With so many articles, tips and advice on crafting your LinkedIn profile, some might wonder – is LinkedIn really an important tool for transitioning in your career?
Not because Career Coaches and Branding Professionals like me say it is, research provides the numbers:
LinkedIn can be instrumental in your career progression, transition and trajectory. It allows you to broadcast your personal brand in the professional arena and cultivate a strong presence. If you can be found.
How Recruiters Use LinkedIn
Recruiters utilize LinkedIn to research candidates, companies and employees. Investigating companies and existing employees allows them to get a sense of the company culture in order to recruit the best possible candidate. With an effective profile, recruiters can identify candidates that fit their clients’ environment, expectations and value required.
Recruiters also leverage LinkedIn for networking as an ideal way to expand their network and build referral sources.
What Recruiters Want To See in Your LinkedIn Profile
Here are six vital areas that recruiters focus on when reviewing a profile. Having all six areas complete, in the most impactful way, demonstrates that you are worth their time and effort to research and contact.
1. A Complete Profile
A bone structure of a profile is not enough. It conveys to the reader that, although aware that this is a valuable tool, you do not care enough about your profile to leverage it. Not the message you want to send to someone who could help catapult your career.
To be considered a complete profile, you should be at All-Star Status.
For a quick reference on achieving this status, click here LinkedIn All Star Status Rocks – How To Reach It In 7 Steps.
Your photo should be professional, current and in line with your industry and position; or the position that you want.
For tips on capturing your best photo, click here: LinkedIn Profile Pictures – This is NOT Facebook
Recommendations are icing on the cake. What an easy and impactful way to reinforce your value. It is important that your recommendations support your selling statement and key points as a candidate.
To ensure your recommendations are working for you, click here: 5 Steps For LinkedIn Recommendations That Work For You
Being connected and active increases your LinkedIn SEO and demonstrates your level of commitment in your job search and industry. Connect with groups, thought leaders and the LinkedIn community answering questions, posting/sharing articles, endorsing members of your network and updating your profile when relevant.
The size of your network also can demonstrate your business savvy. The opinions vary; however, the general rule of thumb is under 50 connections and you are dipping your toe in the water; 50-100 connections you have a good starting point; 300-400 connections you are one savvy cat; over 500 connections, you rock.
Having an All Star status profile might get them to your page, now you need to give them something to read. Demonstrate your passion, engagement, effectiveness and value by doing three things:
✔ Using Action Words – throughout your summary and experience
✔ Demonstrate Value – tell how you do what you do rather than giving job descriptions
✔ Highlighting Accomplishments – give numbers when possible and feature the impact you made on an organization, team, position or client experience
Relevance is similar to results; however the difference is in building a history of trajectory or a case for transition into a new industry. Throughout your experience and within your summary, paint the picture of the path to where you are going next.
Tell the story in a way that builds from one position to the next highlighting your responsibilities, accomplishments, skills and abilities as natural progression. This is your story; tell it in a way that you want the reader to understand. They may not be able to see the correlation of how one job to the next was a benefit in your career progression – it is your job to tell them in way they can understand..
Additional tips and links to help you boost your profile and catch that recruiter’s eye:
1. Accurate Title. Your title should match what is used on your resume as a matter of integrity; you do not want to explain a made up title or one that cannot be verified.
2. Value Title. If you are in between jobs, guard against using, “Unemployed” “Seeking Opportunity” or listing current volunteer/nonprofit activity.
The volunteer activity as a job title could be misconstrued as you work for the organization. It also weakens your SEO by misaligning with your preferred industry/position, if unrelated.
Create a job title that would be similar to a headline if you held the position you desired. For example, incorporate the position: Inventory Manager with your value: Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction with industry: Health Care. Now you can put them all together as:
Inventory Manager Looking to Increase Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction in Health Care
3. Include Industry. Statistics indicate that profiles with an industry listed are 15 times more likely to be viewed as those without.
4. Keywords. Utilize keywords in your title, summary, experience and headline. Quick tip: use a space between keywords, for example: use sales / marketing instead of sales/marketing to ensure search engines recognize both words.
For a refresher on how and where to use keywords, click on this article: How & Where to Best Use Keywords for LinkedIn Profile SEO.
5. Completed Job History. Give accounts for your last three positions, if possible. These descriptions should not be a detailed career history or resume, rather they should be a highlight of your responsibilities, skills and expertise. Leverage the description as a conversation starter, not the full story.
6. Leverage White Space. These are humans reading your profile, make it easy and inviting for them to read. Use short paragraphs and think about – sparingly – using characters.
For a plethora of special character options for LinkedIn, click here: Character Limits & Special Characters For LinkedIn Profiles
7. Your Voice To Tell Your Story. Your story should demonstrate the value you bring to an organization and answer any potential questions. Write it as though you were sitting across from your audience and answering the question, “Tell me about yourself”.
For tips on finding and using your voice in your LinkedIn summary, click here: LinkedIn – Pick Your Voice & Stick With It
With the right profile, LinkedIn is a wonderful platform and strong partner in building your network, showcasing your brand and draws opportunities directly to you.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am a Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, sales teams, leadership and companies to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
In other words: I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about Career Polish and what we can do to help you.