LinkedIn: Creating a Profile that Attracts Recruiters
As a major source and influencer of employment information, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your job seeking efforts. Consider these fast facts:
· Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is older than Facebook.
· The networking site currently boasts more than 630 million members across the globe.
· LinkedIn lists over 20 million jobs in the U.S. and beyond.
· Members can take online courses to boost their expertise.
Here’s how to build an eye-catching and professional profile that potential employers can’t resist!
Look the Part
Like Facebook, LinkedIn enables users to include a profile photo. If you’re thinking of skipping this function because you want your credentials to speak for themselves, you’ll want to reconsider—without a photo, your profile appears incomplete, likely preventing it from displaying in recruiter searchers. Even worse, other users may flag your profile as fake because you’re unwilling to be seen. When choosing your photo, remember that you’ve joined LinkedIn to display your professional brand and to develop professional relationships, not to reveal your personal habits and hobbies or to make friends. Select a professional, well-lit headshot with a plain background and in which you wear clothing you would normally wear to work. Let potential employers see the polished, qualified person they could have on their teams!
Once you’ve settled on your profile photo, you’ll need to choose a banner or cover image, which will appear behind your headshot. The banner can reflect a bit more of your personality and creativity but, like your headshot, it should be professional. For instance, if your ideal job involves public speaking, your banner might be a photo of you giving a presentation; if you’re a realtor, you might include an aerial shot of your city or an image of a property you sold. LinkedIn does provide wallpaper designs for banners, but many other users have defaulted to these same images, and you want every aspect of your profile to stand out. If you don’t have an image you think would work for your banner, try searching for free, high-quality stock images from sites such as Unsplash or Pexels, and don’t be afraid to refresh your banner and your profile picture from time to time.
Hook Them with Your Headline
Newspapers and magazines grab attention with short, catchy phrases that let readers know exactly what to expect. Your LinkedIn headline, which appears directly beneath your profile photo, works the same way. You have 120 characters to let recruiters know who you are and what you offer, so make them count. Check out this headline from a training and curriculum development specialist based in Atlanta:
Instead of listing only a job title or a list of duties, this user provides a short, memorable headline letting readers know what she can do for their organizations. Before recruiters even get to the section of her profile that details her work experience, they know her specialization and how she helps businesses meet training goals.
Tell Your Story
The next piece of your LinkedIn page is your summary. This is the space where you’ll provide a brief and personalized account of your mission, values, goals, passions, and strengths. You can also include your interests. Unlike your resume and the career section of your LinkedIn profile, the summary section allows for a more personal and less formal appeal to recruiters. Welcome those reading about you with a short bio written in the first person, and allow a bit of your personality to show. As always, however, keep your end goal of snagging a great job in mind and avoid profane or offensive language.
Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers a touching yet mission-focused synopsis of her work:
Show Your Experience
Now that you’ve introduced yourself to potential employers, use the experience section of your LinkedIn profile to detail your professional background. As with your resume, you can list current and past positions and your job duties, taking care to make brief, action-oriented statements that describe your work. Do not, however, simply cut and paste blocks from your resume; instead, take the time to go into achievements for which your resume may not have allowed you enough space, such as your sales statistics, scholarly publications, or volunteer work. Be sure to include keywords relevant to your industry to maximize your chances of being seen by the right recruiters.
Highlight Your Skills
LinkedIn offers several “Featured Skills” that you can add to your profile—the more you add, the more likely you are to show up in recruiters’ searches, and the more recruiters will know about what you can do. A key feature of this section is users’ ability to endorse you for skills and thus provide evidence that you have the expertise you say you do. For example, a former colleague with whom you worked on various projects can offer endorsements for your public speaking, team building, and leadership skills. As a user, you can also provide endorsements for people in your network, and they will likely return the favor, making you appear even more qualified to headhunters.
Utilize Your Network
Your LinkedIn profile isn’t complete until you’ve started making connections with former and future colleagues as well as leveraging the wealth of employment information at your fingertips. Don’t just create a profile and hope companies come looking for you. In addition to searching and applying for positions on your own, be sure to follow colleagues, industry leaders, and topics and trends relevant to your field. You can find items with LinkedIn’s search function, or you can like and follow items from your feed as they are posted by people within your network. Also, show that you are active and up-to-date on the latest news in your industry by reading and sharing articles or even writing and sharing an article of your own. These steps demonstrate your ability to use LinkedIn and other digital technology and your skills at writing and networking, thus helping you create content that strengthens your professional brand.
LinkedIn provides countless opportunities for users to connect with industry insiders, develop a professional online presence, and expand their job search. Along with a tailored resume and cover letter, the right LinkedIn profile can show off your history and expertise, helping you find your next great position. If you need help building or updating your LinkedIn profile, be sure to check out the career packages The Writique offers and contact us for more information.