LinkedIn has sparked a bit of a recruiting revolution. In addition to sifting through piles of resumes and scouring job boards for candidates, recruiters can draw straight from the LinkedIn employee pool—whether the candidate has expressed interest or not. This is great for recruiters when making job placements, and even better for the savvy LinkedIn user.
While LinkedIn makes the applicant’s role more passive, it also means that many more qualified applicants are being considered for a given position. However, there’s a lot you can do to make your profile attractive and engaging. Significantly more public and accessible, a LinkedIn profile is like a storefront that evolves with and showcases your brand. Here’s how to catch recruiters’ eyes as they shop around.
- Consider what you want. What job do you imagine yourself in? How would you like to be seen professionally? Think about the role you are looking for, and tailor your profile to that job. It is better to brand yourself for the job you want rather than the one you have. Why? Recruiters search for specific job titles when looking for applicants.
- Perfect your elevator pitch. Short enough to recite in an elevator ride, your elevator pitch should be pithy, potent, and express your skills and ambitions—without any hesitation. Your pitch (which belongs in the summary box on your profile) should convey how and why you’re a unique and valuable professional asset.
- Tell your story… and make it a pleasure to read. Don’t simply rely on a bulleted list of employment experience and accomplishments. Find continuity and cohesion in your professional history, and project your career trajectory into the future by subtly incorporating career goals. Use linking phrases between jobs, for example, “After getting my feet wet as an intern, I moved up to a full time position.” This will help recruiters visualize your past growth and imagine your potential.
- Don’t forget to include the facts. Unlike on a resume, there’s no need to worry about the length of your LinkedIn profile. While you shouldn’t wax poetic, don’t forget to incorporate actual, tangible achievements. Recruiters may find your profile via searchable keywords, but they’ll stay for an engaging description of a project you participated in.
- Build good recommendation karma. Every LinkedIn profile can benefit from recommendations. But how to get them? It’s certainly acceptable—if not required—to gently prod your satisfied clients, reminding them of the excellent services you rendered. However, it’s a good idea to sweeten the pot by writing thoughtful recommendations for others. If a client sees that you take the time to write recommendations, they are more likely to write one for you. After all, “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
- Let people know what you’re up to. Update your profile and status frequently with client wins, new recommendations or endorsements, product launches, and projects you’re involved in. Or, use your status to express interest in a new job or budding field. Actively participate in discussions and join groups. Recruiters look at this type of activity as evidence that you are keeping up to date on LinkedIn.
- Build connections. Take time to expand your network and keep it up to date. If a potential employer or recruiter sees that someone in their network recommended or endorsed you, it increases your credibility. Remember not to go overboard and add dozens of people in a day—your connections can tell and it seems impersonal. Always write a personalized note when inviting someone to connect.
- Use keywords. Optimizing your SEO puts you higher on recruiters’ radars. Recruiters often search for specific industry terms, so stud your profile with relevant keywords to increase your visibility.
- Make sure your settings invite recruiters to contact you. This is essential! Your contact settings should include career opportunities, consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries, and reference requests.
- Top it off with a professional photo. Use a picture that is both flattering and appropriate, preferably a professional headshot. As a rule of thumb, choose a photo where you are conservatively dressed—if you wouldn’t wear those clothes to an interview, it probably isn’t a good profile picture. Don’t forget to smile!
Keeping your LinkedIn profile accurate and up to date only takes an hour or two here and there. Incorporate it into your daily routine as you would with Twitter or Facebook, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time. After all, a well-kept LinkedIn profile makes recruiters’ jobs easier—and that’s one thing that will definitely catch their attention.