Tips to improve your LinkedIn profile, from emphasizing promotions to adding keywords.
COVID-19 has single-handedly brought years of economic growth to a crumble. Unemployment rates have hit record highs and offices are adjusting to full remote functioning. Consequently, the job market has made the shift from a candidate to a client market, leading many professionals around the world to dust off and update their resumes.
As candidate pools become increasingly saturated, it takes more to stand out in a crowd. The traditional resume is and will continue to be a recruitment staple but as recruitment and technology have evolved there are numerous other ways to show your experience. In particular, many professionals fail to realize the value a LinkedIn profile can be in a search. As a recruiter, I have seen thousands of LinkedIn profiles and it has become clear which ones catch my eye. Successful profiles follow one similar theme: they're an extension of a resume, which helps the right people find your profile at the right time. According to a 2020 study, 122 million users have been invited to an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million getting a job through someone with whom they are connected. To make things easier I have highlighted some of my top tips below.
This feature can be a small but mighty aid in your job search. Turning on the “Open to Work” feature not only lets recruiters know that you are actively looking for new roles, but helps to give them insight into the details of what you want in that next role. Details about your location preferences, job titles and work environment makes it more likely you will connect with a recruiter.
When starting a job search it is also important to make sure your privacy settings are up to date. Many active job seekers don’t realize their settings prohibit recruiters from being able to connect, message or see their profile. You can customize settings to keep personal emails or location private but still allow a recruiter to reach out.
One of the first things a recruiter looks for on your LinkedIn profile is career journey. Making sure you portray an accurate and up to date trajectory is of utmost importance. Below are 2 examples of how one could show their current experience.
As you can see, Version 2 shows a more holistic view. The first version could give the recruiter an inaccurate portrayal of your growth and drive. One exception here is if you are at a company where your title stays the same but you move to a different account or brand. To show this transition, it is best to detail it in the job description vs creating a new role.
Additionally, it’s important to be honest about bumps in the road on your career journey. No one is perfect and even if you have been demoted or switched jobs quickly it is important to get that out in the open early in the process rather than later when a potential hiring manager might think it shows dishonesty.
Lastly, it's important to clear up any irrelevant past experiences. While your job as a server in high school might have helped you learn key communication skills it can skew your “years of experience” in the recruiter algorithm and you’ll be less likely to show up in searches that align with your experience level - which lowers your chances of having a recruiter reach out to you.
The summary section on LinkedIn is easily one of the most underutilized tools on the platform. I think the idea of trying to summarize your whole career can seem daunting. In a world where job titles align less between companies, your summary is a chance to paint a picture of the past, present and future of your career. Instead of thinking of it as a summary think about it as a highlight section. Have you or are you looking to switch functions or industries in your next move? Explain the skills you already have or want to learn and try to get personality across to the viewer. Of course hiring managers want candidates who have the technical skills, but they are also looking for people who are passionate about what they are doing!
While it is important to add some pizzazz, recruiters will also be on the lookout for more specific metrics, accomplishments, and disciplines. Try to stay away from using universal buzzwords (innovation, creative etc.) and highlight specific examples and business results that showcase your skills.
LinkedIn Recruiter has a search engine which consequently makes keywords one of the most important things to get right when updating your profile. One way to figure out the best keywords to use is to do some research on jobs that you are applying to. What skills and words are used in the Job Description of ideal next positions? There is a good chance they are the same as what the recruiter is focusing on and makes it easier for them to find you and get in contact.
Additionally, LinkedIn differs from your resume in that you have the ability to add different forms of media to your profile. Link various articles, decks or campaigns that you've been a part of for hiring managers and recruiters to see your skills in action. Don’t be afraid to brag a little and highlight all of the innovative and exciting things that you have done. Interact, share and comment on content that excites and resonates with you. All of these things help to keep your engagement up and increase the likelihood of connecting you to the right people.
If you're still looking for ways to enhance your LinkedIn profile, don't fret! Try reaching out to some peers, supervisors or other colleagues from your past and ask them to write a recommendation for you. The endorsement section is often overlooked, so providing up-to-date recommendations can give recruiters a clearer picture of who you are as a candidate.
Also, make sure you do your research on your target companies. Follow their LinkedIn pages, connect with senior leaders, and preview their content. The more you know the better.
LinkedIn reports that they have over 690M members - this makes it one of the best ways to connect and expand your professional network and job search. So go ahead right now, hop on LinkedIn and check the following:
While these tips just scratch the surface of LinkedIn’s potential, if you answered yes to the above, then you are off to a great start to landing your dream job or finding new professional connections that can expand your network. If you’d like any further information on how to make your profile pop, feel free to email me any questions or comments - don't hesitate to reach out!
Tips and best practices to do right by our candidates, because experience matters.