Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or just keeping your career options open, it’s essential to have a stand-out LinkedIn profile. From searching for accounting and finance positions to finding roles in sales, engineering, or IT, polishing up your LinkedIn presence is a pre-requisite to embarking on a job search in today’s digital hiring landscape.
Nearly 90 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a tool for candidate sourcing. If you’re not on LinkedIn or haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in several years, you’re missing out on networking and career opportunities. Get the most out of LinkedIn by optimizing your job search with these 8 LinkedIn profile tips.
1. Get Your Profile to All-Star Status
To optimize your LinkedIn profile, make sure all sections, including your recommendations and endorsements, are as complete as possible. LinkedIn makes this easy; on your profile, below your summary, you will see if you have what LinkedIn calls an “All-Star Profile.” If you don’t, LinkedIn will guide you through the process of adding to your profile until you do.
LinkedIn shares that people with All-Star Profiles are 40 times more likely to get contacted by recruiters than people without, so be sure to follow the recommendations.
2. Leverage Your Headline and Career Summary
Though your resume and LinkedIn profile overlap in several areas – education, work history, and skills – a key differentiator is your headline and summary. These sections are the most searched for and reviewed by recruiters and hiring managers.
On a traditional resume, page space often limits what you can say; however, on your LinkedIn summary, your story-telling space is ample – 2000 characters. Tell your career story by including explanations of your career history, changes, and aspirations. Why did you choose the previous roles or companies? What are you looking for next? For instance, did you move into sales after working as a software engineer? Are you an experienced financial accountant looking to transition into management? To increase how often your profile appears in recruiters’ searches, incorporate relevant keywords common in your line of work.
Unless you change it, your headline defaults to your current job title. This is, however, fully editable. Your headline will appear in recruiters’ search results, so you want to make sure it stands out. You have precisely 120 characters for your headline; make each one count. Unless you are an engineer at Google or Facebook, you don’t need to list your current employer. A better use of this space is to use relevant, descriptive keywords.
Poor Headline: Accountant for Nelson Jobs
Strong Headline: Senior-level accountant specializing in finance accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and financial controls
3. Loosen Up
Differentiate your resume from your LinkedIn profile by adopting a conversational rather than formal writing tone on LinkedIn. Though you want to avoid being too casual – LinkedIn still isn’t Snapchat, after all – you can lose the stuffiness associated with resumes by writing closer to the way you talk and avoiding overused clichés or buzzwords.
Striking the balance between promoting your skills and presenting yourself in a relaxed, engaging manner can be tricky. Have a professional friend proofread your profile to see if your tone is right. If not, consider hiring a professional resume writer or career coach to assist with this task.
4. Build up Your Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations
For the best chance of being found by recruiters, beef up your LinkedIn skills section and request endorsements. A complete skills section can boost your search ranking, so add suggested keywords even if they are similar to skills you already have to appear in as many searches as possible. For example, if you are in sales, add account management, relationship building, lead generation, sales management, outside sales, inside sales, team leadership, management, etc. You are permitted to have up to 50 separate skills in this section, and LinkedIn assists you by suggesting related keywords.
The best way to get others to endorse your skills or to write a recommendation is to ask. Reach out to your colleagues and ask them to help! Be sure to offer endorsements and/or recommendations in return. If you’re uncomfortable asking, start by endorsing their skills. Be selective; only endorse a person for 2-3 skills you know are strengths of the person being endorsed. Endorsements can go an extra long way if a hiring manager or recruiter has a mutual connection that has endorsed your skills.
5. Actively Expand Your Network
Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a “LinkedIn resume.” It shows how well-connected you are. An important LinkedIn tip is to reach out and connect with others, including recruiters. LinkedIn prioritizes search results by displaying how people are connected to the person searching. By connecting to more people, you will have more 1st or 2nd connections and appear in more searches, increasing your odds of building a trusted relationship with a prospective hiring manager or recruiter.
Another good way to build rapport and expand your network is to join industry-specific Groups. Whether you’re looking for engineering and tech jobs, accounting and finance jobs, or sales and marketing positions, there are specific LinkedIn Groups you can join to network with others in your field. To get the most out of Groups:
- Make sure Groups you join are still active. LinkedIn Groups aren’t as popular as they once were, so don’t spend time on groups that don’t have active discussions and members.
- Focus on the value you can give rather than what you can get. By giving advice or serving as a resource to others looking to make connections, you increase the chances someone else will help you when you need a favor, too!
- Message Group members directly. If you’re in the same Group as someone, you can message them directly even if they’re not a connection. Use this feature to build your network further.
6. Verify Your Settings
If you want your profile to be public and searchable by anyone, adjust your privacy settings accordingly. By using this LinkedIn tip, you allow recruiters and others who aren’t in your network to contact you. You may, however, receive unsolicited offers, so be prepared to handle those graciously. LinkedIn walks you through your settings, privacy, and visibility in their “help” section.
7. Claim Your Custom URL
Once you’ve created this custom URL, be sure to link to it wherever possible. Add it to your email signature or portfolio page, or provide it in your bio for events you attend or speak at. This will help your profile become more searchable both within LinkedIn and through Google. When a hiring manager searches for you by name and finds that your LinkedIn profile shows up near the top of Google, it will add to the positive perception of your personal brand.
8. Stay Active
The more active and engaged you are on the “professionals’ social media platform,” the better your presence becomes. Like and comment on others’ articles and posts. Share posts that are relevant to your industry or profession. Publish an article to share your knowledge and gain contacts organically while developing your own professional thought leadership brand. Another good way to get more engagement is to ask a thought-provoking, timely question about an article, resource, or trend.
Not only does staying active put your name in front of more people, it also helps LinkedIn and search engines understand that your profile is authoritative. This will help increase how often your profile appears in searches.
Follow these LinkedIn profile tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile and best position yourself for your job search. While it should not be the only tool you use in your job search, LinkedIn can certainly play a valuable role in increasing your opportunities and helping you make a great impression.