by Lionel Thain, CEO of IPT and MyOffers.co.uk
LinkedIn is by far the most professional social network in the world, and employers often use the app on their laptops or tablets to search for relevant candidates wherever they may be – so it’s important to make sure your profile is ready to stand out from the crowd when it’s called upon. Employers are also pretty nosey (and understandably so) so they will often take a look at your LinkedIn profile even after they’ve read through your CV. They will want to find out as much as they can about you before inviting you to an interview.
Here are 5 tips to help ensure your LinkedIn profile crops up in front of the right people, and stand out when it does:
1. Include a photo.
This may sound like an obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised at just how many people fail to upload a photo of themselves. Making a good first impression is vital in almost all walks of life, and a photo is the LinkedIn equivalent. Obviously you need to upload a professional looking photo (rather than a drunken one from your Facebook!) but it doesn’t have to be the classic head and shoulder on a white background. If you’ve ever presented at an event, a photo of this will help your profile stand out and immediately display proven experience to the employer. Employers are looking for a friendly and enthusiastic character too, so make sure you smile!
2. Make the most of the headline.
By default, LinkedIn uses your current or most recent job title to fill in your profile headline, for example: Joe Bloggs – Marketing Executive. Whilst your profile will still come up whenever an employer searches for a ‘marketing executive’, so will hundreds and thousands of others.
In addition to your photo, this headline is the first thing an employer will see, so it’s essential to grab their attention. Use the space wisely, and include any relevant skills – for example: Joe Bloggs – Creative Marketing Executive Specialising in Digital Marketing and Social Media. Choosing these keywords wisely is important too, as the next tip explains.
3. Use relevant keywords.
The majority of employers use LinkedIn at some point in their recruitment process, and it’s often to search for appropriate candidates. Using the correct keywords can increase your chances of falling under their radar. Obviously these keywords differ from industry to industry, but you can get a pretty good idea of what keywords they might search for by looking at a number of job advertisements for the kinds of job roles you’re after, and making note of what words or skill sets keep cropping up.
For example: if you’re looking for an Accounting role, you may find that the majority of job advertisements seek someone with good ‘organization skills’ or someone with an ‘ACCA qualification’ – so make sure you include these throughout your profile (if they’re true that is).
4. Make sure your profile is easy to read.
Whilst including keywords is recommended, it’s important not to go overboard. It will be a human, not a computer, searching for and hopefully reading through your profile – so make sure it’s legible. You want your writing style to reflect your personality, and you wouldn’t randomly shout out keywords mid-sentence would you? Be sure to find a balance and incorporate keywords in a natural and genuine manner.
5. Get endorsed.
LinkedIn allow you to list up to 50 skills, but it’s all about quality over quantity here. Listing approximately 10 skills that are focused and relevant to the types of job roles you’re seeking looks much better. What your employer really wants to see here though, is proof. Get your skills endorsed by previous colleagues, bosses, university friends or just about anyone you’ve worked with in the past that can vouch for you.
LinkedIn also allows for these people to write detailed recommendations about you, which will feature on you profile. Employers love to read these, as it gives them a great idea of what kind of employee you will be and how well you will fit in.
Lionel Thain is CEO of the UK’s leading supplier of multi-channel marketing data IPT, and the free online competition site MyOffers.co.uk.