por Danielle Setola Antes
If you’re open to or actively looking for new opportunities, or even just looking to build up your network for the future, your LinkedIn profile is a valuable resource. But in order to utilize this resource, you’ll need to provide enough information on your profile to be found. Recruiters utilize LinkedIn as both a search tool and a supplement to your resume, so the main goal of your profile should be to tell a story about what you do, where you’ve done it, and what you’d like to next.
So what exactly do you need to do tell that story? Make sure you have these things recruiters look for on LinkedIn incorporated into your profile:
1. An informative headline
When your profile shows up in a search or on an application from LinkedIn, the first thing a recruiter sees is your name and headline. A great headline will convey what you do in just a few words, and should provide a quick overview of what the recruiter will see when they look through your profile. Your current title and/or industry will suffice – but it’s the creative headlines that get recruiters to click through to your profile.
2. An appropriate picture
Above all, LinkedIn is a professional network, and your photo should reflect your professional self (hint: no selfies, no party pictures, no pictures of you wearing anything less than what you’d be comfortable showing up to work in). This doesn’t mean you need to pay for professional photographs – just have a friend take a picture of you looking your best against a nice backdrop. You should choose a photo that accurately represents your everyday self – recruiters will be expecting to see the same person when you show up for an interview!
3. A succinct summary
While your headline has to be short, the summary allows more expansion on your career goals and what you bring to the table. It’s also a great way to show off your written communication skills. But remember, LinkedIn is a professional network, so unless it’s relevant to your career or job search, leave it out – this is not the place to talk about your family, your personal interests, or your extracurricular activities. Add keywords here that might not fit into your position descriptions to increase your chances of showing up in searches. And keep this section short – 1-2 paragraphs at most, or you’ll lose the attention of the recruiter.
4. Accurate position titles
These are the most important piece of information when it comes to being found on LinkedIn, and making sure that a recruiter clicks through to your resume off of LinkedIn job applications. Make sure that your title, regardless of what it’s actually called in your current organization, accurately reflects what you do and what similar positions in your field are called. Without titles that accurately represent what you do – in key terms that can be referenced across industries and companies – it’s unlikely your profile will be found by recruiters looking to reach out for new opportunities.
5. Clear position descriptions
It’s appalling how few people take the time to populate this section. While it’s great that employers can find you based off of your position title, not including a description may take you out of the running if the employer can’t tell what you’re actually doing. This doesn’t have to be a word-for-word copy of your resume – just highlight the key functions of your role so someone can look at your profile and know what you do. Take HR as an example – many organizations have taken to calling this “people management” or “people operations”. It’s catchy, but if I’m searching for an HR manager and your title is People Operations, without any mention of HR, you’re not likely to end up in my search pool.
6. Relevant and ongoing education
Add continuing education, including training programs, to this section as well to show employers you’re keeping up with current trends and regulations. If you’re not able to go back to school, or unable to attend training sessions, use this section to showcase the education you do have – and connect with other alums who may be already working in fields you’re interested in.
7. Helpful recommendations and endorsements
Recruiters take these sections with a grain of salt – endorsements are really just about as valuable as a recommendation from your mother – and we understand that you’re not likely to solicit a review from someone who will make a negative comment about your performance. In general, though, it’s not a bad thing if you don’t have recommendations, but great ones certainly don’t hurt. Endorsements are similar – they’re almost a joke now on LinkedIn for how easy they make it to rate people you barely even know – but again, having them doesn’t hurt.
For some additional visibility on LinkedIn, consider joining relevant groups and adding work samples and media to your profile. The more information you can provide to prospective employers about who you are and what you can do, the more likely you are to be called for a role that suits you perfectly.
Danielle Setola Antes
Danielle Setola Antes is a HR Professional and Recruiter from Washington, DC. With a bit of insight on everything from resumes to recruiters and recognition and resignation, she covers the most important topics you’ll need to be successful in the workplace, and to find (and keep) your perfect job. Follow her on Twitter (@Danielle_Antes) for additional tips on how to do what you love, and love what you do!