Having a LinkedIn profile is an easy way for people to find and learn more about you and your accomplishments. It’s possible to have a successful career without a profile but making yourself visible online and branding yourself on social media is going to make your journey just a bit easier. Let’s face it, LinkedIn is a form of social media and when you don’t keep updated accounts it reflects poorly on you – especially if you work in the industry. The time it takes to update your profile is always underestimated but it will definitely pay off once you’re looking for your next job and recruiters are actually reaching out to you. When vetting out potential candidates, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to do so and keeping your profile up to date makes you 18x more likely to be found by recruiters and members alike.
"Ultimately LinkedIn, like all social media, is about starting a conversation, so include profile elements that encourage that," Jennifer Fishberg told The Street, owner of Career Karma, which offers professional resume writing services to clients.
Here are five ways you can optimize your LinkedIn profiles to attract recruiters and new opportunities:
A good headline. You don’t always have to go the traditional route of just stating your role and where you work but try something more engaging. If you work with a particular niche, then be sure to say that. For example “Digital marketer helping small business owners with creative marketing execution”. This type of headline says what your title is, but also who you help and how you help them. You can also say where you are based and if you are currently looking for new opportunities, which will help targeting exactly what kinds of people and jobs might come your way.
Interesting summary. The summary section of your profile can either make you or break you. You want to holistically speak to all of your expertise and experience and also give some insight as to what your goals are and where you see yourself in the future. Your summary should give others an idea of who you are professionally and personally.
Here’s an example of a great profile summary, courtesy of LinkedIn:
Blog posts and other content. Even if you aren’t a writer, it’s nice to show that you are keeping up with industry trends and news and sharing them with your network. Make your profile stand out by writing a few posts on topics you are an expert and interested in, as another way to communicate your credibility to recruiters. Engagement on LinkedIn is an important factor in how you are viewed by other users, so make a point to share, like and congratulate others on new positions and articles. The content you create for you profile can speak to your skills before you ever send someone a sample of your work.
The perfect headshot. LinkedIn photos aren’t taken as seriously as they should be. Don’t use a photo of you out with friends, with someone else or even in a coat outside. Your profile picture should show how you look most of the time and also how you’d dress for a day at work. You don’t need to be wearing a suit but you shouldn’t be wearing something you wouldn’t wear to the office. Your headshot doesn’t have to be professionally done but it shouldn't be blurry or just be a cropped photo of you either.
Recommendations. The profiles of successful people that stand out the most have a good amount of recommendations, which adds to their credibility and demand. It’s perfectly fine to reach out to past bosses and coworkers and ask them for a recommendation. The fact that someone is willing to speak to your character professionally says a lot of about who you are and will make recruiters interested in getting to know you and what you have to offer. But not only do you want to receive plenty of recommendations but users can see how many you’ve written for others. Just be sure to never write an unsolicited recommendation with the expectation of one in return.
How do you use LinkedIn to expand your network and job opportunities?