Job seekers are known to stop at nothing in their efforts to secure a job. However, most of them tend to underestimate the value of social media. In contemporary times, recruiters are actively using social media to sieve through the many job seekers who are on the market.
The most popular and preferred site is LinkedIn. Recruiters are constantly searching its database for candidates that meet the specific criteria and qualifications that they are looking for. It saves them time and it keeps their own profiles active as they often find like-minded people or valuable connections along the way.
So, if you’re a job seeker and you’re not already on LinkedIn, what are you waiting for?
The secret to being successful on LinkedIn is making your profile visible and having it show up consistently in almost every search result for people with a specific set of qualifications.
You need to understand that you’re just one among many LinkedIn users, hence, your profile needs to stand out. In addition, if there are many candidates with the same set of qualification as you, your profile needs to rank higher than the others by utilizing LinkedIn search optimization for you to catch the eyes of recruiters and job hunters.
In light of the above, this blog post will offer some vital LinkedIn profile tips that you can use in order to achieve career success and land a great job.
1. Complete your profile
A complete profile has a better chance of being found by recruiters compared to an incomplete one. Don’t slack off in filling out each and every section of your profile. Once a recruiter has decided to click on your profile, he/she expects to see:
- Your skills
- Your work experience
- What people think of you
Incomplete profiles are unappealing to recruiters since you’re not meeting their expectations right from the get-go. It sets you off on the wrong foot. In fact, most recruiters openly dislike such profiles, and that’s why your chances of getting the job diminish.
The good thing, though, is that LinkedIn gives you a measure of the completeness of your profile. So you will know how much more you need to add to build your profile to 100%. LinkedIn even provides guidelines on how to improve your profile so there really are no excuses for having an incomplete one.
2. Upload a great photo
Photos are quite important to LinkedIn profiles. Remember, this is a virtual platform. The only sure thing that a recruiter has to connect with you is a photo.
If you’re active on Instagram or taking selfies is your kind of thing, then you won’t have any qualms about taking photos. However, if you’re camera shy, then it’s time to shed this shyness. Take the best photo you can, but remember, it should be appropriate and professional (i.e., not a selfie!).
Outsource the task to a professional or visually-talented friend if you aren’t confident about taking it yourself.
3. Customize your URL
LinkedIn profiles have URLs that almost look like the binary codes of a whole computer software. When you post such an URL, it doesn’t look appealing as when you edit it and create your own custom URL.
Most people choose to put their names on the URL (linkedin.com/name). It’s so much more appealing this way.
To get a custom URL, simply go to the ‘Edit Profile’ screen. You’ll find it on the window that shows your basic information. There, you’ll see ‘Public Profile URL’. Click on ‘Edit’ and put in your preferred address. After you’re done, click ‘Set Custom URL’ and voila, you have your own customized URL!
4. Write a captivating headline
Headlines are the first thing that recruiters see and therefore the first thing they notice about your profile. Therefore ensure yours is compelling and contains specific details that relate to your job function and industry. You can add in a distinct value proposition and selected details to give you an edge over your competition.
Specificity is key. Sometimes recruiters may actually land on your profile through search engines like Google. The search engines typically capture your headline and will also include your location and your LinkedIn profile in the search results so this is another reason to make your headline stand out.
Here are some headline options you can use for inspiration:
- Finance manager/Analytical/With strong acumen in corporate financial management
- Social media strategist providing brands with the visibility needed in the online space
- Marketing expert with a passion for technology and creating winning marketing campaigns
- Sales manager with a non-stop drive to increase sales and profitability
- Aspiring online marketer who lives and breathes digital media
5. Have glowing recommendations
A while back, LinkedIn used to have a requirement where a complete profile would have a minimum of three recommendations. It’s not mandatory now, but it still remains a good practice.
There are a variety of people who can recommend you: from top management and work colleagues; to suppliers and customers. Candidates with profiles that have recommendations always have a higher chance of success.
6. Have numerous endorsements
There’s nothing better than being endorsed by people in your professional LinkedIn network. It’s like your buddies telling you they’ve got your back.
Endorsements will help you get recognized for possessing certain skills. For example, let’s say you have more than 200 endorsements for Tax Advisory. When a recruiter searches for people that have tax advisory skills, your profile is most likely to come up top in the search results. Therefore, the more endorsements you have, the greater your chance of success.
7. Utilize LinkedIn SEO
It’s important to optimize your profile in such a way that you can easily be found by recruiters. To do this effectively, you must identify certain keywords and industry terms that you would want your profile to be associated with.
Add these keywords to your:
- Job title
- Career experience
- Personal interests
- Key achievements
Doing this ensures that whenever a person searches any of the words that you want to be associated with (keywords), your profile will appear in the search results. You can also use LinkedIn profile writing services if you need some help in this regard.
8. Cut down on jargon
You might be well versed in law, you might be an authority in astrophysics, or you might be an IT guru. However, you shouldn’t let it get to your head and fill your LinkedIn profile with jargon.
If you’re looking for a job, the last thing a recruiter would want is to have a dictionary on the side while reading your profile description. Use simple and clear language, preferably that which is used in normal day-to-day conversations.
The use of jargon only makes you appear like a show-off. It pushes the recruiters away, rather than draws them closer, which is bad news for your job prospects.
9. Update your status regularly
LinkedIn is a social platform just like Twitter and Facebook. You have the option of updating your status and also partaking in feed-based activities in order to remain active on the platform.
Such activities include: posting a new article, sharing interesting articles that you may have read elsewhere on the web, liking, commenting and re-sharing.
The premise here is to make your network aware that you are active. To best achieve this, make a point of updating your status at least twice a week.
10. Link your blog to LinkedIn
If you have a blog on WordPress and haven’t linked it to your LinkedIn profile, it’s time that you did.
Doing so provides unlimited opportunities to showcase your work to prospects. It also makes your profile appear more interesting to anyone who clicks on it.
To link up your blog, simply go to the main navigation bar of LinkedIn and click on ‘Applications’. There will be a WordPress application option. This is where you enter the link to your feed and your blog will appear.
11. Don’t add just anyone
You should only add those people you know or can be of use to you and your career goals. LinkedIn has a mechanism that checks if all the people in your network actually know you. If the majority say that they do not know you, then you’re doomed. Your profile might actually get closed down. Therefore, just add those people you truly know.
12. Search for jobs discreetly
It’s common practice for people to carry out their job searches while still being employed elsewhere. But it’s not a good look to your current or future employer that you openly show that you’re looking for greener pastures.
LinkedIn allows you to tweak your privacy settings, so make good use of this feature! There are ways you can tailor the settings of your profile to make your job search efforts discreet. The last thing you want to do is show your boss that you’re actively looking for a job elsewhere by increasing your activity on LinkedIn.
For instance, if you are:
- Connecting with known recruiters
- Connecting with a big number of people in a short period of time
- Revamping your profile
They might get tipped off. And again, this is not a good look.
13. Tell people how they can reach you
This is essential to LinkedIn profile success. You might impress a recruiter or just about any other party that clicks on your profile, but what’s the point if no one knows how to contact you?
Surprisingly, a lot of people leave basic contact details out of their profiles.
You obviously shouldn’t write down your home address, but make sure you leave some form of identifying information on your profile for further correspondence. This could be anything from your email address, your blog URL, your Twitter handle, your Facebook profile, or even your personal phone number.
14. Showcase your projects
If your career has involved a lot of projects then, by all means, add a few samples of those projects to your profile.
You can even create a dedicated ‘Projects’ section on your profile. It will enable you to add a URL to the topic of your project. When second and third parties click on it, they will be redirected to your project website.
Indeed, there is no better way to show that you’re competent than by showing recruiters your actual projects in your current position or even in a previous position that you held.
15. Be a joiner
Just like in school where you were encouraged to join groups, clubs and societies to meet people and make connections, the same principle applies in the professional world. When you associate yourself with various groups, especially those that relate to your industry or niche, your profile automatically gets noticed by many people out there.
LinkedIn actually offers a guarantee that if you join active groups, your profile gets more visibility. However, it’s not just about joining groups. You need to actively participate in these groups. While you’re at it, understand that these groups are not a platform to push your individual agenda but the group’s collective agenda.
16. Be creative
Sometimes, all it takes to capture the minds and attention of recruiters is a little bit of creativity. Think about it – they sift through so many resumes. Being mainstream is boring. So when you’re writing your profile, avoid being too plain.
Use some visual cues, and add some bullets and symbols. However, don’t go too crazy, and don’t put random gothic symbols even if you’re a diehard rock fan! Maintain professionalism at all times, so you don’t make your personal brand seem like a cheap one.
17. Be warm and enthusiastic
In life, the first impression is the most important one that you get. Whether it be on a first date, an all-important interview or during a social event, how you present yourself and what kind of impression you leave will linger in the minds of the people present.
It will shape the perceptions of everyone about you. With this in mind, you should make sure that your profile has an element of warmth and enthusiasm. Get personal. Be friendly. If you do this, you’re sure to leave a positive imprint on the mind of any reader of your profile.
18. Avoid exaggerations
Don’t say you can create computer programs from scratch when the only thing you know is booting up your laptop. Don’t say you can drive a truck while the only thing you can actually drive is a motorcycle. Exaggerations will always work against you in the long run when looking for lasting work!
19. Avoid writing in the third person
Your LinkedIn profile summary should sound as if you’re the one speaking to the person reading it. It shouldn’t be written as if you’re narrating your own life – that just sounds pretentious. Worse yet, it just comes off as flat.
20. Check on discrepancies
Recruiters are always on the lookout for discrepancies in the information you give them. If you have a downloadable resume on your website that lists slightly different details of employment to your LinkedIn profile, look out.
Avoid all lies, white lies and ‘stretched’ truths. Ensure that all your details of employment including dates, positions held and any other relevant information are correct.
At the end of the day, the most likely candidates to be chosen for a specific job are the ones who actually love and seem excited by what they do. If you ransack through LinkedIn at any given time on any given day, you will find that there is no shortage of qualified people for a specific position. But do they all love what they do?
Make yourself a cheerleader for your industry, and for your colleagues. That way, you’ll not only get attention, you’ll get respect (and job offers) too.
Guest Author: Charles is a career mentor, motivational speaker and human resources consultant with over 10 years of experience in the HR sector. Apart from career mentoring, he loves photography and football. Find him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook & Google+.