Recruiters actively use LinkedIn to find superior talent. Many will review dozens of profiles a day. However, only about a third of job seekers are actively using LinkedIn, vastly limiting the number of potential employers they can reach.
Setting up a powerful LinkedIn profile is your first step in maximizing career opportunities. While it does take time, a properly formatted profile greatly improves the chances of recruiters finding you. The social media tool also gives you the ability to network within your industry, helping you find the best opportunities during your job search.
Here are seven basic building blocks to keep in mind when constructing your LinkedIn profile.
A picture says a thousand words
The first thing you need is a headshot photo. Profiles look incomplete without one, and they remind recruiters you're a person they can connect with, not merely a list of skills and experiences. A professional headshot looks nice, but it isn’t necessary. Try searching through your phone for a photo that clearly shows your face. Don’t try to crop yourself out of a group photo; you’ll most likely see a friend’s shoulder in your image. Unless you work as a bartender or DJ, you should also avoid a photo that was obviously taken at a bar or nightclub. If possible, use a photo that shows you in your natural work setting.
Ditch the weak link
When you create a LinkedIn account, the default link address will be an ugly string of numbers. However, you can customize your profile’s URL to something that’s easy to remember, such as www.linkedin.com/in/firstlast. Many employers ask for LinkedIn profiles during the application process, so give them something easy to type in and remember.
Make the headlines
A headline box is displayed directly under your name. Describe yourself in terms of the job you're seeking so it's obvious to recruiters you're the person they're looking for. Include any appropriate keywords for your industry. Make this area count; showcase anything to make you stand out and be found in search results.
The next section is the summary. This is where you make your case for yourself. There are a wide variety of approaches to this section depending on your industry, desired position and personal experiences. For example, an accountant might do well to keep things short and to the point with professional language. A writer, on the other hand, can be more personable and casual, reflecting the creative spark that is vital to the field. Keep this section to a brief paragraph, and be sure to include keywords. Remember, no one is going to sit and read through your profile like a novel. Recruiters and online search tools are just scanning for relevant buzzwords.
It’s important to note that this is not where you list your previous positions and employers. This is where you let readers get to know a little bit about you: your personality, background, goals and accomplishments.
A good experience
The experience section resembles a traditional resume. Each job has its own entry where you give the company name, your title and a description. While the title should reflect your role, try to phrase it in a way that's similar to the job you're currently seeking. Just as you did in the headline box, use industry keywords when applicable. This is another way for your profile to come up in recruiters' searches.
Extra! Read all about it!
There are a variety of extra sections which you can display if you choose. These cover things like languages spoken, awards won, volunteer experience, publications, patents and professional interests. Use these opportunities to include additional keywords to get your profile noticed. Make sure the information is relevant to the job you're seeking.
LinkedIn includes a private messaging function, although you can only use it if you have a paid account. You may want to provide additional methods of communication through the Advice for Contacting section, such as an email address or phone number.
A professional LinkedIn profile is a valuable investment in your ongoing job search. Providing relevant information with industry keywords betters your chance of being found by recruiters
. This is a marketing endeavor with you as the product. Making use of LinkedIn tools goes a long way in promoting yourself.
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