In today’s technology-driven world, recruiters are turning to the internet to find top talent for their companies, rather than relying purely on resume submissions. Among social networking websites, LinkedIn is consistently cited as a top resource for talent recruiting and job searching.
In an April 2013 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, it was discovered that 77% of companies are now using social networking for recruiting and attracting new talent to their organizations. And of the 77% that use online networking resources, 94% use the online networking site LinkedIn. With these statistics, establishing and marketing yourself online through LinkedIn becomes a much more crucial step in landing your dream job.
However, it is not enough to simply go to LinkedIn and create a profile. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume, and it needs to be marketed and treated as such. Having a strong LinkedIn profile helps recruiters find you, and a positive first impression will increase your chance of being contacted by a recruiter.
8 TIPS ON IMPROVING YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
1. First Impressions – Photo and Headline:
First impressions are critical in any job search, so it is important that you also make a good first impression on your LinkedIn profile. When a search is performed on LinkedIn, the results show profile photos, along with each person’s headline. Start by uploading a professional-looking headshot. If you are looking for a professional job (e.g. Finance, Business, Law, etc.), make sure you are dressed appropriately. Follow by creating a headline that describes your current job or the job you are looking for. The default LinkedIn headline is simply: your job title at your company (e.g. Senior Financial Analyst at MyCompany). You could elaborate on this headline to make yourself stand out from the crowd, or simply to make yourself more searchable. For example, “Senior Financial Analyst managing $500M P&L Business at MyCompany” may differentiate you from all the other Senior Financial Analysts in a recruiter’s search results.
2. Privacy Settings – Contact Information:
When you sign up for LinkedIn, you are able to set your privacy settings to allow or block people from contacting you. Make sure recruiters are able to contact you! It also helps with search results if people outside of your immediate network are able to see details of your profile, to help recruiters gauge whether you’d be a good fit for the company and job.
Think of this section as your 30-second elevator pitch. This area of LinkedIn lets you quickly sell yourself without repeating everything in your resume. Make sure you incorporate key industry terms to help with search engine optimization (SEO). More on this in section 5.
4. Work Experience:
This is the section of LinkedIn where you list your work experience and brag about the accomplishments you’ve achieved in each of your jobs. Again, make sure to craft this section with key search words so that your profile comes up when a recruiter is searching for specific skills and qualifications on LinkedIn.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
This is a critical part to making your LinkedIn profile appear in recruiters’ search results! You need to make your profile searchable by incorporating key words throughout your profile. Not sure what key words are applicable for your job or industry? Look at relevant job postings and you should be able to pull out a few common themes. In the financial industry, for example, key words could be P&L, long range business planning, financial forecasting, etc. Search keywords needs to be customized for the job and industry you’re currently in (or are trying to get into).
6. Skills and Areas of Expertise:
This is another area of LinkedIn where search engine optimization (SEO) keywords come into play. With a recent LinkedIn upgrade, these skills can now be endorsed by anyone in your network. This could be a powerful tool to market yourself to recruiters. If a recruiter is looking for a Strategy Analyst in the aerospace industry and sees that you’ve been endorsed by your network for strategic analysis, marketing, leadership, and aerospace experience, it adds to your credibility.
7. Build your LinkedIn Network:
Now that you’ve established your profile, connect with people you know both professionally and personally through LinkedIn. Networking is an important part to any job search, and it is extremely helpful when you know someone who is working in a career you’re trying to break into, or is working at your dream company. Ask your LinkedIn network for advice and recommendations on how to approach your job search. You can also ask a colleague to put you in touch with one of his or her connections to help further your job search, or simply to answer questions you may have about a particular company or job.
8. Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements:
With a LinkedIn network established, you can now ask former coworkers, colleagues, and business partners for recommendations and endorsements. Strong recommendations will help add credibility to your profile and make you more attractive to potential recruiters. You can also endorse people you’ve worked well with in the past, and these recommendations will show up on their profiles once they approve them.
STAY ACTIVE ON LINKEDIN
Now that you’ve built and optimized your LinkedIn profile to be more accessible and searchable by recruiters, it is important to stay active on LinkedIn. This could range from adding new network contacts to posting relevant links to commenting on news articles. These steps can help further broaden your visibility in the LinkedIn network. And, most importantly, be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile relevant and current as you progress through your career.