Most recruiters these days will take a look at your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you if your CV captures their eye and they’re interested in interviewing you.
They also often scan relevant profiles on LinkedIn to identify people they think might be a match for positions they are struggling to fill or don’t want to advertise.
A recent study on Global Recruiting Trends 2016 showed that 43% of recruiters use social professional networks as their key source of quality and 42% use internet job boards. As such, a clean, professional and presentable LinkedIn profile can be a major asset for developing your career. It can help you land that great job or expand your network for the future.
Here are key things we look out for when we’re evaluating job candidates’ LinkedIn profiles.
1. Keep your profile up-to-dateDon’t let your LinkedIn profile get dusty and out of date. Regularly update your experience, job titles, and career activity so that a prospective recruiter can easily see what you’re up to. Even if you’ve held the same job for a while, add a bit of info about your most recent projects and achievements to show that you’re busy and productive.
2. Highlight your strongest selling points in a prominent mannerA LinkedIn profile should be quite detailed, offering recruiters and business contacts an at-a-glance view of your education, experience, achievements, and your community engagements. But make sure that your most recent and important skills are easy to identify.
Take some time to polish your summary so that it really pops out and sells your strengths to the reader. And ensure that you use the right keywords in your summary and in your list of skills to make it easy for recruiters to find you when they’re searching for candidates with your profile.
3. Connect with people in your industryDon’t be shy on LinkedIn - connect with people in your industry. When you seek to connect with someone, add a polite, personalised note asking them to accept your invitation and explaining what (or who) you have in common.
4. Follow companies, publish content, and join relevant groupsThere are millions of profiles on LinkedIn, so you might need to do a bit work to get attention from the right people. Share relevant professional content, write short posts if you have the time, join industry groups and get involved in their discussions, and follow companies to raise your profile. Companies and groups often post job openings, which can be handy if you’re looking for new career opportunities.
5. Make your intentions knownLet the other LinkedIn users see what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a recruiter looking for talent in a certain field, post that information so interested parties can contact you.
1. Use an inappropriate photo or picture for your profileProfiles without photos don’t get much attention. You don’t necessarily need a professional portrait for LinkedIn, but you should look presentable in the picture you use.
Avoid photos taken in social settings, especially with a beer in your hand; also, don’t put up a pixelated picture, or use ones with distracting backgrounds. A recent head-and-shoulders, taken in your work clothes and with a smile on your face, will be perfect.
2. Rely on jargon or clichésDon’t get carried away with industry buzzwords or CV clichés when you talk about yourself. Even if you’re a dynamic problem-solver and team player with an inspirational management style, these words sound empty and insincere because of how overused they have become.
Rather show off your characteristics by talking about your achievements (“I helped Acme Corp. to develop a widget for a new market” rather than “I’m an out-of-the-box thinker”). Consider asking people you have worked with to write endorsements for you so that the boasts aren’t coming from your own mouth.
3. Fib or exaggerateThis should go without saying, but white lies and exaggerated claims on LinkedIn are effectively as bad as telling fibs on your CV. It’s so easy for someone to check up on your claims and you will be caught out.
4. Use LinkedIn as a social media siteYour profile should reflect your professional persona and not your child’s first steps or pictures from your holiday at the beach.
5. Have spelling errors in your profileTypos in your profile create an unprofessional impression. You will lose the recruiters interest if your spelling and grammar isn’t correct.
Heidi Duvenage is the Head of Department at Sage Talent Solutions.