Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Is it complete and up to date? Do you wonder if LinkedIn is even that important?
If you’re job hunting, having a profile page on LinkedIn is very important for the key reasons that recruiters and companies use it as part of the recruitment process. Recruiters use it to search for potential candidates and both recruiters and companies will check out your profile when you apply for a job. A LinkedIn profile also introduces you and helps sell your skills and strengths in a less formal way than a CV and helps companies find out a little more about you.
Creating a good profile
Creating a LinkedIn profile is very straightforward. You’ll need your career details (dates and role information), education dates and qualifications etc. to hand and then it’s a step by step process. There is an ‘About’ section which is similar to a CV profile but usually written in a less formal way and best written in the first person, but the overall aim is the same, to enable a recruiter or hiring manager to clearly see who you are, what you do and what you would bring to a role they’re recruiting for.
A photo is expected on LinkedIn. Choose a good clear photo, ideally just a headshot on a plain background, wearing something business-like, and smiling. If you can invest in a professional headshot it adds a nice level of professionalism to your profile, but it’s not vital. Social photos are a no-no on LinkedIn – remember it’s a business networking tool and not social media.
Whilst you can just list your roles to date, I recommend putting a bit more effort in than this. The same as you wouldn’t send in a CV with just your job titles on, your profile will massively benefit from some details about each role.
It’s important to include relevant keywords relevant to what you do and have done. This helps recruiters find you as they search using keywords relevant to the role in question. Don’t overdo this section with a long list of duties, aim to keep to the key points so that it is easy to read.
Quantify wherever possible
Throughout your profile, try to quantify details from your role as much as possible. This could include team sizes, project sizes or costs, sales figures etc. For example, if you work in a sales environment include targets and results achieved; if you worked on a project, include size of the project team and the results. Start doing this now and the data will always be in LinkedIn to refer to; try doing it in a couple of year’s time and the chances are you’ll have forgotten the details. This is why I recommend keeping your profile regularly updated – you can use it as a storage for those important bits of data and always have them at your fingertips when you need them.
Skills and Endorsements
Populating the Skills section is important for keyword matching and adds credibility to your profile. You can select up to 50 skills on your profile, however 50 can be a bit excessive so keep it to the most relevant skills. To give your profile credibility and enable it to be found on a search, your skills need to be endorsed by your LinkedIn contacts. This is where people you know or have worked with can click on any of your skills and ‘endorse’ them.
You can also request recommendations from your connections which adds credibility to your profile. Again doing this regularly builds up a solid profile and most people are happy to help by writing a positive recommendation. The nice thing is you get to read the recommendation before you add it to your profile which gives you the opportunity to ask the writer to make any changes if needed.
Education, Qualifications, Training etc
There are sections in your profile for all of these plus volunteering roles you may have had (keep these relevant) or additional languages you speak. All of these can help you gain an advantage in the eyes of a recruiter or hiring company.
Building a Network
Once your profile is ready, start connecting with anyone you know via LinkedIn. This could be current or ex-colleagues, friends and family, or anyone you know in business or social settings that you would like as part of your professional network.
My advice is to embrace this side of the job application / recruitment process. It’s free, well worth the effort and adds to your personal value.
If you need any help with producing a LinkedIn profile or would like a profile written and optimised for recruitment purposes, please get in touch. Prices start from just £75 for a fully prepared and optimised profile.