If you’re reading this, chances are you use LinkedIn on a regular basis. LinkedIn is an incredible resource for business networking, and it’s become the go-to place for recruiters. If you’re looking to advance in your career, getting recruiters and hiring managers to notice you is the first step. Check out the following LinkedIn profile tips to help you get on a recruiter’s radar.
1. Choose an appropriate profile pic
LinkedIn is the professional social network, so it should go without saying that selfies are a no-go. When recruiters and hiring managers search for candidates on LinkedIn, the profile picture is often the first thing they see. Having a quality headshot can be the deciding factor on whether or not they click on your profile. If you don’t have a professional headshot, another great option is a picture of you working (but make sure your face is clear).
2. Write an awesome summary
When someone looks at your profile, your summary is usually the first section they read. A lot of people leave this section blank, but as a job seeker you can’t afford to skip it. This is your chance to sell yourself, an opportunity to tell the world what you have to offer. But on top of that, your summary is a great place to add specific keywords related to your field or desired job. Most recruiters will search for certain keywords when looking for candidates, so take advantage of the summary to get on their radar.
3. Use a custom URL
When you first sign up for LinkedIn, they usually assign you a nasty url with letters and numbers. But it doesn’t need to remain that way. If you haven’t changed this yet, go into your settings and create a custom public URL. Ideally this is the formula you should use (http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname), but if your name is taken you can add a number or middle initial to make it unique.
4. Update your current job title
It’s really not a good idea to put “seeking new employment” where you would normally put your current job title. It’s great to be upfront, but most recruiters are looking for candidates who are currently successful in their field. If you’re unemployed, don’t worry. You can simply put the position you’re looking for as your current title (ex. Public Relations Specialist).
5. Add a background photo
Adding a background photo is a great way to show off your personality. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure your photo is appropriate for your audience. If you have quality photos of yourself at work, they can be great for your LinkedIn profile background. Otherwise free sites like Unsplash and StockSnap have great varieties of royalty free business stock photos you can use.
6. Receive recommendations
When someone reads through your profile, one of the things that will stand out the most are quality recommendations from coworkers and managers. When recruiters look at your profile, they’re trying to decide whether you will be a good fit for their position. What better way to increase your chances by including praise and compliments from a former boss? And if you don’t have any recommendations, it’s completely normal to ask. Make it a habit of asking for a recommendation each month. Nine times out of ten your connections will be happy to help you out.
7. Add skills
It’s likely your desired job requires a specific set of skills and knowledge, so be sure to include those in your skills section – don’t leave it blank! By including relevant skills, you’ll also have a better chance of showing up in the recruiter’s search. LinkedIn lets you add up to 50, so take advantage of them.
8. Ask for endorsements
Skills are great to have, but by themselves won’t help you much. Skill endorsements are vital in proving to a hiring manager that your skills are real and proven. If you don’t have many skill endorsements, ask your current and past coworkers to endorse your skills. Start the conversation by endorsing them for some of their skills, and often times they’ll reciprocate without being asked.
9. Have at least 500 connections
On your public profile, LinkedIn only shows how many connections you have up to 500. After that the visible number won’t change. Most serious LinkedIn users have at least 500 connections, so make sure you’re no different. A low number can show you’re not very well connected or even that you’re not serious about finding a position. If you have less than 500, start inviting former and current colleagues, and always send a personal message in the invitation. If you start brainstorming between colleagues, friends, and classmates, you should be able to reach 500 in no time.
10. Get rid of the grammar errors
Little things often make a huge difference. For example, if you current job title is “sales executive” instead of “Sales Executive,” your level of perceived professionalism will drop. Small mistakes in grammar and punctuation can be the reason why a recruiter passes on your profile. Make sure you consistently check for spelling mistakes, especially whenever you add new information. One of the best things you can do is ask a friend or colleague to look it over. Oftentimes they’ll see something you missed.
11. Include appropriate employment history
It’s important to include all relevant work history, and exclude things that could potentially be a distraction. For a general rule of thumb, include all recent work history, and include everything that could be considered valuable by a prospective employer. If the position helped you get to where you are now, you should probably include it. But be selective – including your first job as a babysitter probably isn’t going to help you.
12. Join groups
If you aren’t in at least a few groups related to your field, you’re missing out. Groups are a great way to increase your network by connecting with like-minded individuals, and they’re a great source of industry information. You can use groups to start conversations with industry leaders and potential employers. Plus, being in the same group a someone else will help you show up on their searches. If you haven’t tried LinkedIn groups yet, start by joining a couple groups relevant to your career and see what they have to offer.
13. Add work samples, projects and media
One of the greatest things you can do to keep people looking at your profile is to add media. This is obviously much easier for someone in a field like graphic design, but in any field you should be able to find something you can share with your network. It could be a paper, presentation, pictures, or anything else that is a concrete example of what you’ve done. This media adds color to your profile and helps validate your experience and skills.
14. Turn off profile change updates
By default, every single change your make on your profile gets published to your entire network. This can be great when you start a new job or when you add new skills, but you need to be selective about what you share. No one needs to know every time you make small grammatical changes in your employment history. It’s not helpful and it can be annoying. When editing your profile, make sure to turn off updates for profile changes. You can always turn it back on when you have something important to share.
15. Add certifications and courses
Do you have any certifications in your field? Have you taken any special courses to update your skills? If so, those are great things to include in your profile. Not only do they reinforce the skills already listed, but they show hiring managers you’re serious about your career and that you want to continue learning. If you don’t have anything to include, now might be a great time to consider taking an online course or certification!
16. Be in the correct industry
This may sound obvious, but if you’re looking for a job in advertising, make sure “Marketing and Advertising” is listed as your industry. Recruiters and hiring managers often search within industries, so by having the wrong one you could be auto eliminating yourself from being considered. A lot of careers have multiple options, so just make sure to choose the one that’s closest to what you do.
17. Update your contact info
Make sure your contact info is up to date. Under “contact info” on your LinkedIn profile, you have the opportunity to include everything from a phone number to a personal website. Make sure to include all profiles and links that you might want a recruiter to find. If they want to contact you, they’ll be looking at this section.
Have any LinkedIn profile tips you think we missed? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to add them to the list!