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A Recruiter’s Perspective on LinkedIn Profile Optimization

If a recruiter or hiring manager were to take a look at your LinkedIn profile right now, what impression would they get of your personality and background? Improving your LinkedIn profile is important for every professional, whether you’re actively looking for new roles or passively networking. In fact, 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to help fill roles. As a recruiter, I know firsthand that LinkedIn profiles are one of the first impressions that both recruiters and hiring managers have of a candidate, and I also know that many profiles are not accurately depicting a person’s professional expertise or professionalism. Consider these tips when enhancing your profile. 

1.Use a professional profile photo

 

A profile photo is the first impression of who you are – remember that LinkedIn is an online platform, and your photo is the only sure thing that other people have to connect with you as a person. Recruiters and managers want to feel a personal connection with you as a candidate. It’s important to make sure that 1) you have a photo, and 2) it’s a professional image. That’s not to say that you need to hire a professional photographer for your LinkedIn headshot, but ideally, the photo will be simple, inviting, and friendly. I recommend having someone else take the photo (rather than a selfie), and make sure the photo is clear and free from distractions in the background. 

 

2. Make sure your experience is up to date

 

This is the most crucial step to making sure the right people are seeing your profile and considering you for opportunities that make sense for your background. If you haven’t updated your experience on LinkedIn, you could be setting yourself up to receive messages from recruiters about roles that no longer fit your background or interest you. For example, I recruit for many technical positions. More often than you’d imagine, I’ll reach out to a candidate whose LinkedIn profile says “Java Engineer – 2010 to Present”, but receive a response that says they haven’t used Java in almost 5 years and are now working in a completely different type of role. If you are looking for new opportunities, it’s impossible for recruiters to know what types of roles will be relevant to you if your most current experience isn’t updated. As you switch jobs, get promoted, or make accomplishments, add them to your profile immediately so it doesn’t slip your mind later. 

 

3. Keywords, skills, and bullet points! 

 

Along the same line as tip #2, make sure recruiters can find you based on your current key skills. For recruiters, LinkedIn functions as a search engine – we search for candidates based on job titles, skills, location, and keywords.  I’ll often recruit for a role that requires a very specific skill, and many times when candidates don’t have it specifically outlined in either their bullet points under “Experience” or in their “Skills” section, it’s almost impossible to know that they have that experience. By adding bullet points that highlight your responsibilities under your job experience, as well as adding specific keywords to your “Skills” section, makes it easier for recruiters to find you in a keyword search and contact you for relevant opportunities.  Use words that demonstrate your abilities, subject matter expertise, and skillsets as often as possible throughout your profile. 

 

4. Let recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities 

 

If you are open to new opportunities, you can privately let recruiters know on LinkedIn. The website has a feature that allows you to “turn on” a signal that lets recruiters know you’re open to exploring new roles – to do so,  go to “Privacy Settings” – then to “Job Seeking Preferences” – you should see a line that says “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” with an option to click yes or no. If you click yes, recruiters will see the signal, but it will be hidden to anyone who doesn’t have a LinkedIn Recruiter account, and will also be hidden from anyone who works at your current company, recruiter or not. Although we can reach out to candidates who don’t have the signal on, we oftentimes start a candidate search by focusing on those who are open, so if you are actively on the job market it’s highly recommended that you turn it on. It also has an added bonus – it allows you to write a quick private blurb about the types of roles you’re interested in, as well as whether you would consider relocation. 

 

5. Utilize your network and regularly check-in

 

You never know who might be able to open up new doors for you! Whether it’s someone who went to the same school as you, used to work at the same company, or has a mutual contact, there are many people on LinkedIn who could be useful to network with, whether you’re actively on the job market or not. Reach out and connect! You can personalize your message to someone when requesting to connect as well, to let them know who you are and how you’re affiliated. Once you have a solid network, make sure to engage as well, by liking, sharing, and commenting on activity on your newsfeed. Even if you’re happy in your role, checking into LinkedIn regularly will keep you up to date with things going on within your network.

 

Another way to connect with people either in the same industry as you, or with similar interests, regardless of whether you have a personal connection, is to join groups on LinkedIn. There are many groups out there for all types of professional and personal interests/skills, so it’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. 

Conclusion:

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool, for both networking and finding new job positions. By making sure your profile is up to date and inviting, it makes it easier for recruiters to find you and reach out about relevant opportunities. Once you utilize these tips, your profile should be in tip-top shape, so get out there and network!

 

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