Name, check. Education, check. Experience, check. Many jobseekers mistakenly treat their LinkedIn profile as an online resume. And in some ways, it is.
Recruiters are definitely looking at your profile to get a sense of your skills and experience. However, it takes more than a carefully selected headshot and few lines of work history to really grab the attention of prospective employers.
Nearly 87 percent of recruiters agree that LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to vet prospective job candidates (Source). How confident are you that your LinkedIn profile is actually helping and not hurting your chances of scoring a new opportunity?
Here are a few important, often overlooked, ways to build an attention-grabbing LinkedIn profile and tips for setting yourself up for opportunities.
Build an attention-grabbing, professional LinkedIn profile
1. Choose a professional profile photo
“One of the mistakes I see on LinkedIn is that people don’t have a professional photo of themselves,” says recruitment expert Lynn Hiyane. “You don’t need to have a $200 studio headshot, but remember your profile picture may be the first impression you make on a potential employer or business contact.”
Rule of thumb: Keep the photo simple and avoid using a photo that you would normally share on your personal social media accounts.
Also, double-check that your photo meets these basic requirements:
- You are the only person in the photo.
- The clothes you are wearing in the photo would be appropriate for an interview.
- The photo focuses only on your face and crops out the bottom half of your body.
- The background is plain and not distracting.
2. Customize your LinkedIn headline
A headline is prime real estate on a LinkedIn profile page. The 120-character tagline just under your name helps you get found and entices employers to learn more. Many users don’t bother to edit their headline, letting their current job title and company appear by default.
But which is more compelling: Jane Doe, Marketing Admin at Company XYZ or Jane Doe, Marketing Professional Specializing in Content Development & Management with an Expertise in Building B2B Social Strategies?
Your headline should be keyword optimized, value-driven, and most importantly, memorable.
3. Add skills and manage LinkedIn endorsements
It’s one thing to say you’re skilled in lead generation and customer relations, it’s another thing when your colleagues vouch for you. You can list up to 50 skills on your LinkedIn profile. Doing so improves your search visibility and builds professional credibility when your connections endorse you. You do need to monitor your skill endorsements for accuracy. Being endorsed for the wrong skills can make it harder for a recruiter to see where your true expertise lies.
4. Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn
Recommendations on LinkedIn work in the same way professional references do in a job search. They allow others—typically past supervisors and colleagues—to vouch for your qualifications. This helps potential employers evaluate you.
Recommendations are searchable and cannot be edited once they’ve been submitted (you can only decide whether or not to display them on your profile), so be wise about who you approach. Ask the person recommending you to focus on a specific skill set or competency to make the feedback most meaningful.
Set yourself up for opportunities on LinkedIn
1. Follow the right companies
Similar to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you can follow companies and people on LinkedIn that you would like to stay updated on. But before following every company you’ve ever heard of, be strategic about your clicks. Only follow companies that you are interested in working with or that provide value to your career.
We recommend Hawaii job seekers follow ALTRES on LinkedIn. Yes, we are totally biased but for good reason! ALTRES has a team dedicated to making sure you get the top job opportunities from highly-respected companies, as well as timely career advice delivered straight to your LinkedIn feed. Even if you aren’t looking for a new job opportunity, it’s a great account to keep in your back pocket.
2. Use the Jobs feature
LinkedIn has a pretty robust Jobs feature that rivals top job boards like Indeed and Monster. Based on the job history and skills listed in your profile, LinkedIn’s algorithm will curate a list of appropriate jobs specifically for you.
While you are using the Jobs feature, pay careful attention to the Career Interests button. This filters your job search even further (you can even search for remote jobs). It also allows you to set a private status for potential employers letting them know you’re open to new opportunities.
3. Engage and interact with relevant content
It’s not enough to just have a presence. LinkedIn, like Facebook and Twitter, is a social platform which means engagement and interaction are essential for building up your profile. The more you engage—posting updates, liking and sharing articles, participating in discussions—the greater the likelihood your profile will be seen by recruiters and hiring managers.
Related: 4 Social Media Mistakes That Can Get You Fired
Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, it still pays to keep your LinkedIn profile in tip-top shape. Doing so keeps the door open to unexpected professional opportunities.