Profile picture, check. Education, check. Experience, check. Many jobseekers mistakenly treat their LinkedIn profile as an online resume. However, it takes more than a carefully selected headshot and few lines of work history to 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 four important, often overlooked, ways to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
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.
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.
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.
Use LinkedIn to engage and interact
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.
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.