company—quick, simple, and straightforward. However, this could also be a great space for you to advertise yourself with a compelling value proposition or hook. Be creative, show a little personality and highlight the talent and expertise that you bring to the table. What are your strengths, and how can you position yourself to stand out among your colleagues? When I am conducting research on LinkedIn, I frequently use keywords. For example, if you are a “data guru with a passion for analytics,” incorporating these keywords into a unique headline is a great way to quickly be filtered and easily identified in a search.
- Summary: Think of the summary section as a digital first impression. This is the ideal place for you to express who you are as a person, your strengths, your passions, and to graciously brag about your accomplishments. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people write their summary in the third person. This immediately detracts from that personal element and the overall sense of ownership over a candidate’s accomplishments. Write your summary as if you are addressing the reader directly. Elaborate on your headline and share information that doesn’t appear in your Experience section. If your roles aren’t clearly defined in the Experience section, the summary is the ideal place for you to discuss your expertise, as well as connect the dots to demonstrate your overall progression throughout your career. As I noted previously, keywords are the first thing that I will use to find talent for a search. Be sure to insert any keywords that relate to the type of role that you are seeking.
- Experience: Too often I look at a profile and see nothing but titles and companies. Titles vary from company to company, and it can be nearly impossible to grasp what they truly mean. Share some information about the company and dedicate a few sentences to an overview of your key responsibilities and accomplishments. Use action words, use metrics, express your impact at the company, and keep it clear and concise. Your LinkedIn Experience section is not your resume; it’s a snapshot of your greatest achievements as a professional. The more information that you are able to share, the greater the chance that your LinkedIn profile will rise to the top of the list during a recruiter’s LinkedIn search.
Take your LinkedIn page to the next level. Even if you aren’t looking for a change right now, having an updated LinkedIn page will make you accessible to professionals in the field, keeping you at the top of the queue for hot opportunities from speaking engagements to great job possibilities.