No matter what industry you work in, LinkedIn has become a common source for finding and recruiting talent. But simply having a profile isn’t enough anymore. You need to have an optimized presence that gets you found by recruiters and employers, but also helps you land an interview. Here’s a checklist of what employers are looking for on LinkedIn, so you can build out your profile accordingly:
A Professional Profile Photo
LinkedIn profiles with a photo get 21 times more visits than those without. But does that mean any photo will do? Unfortunately, no. It can be tempting to use a selfie or cropped family photo as your profile picture but this can quickly communicate the wrong message. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a headshot photography session, but it would be wise to ask a family member or friend with a good quality camera to take various photos of you. Ensure you’re wearing a professional outfit, the backdrop is simple and undistracted, and the lighting is good.
The Right Location
Recruiters and employers will use the location function during their search so make sure yours is accurate. If you’re looking for work in a specific region, consider updating your location to that particular city. This might be helpful if you live in a remote region but can easily commute or access public transportation to a larger city for your job.
Connections in Common
It’s hard to know who your potential employer is going to know on LinkedIn, but if you have connections in common, you’ll likely have a leg up against competing candidates. The more present you are on the platform and the more networking you do, the greater the chances will be that you’ll know someone in common.
A Relevant Headline
Your headline is what appears under your profile photo and is primarily what LinkedIn crawls when someone enters a search on the platform. It’s ultimately what helps employers decide to click your profile and is your first opportunity to make a good impression. Use these tips to optimize your LinkedIn headline and land the dream job you’re looking for.
Keep it Simple
Even though you might be tempted to make up a creative headline like “Office Ninja” or “Maestro of Mayhem”, it could be affecting your ability to get hired. If an employer or recruiter is looking for a new employee, they’ll likely use more generic keywords. Be sure to use those in your headline if you want to be found. Research how recruiters and employers are naming their positions by reviewing current job postings in your field.
Let Your Network Know You’re Looking for Work
Make the best use of your headline by telling recruiters and employers you’re currently seeking a new opportunity. However, be aware that if you’re currently employed, your existing boss may see your headline (even if you’re not connected!). If you’re in between jobs, including phrasing like “Seeking new opportunities” in your headline will get you noticed by employers.
An Enticing Summary
The summary portion of your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to sell yourself. Think of it like your elevator pitch. Write your summary with the intention of making your profile stand out beyond your job experience. Include compelling points about your achievements and skills that would entice an employer to reach out. Be sure to keep it concise and always ask a friend to proofread for you.
PRO TIP: Browse your “competitor’s” profiles in other regions. Take a look at other individuals with a similar headline to yours and benchmark their summaries. Just be sure you don’t copy! Your summary should be a reflection of your personal experience and writing style.
You can do everything in your power to sell yourself, but a past employer or colleague’s recommendation speaks much louder. Reach out to your peers and request LinkedIn recommendations. Don’t shy away from politely asking if they’d comment on a specific skill you demonstrated that’s relevant to your position.
Similar to recommendations, endorsements are a great way to show validation from your peers as it relates to specific skills. Some say endorsements can actually impact your ability to appear in LinkedIn searches. One of the best ways to get more endorsements is to repay the favour! Endorse past co-workers and they’ll likely provide a few in return.
In addition to keeping your job history up to date, it’s important to show employers that you’re active on LinkedIn. Why? For starters, if they see value in you and your profile, it helps to know that you’re actively checking the platform and will respond to a private message. Additionally, it skyrockets your chances of getting found if you’re consistently present by sharing content, commenting on your connection’s posts, endorsing others, and joining groups. One of the best ways to get found on LinkedIn is by writing an original blog post within the platform (LinkedIn Pulse).
If you aren’t using LinkedIn to find your dream job, get started! Even applying for a position often prompts employers and recruiters to find you on LinkedIn.