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Posted Louisa Benedicto, VP Hays Canada on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
As a vast, interconnected and highly accessible network, LinkedIn gives members a range of options for making sure their profile is easily discoverable and the best reflection of their professional skills and experience. Understanding all the ways you can personalize your profile is the best way to develop your brand and get noticed. So how do you best put LinkedIn to work for you?
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Presentation is key, and LinkedIn is flexible. So every time you update your profile you can do anything from tidying up to a full overhaul. But the base options you should absolutely avail yourself of are these:
• Add a professional profile photo
People want to see who they’ll be working with before they get in touch, so you’ll get nowhere on LinkedIn without a smartly put together profile photo. Not to mention that having one means your profile is as much as 21x times more likely to be viewed than those without a professional photo. And you can receive up to 9x more connection requests and 36x more messages just by having that headshot posted.
• Customize your profile URL
Another absolute necessity for your profile, customizing your URL makes you instantly more memorable. A succinct photo and a condensed profile URL make for an combination, highlighting you as someone who cares about how others see them – always a plus when looking to stand out from the crowd.
• Show your achievements and experience
Your profile should give readers a quick overview of your strengths, skills, and unique attributes. This is best done by including a couple of paragraphs in your profile summary, using keywords like ‘skilled’ and ‘passionate’ to describe your performance.
Next, include salient facts detailing recent accomplishments. If you’re light on enough to fill out your profile, try adding endorsements and recommendations from colleagues and former employers to flesh things out. A few kind words from respected and successful individuals can go a long way in telling people why they want to hire you.
Show off your personality to get discovered
With a well put together LinkedIn profile, your personality can shine through. Interactive, vibrant profiles, peppered with rich media (presentations and professionally-relevant videos) help detail past projects while letting people know you have design and formatting skills as well. Finally, a personalized banner on your profile can show both your professionalism and your aesthetic sense.
When completing the summary and experience sections of your profile, refer to yourself in the first person – using third person can seem impersonal and insincere. And don’t forget to be clear about what you’re interested in and what drives you: a single, pithy headline at the top of your page speaks volumes.
• Optimize your profile with relevant keywords
As well as being a professional social network, LinkedIn is a powerful search engine. Finding and connecting with new contacts is one of the most popular activities on the site, and this includes employers and recruiters searching for prospective candidates.
Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or your desired employer: What keywords might they be searching for and how? Google Keywords is useful if you’re trying to understand what terms employers will use to locate candidates. And once you know what they’re looking for you can incorporate the best keywords into your summary, experience, and skills sections of your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of being found by the right people.
• Update your current position, education, industry, and location
Recruiters often search for new candidates by ‘current position’ so include relevant words in this box as well, even if you’re not currently employed. Updating your current position can lead to 8x more profile views. And if you’re not currently employed, don’t worry — adding in your education can get you 17x more messages from recruiters.
Updating your industry section as well can unlock up to 9x more profile views and help bring up vital information in your LinkedIn newsfeed that will help you stay informed. In addition to which, updating your location on your LinkedIn profile helps you get discovered for local opportunities and can make you up to 23x more likely to be found in LinkedIn searches. All of these numbers are cumulative, so by updating all four of these categories you massively increase the chances of your profile being cross-referenced by recruiters.
• Let recruiters and employers know you’re ‘open’ to new opportunities
The ‘open candidates’ feature makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signalling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities. Specify types of companies and roles you’re most interested in for best results, and get found by potentially hundreds of thousands of recruiters. Our data shows that members who have switched on their ‘open candidates’ setting are twice as likely to receive relevant opportunities from recruiters.
• Be active and responsive
Keep a regular eye on your LinkedIn InMail for messages. Responding to potential opportunities promptly is key to managing those all-important first impressions. Overall, be as active on LinkedIn as makes sense for you – be it hourly, or daily. Just don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Only sharing relevant updates and insights will get you noticed by recruiters and employers.
Pick your engagements, but share articles and participate in debates regularly. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 different groups, so join as many relevant ones as you can manage. Publishing posts will also help you get noticed, but content needs to be pertinent and innovative – bland posts are more harmful to your brand than not posting.
You can also reach out to other people in your network who occupy similar positions to yours or roles you’re looking to progress into. Giving experienced professionals in your field reason to connect with you is a good way to gain recognition yourself. Again, the key in reaching out is relevancy – getting too many declined connection requests can result in your profile being restricted.
A final thought
The more active you are on LinkedIn the more you’ll benefit. But practice good work/life balance – don’t oversaturate your content for the sake of appearing active, and stay as relevant as you can in everything you do. Build a strong personal brand so people understand at a glance who are you and what you want.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for personal and professional connection, and an excellent path to advancing in your career. But you don’t have to go it alone. With your LinkedIn profile ready to show the world what you can do, Hays’ recruiters are there to take you the rest of the way and find you that dream job in your industry. Contact us today.