I recently spoke to a friend who is fresh on the job search track, in the middle of a pandemic. She is understandably a little bit nervous. At first glance, it can look like everything we have learned about building connections, and landing that dream job, was just thrown out the window. On second glance, after we all take a deep breath, it’s important to evaluate the resources we have right in front of us.
Here are a few tips on how to take full advantage of LinkedIn and get yourself noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.
Profile & Header Photo- “A picture is worth a thousand words.”– Fred R. Barnard
We would all like to think that photos don’t matter, but LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and we are relying on digital-first impressions more than ever right now. Statistics show that LinkedIn accounts with profile photos get 21x the amount of views as accounts with no photo. I know it is tempting to highlight your latest salmon catch on the river, or how much you love your dog, but unless you are applying for work in marine or veterinary science, this kind of photo can throw a recruiter off pretty quickly. There is no need for fan blown hair, or even business clothes, but a shoulder-up photo, in a non-distracting environment with a sincere smile, will work wonders.
For your header photo, you can get creative with a favorite quote or royalty-free image, as long as the photo is high quality and work appropriate. Nothing looks worse than a pixelated, out of focus header photo at the top of a profile. Use a website like Unsplash.com for some fun options!
Headline –Write a headline that highlights you
Your LinkedIn headline appears right next to your profile photo before anyone has clicked into your profile page. When a recruiter is scrolling through a list of hundreds of candidates, your headline can be make-or-break on whether they click the mouse or keep scrolling. The default setting of LinkedIn is your job title as a headline, but you do not want to be seen as someone who settles for default! You want to be known as a candidate that puts thought into their work and makes that extra effort. It is also important to note that a job title may have different meanings depending on the industry you work in.
Like most aspects on this list, it is up to you to find that balance between professionalism and reflecting who you are and your passions. Find some great inspiration for your headline here.
About Me- Write a short and sweet “About Me” section
This is one of the only places in your profile where you get to dive into your experience, your passion, and your story in your own words. What makes you unique? What drives you? What accomplishments are you proud of? What is your work philosophy? If you are looking for a job, what kind of work are you looking for?
Recruiters are searching for people after having long conversations with clients about their ideal candidate. For example, if I was searching for a Sales Manager with experience in training teams and facilitating employee growth, reading about that passion for leadership in the About Me section of a profile would immediately pique my interest and let me know that the candidate has the experience my client is looking for. Find some inspiration for your About Me here.
Features- Show the receipts for all that you have accomplished
Was your business featured in the local news? Were you interviewed in a podcast about your field? Did you design a cool website, develop a product, or write a think piece you are proud of? Do you have a passion project that shows off your work ethic and unique talent? The Features section of LinkedIn is a fantastic area to showcase your accomplishments in an interactive way and set you apart from the crowd.
Maybe you are not a published writer, but you like to write about your professional field and publish it to your LinkedIn Network. The Features section also allows you to feature your own LinkedIn essays!
Resume- The bread and butter of your profile
With just a little bit of research into keywords and formatting for your industry and skillset, you will be sure to impress an employer. Ask any recruiter out there, and they could write you a novel on how to improve your resume, so I’ll leave you with just a few main points:
- Make sure the dates on your formal resume line up with the dates on your LinkedIn profile resume. Mistakes on dates can be potential red flags and make you look like your hiding something.
- Avoid just saying what you did- talk about the processes you improved and describe what you accomplished.
- Really think about the titles you give yourself. If you founded a company and you are the only employee- be proud of your accomplishments, but maybe avoid taking the title of “CEO”. If you run your own creative studio, but you are not managing a creative team, you are probably not considered a “Creative Director.” This can be misleading to a recruiter and take attention away from the great things on your resume.
- If you contracted for a few months, or worked with a temp agency at various jobs for an extended period- no problem! Just make that information is clear to whoever is reading your resume. You do not want a recruiter to think you can only hold a job for one month when really you were working a 1-month contract.
- Even when discussing a past role, emphasize the skills you are still currently using. You should not have to dive into the specifics of your real estate job if you are now a graphic designer looking for design work.
- There is no need to go further back than 15 years in your job experience. It’s okay, we will not assume you were unemployed before 2005.
Interact with people in your professional network. Like, share, and comment on posts you relate to or feel are relevant to your work passions. Show recruiters that you are active and engaged with the world around you, and open to building connections. Just remember that you are engaging in a professional social media platform, and what you say on LinkedIn can have a direct impact on your personal and professional brand. You never know what connection may get you your next introduction or job interview!
Best of luck in your profile building and future job searching! If you have some LinkedIn tips or tricks, let us know in the comments below.
Written by Alexandra Niedzialkowski