According to LinkedIn research, LinkedIn users who have complete and detailed personal profiles are 40x more likely to receive approaches about new opportunities. Interestingly, LinkedIn’s search algorithm works off the basis of fully completed profiles – that means that if your profiles is 100% complete, you’ll have the best chance of featuring at the very top of a recruiter’s search for candidates with your skills and experience. For those of you who haven’t completed your LinkedIn profile, you’re likely to be completely invisible to recruiters when they search for people with similar skillsets to you.
I’ve pulled together some of our top tips to ensure your LinkedIn profiles stands out from the crowd and puts you in a strong position to encourage proactive contact.
Despite your headline only being 120 characters, surprisingly, it’s one of the most important things about your LinkedIn profile. It is the first thing that people will see when reviewing your profile, so it needs to be a headline grabbing headline! Include key words and terms relevant to your industry to allow others to more easily identify who you are and what you do.
Add your industry and location to your profile to make you visible and more readily searchable.
Consider customising the LinkedIn URL to allow others to find you more easily. Typically, LinkedIn assigns you a URL which includes your name and a jumble of numbers. Try and change this to a URL that just include your first and last name. If this is already taken, try something different by adding in your middle name or middle initial, or using a shortened version of your name.
This is a really important one. Your profile photo goes a long way to telling someone a little about who you are. The photo should be relevant to the industry to which you wish to apply. Make sure it’s a headshot, the more professional looking the photo the better, and use a good quality photograph – the more appropriate the photo, the better the impression you make on a prospective employer. What I would say is to make sure you portray a true version of yourself.
This is your chance to give the reader a clear indication of who you are, a bit about your background, skills, experience and to show off a little more of your personality. You only have 2000 characters so keeping it short and sweet is advisable. You might choose to write a little about your job history to date and your career ambitions, you might like to showcase some awards, accolades or qualifications you have gained or perhaps you want to provide people with visual representations of your achievements, in the form of videos, photos, podcasts, blogs or presentations. Adding this sort of media can certainly improve your credibility, assuming it’s relevant to your industry and the path you wish to take.
If you are searching for a new job, remember to use key words and phrases that are relevant and noticeable to people in the wider market. Remember, prospective employers will be searching for specific skills and experience so it’s worth looking at a few job descriptions in the types of roles you are looking to move into so that you can make sure you’re using similar words and language.
Towards the end of your summary, it may also be worth adding any additional contact details like email address, mobile number of even your Twitter handle and website (if relevant).
When it comes to summarising your job history, be specific about your achievements in each role – give details of your sales figures, information about the budgets you have managed, include the size of the projects you’ve led, the number of people you have managed and any awards you have received. Keep it succinct and supplement your text with additional content including slides, videos, or presentations that showcase your experience in a more visual way.
Whilst it becomes less relevant for mid and senior level professionals, it is still worth including your university degree (if relevant) at a minimum, or any additional tertiary education you have achieved. By including your place of education and your degree subject it will allow you to make connections with other alumni and might even provide a talking point for someone wishing to contact you.
In order to make best use of your LinkedIn profile, we would suggest that you proactively network within your industry: make connections with your work colleagues, ex-colleagues, clients and customers but also don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your area of interest or expertise.
Receiving written recommendations from peers, managers, team members and clients is an excellent way of showcasing your credibility and skills in your chosen area of expertise. A modern day reference, these are viewed by many recruiters as a reliable source of additional information to validate not your experience and your character.
Whilst making sure your profile is up to date, relevant and a true reflection of your achievements to date it’s also important to consider your general activity levels on LinkedIn. If you are actively looking for a role, you’ll need a combination of a strong LinkedIn profile and active participation across the LinkedIn network. Be sure to share and comment on interesting content and actively participate in relevant industry groups. The more active you are, the more you will be viewed as someone who is well informed, has opinions about their industry and who is seen as a thought leader.
One final consideration: make sure you are visible to the external market – check your privacy settings to ensure recruiters are able to find you in a Google search.