If you’re going to find the job you’ve always wanted, you’ll need to find ways of making yourself stand out from your rivals. After all, competition for the best jobs is always fierce - so if you aren’t prepared to go the extra mile, you can rest assured there are plenty of others who will. How we market ourselves is therefore hugely important when it comes to job hunting. With hundreds of millions of people worldwide using the site, having an eye-catching and well-written LinkedIn profile is important to your career prospects.
For three decades, our team of experts here at Search has been helping people make the next step up the career ladder. We’re always keeping a close eye on the ever-changing employment market, and we can assure you that it’s essential to find effective ways of selling yourself to prospective employers. Granted, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but this is no time to be bashful - if you’re going to give yourself the edge over competing job hunters, you have to be prepared to really put yourself out there.
This is where a good LinkedIn profile could prove invaluable. We’ve given the matter some careful thought and come up with this list of suggestions to help you create the best LinkedIn profile you possibly can and help you stand out to recruiters and prospective employers. Read on for our full set of LinkedIn profile tips.
Write a snappy LinkedIn headline and summary
When a potential employer comes to look at your LinkedIn profile, you shouldn’t expect them to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. They’re busy people, and they don’t have time to read chapter and verse on your life and career. They’ll be looking for key points they can take away - relevant experience and skills - and from here, they’ll decide whether or not you might make a good recruit for them. When you’re writing your LinkedIn profile, then, you need to keep this in mind at all times.
You should use your LinkedIn headline and summary to grab the reader’s attention. Your headline can be more than just a job title - you can use it to emphasise your skills and summarise your personal ethos. You can use your summary to go into a little more detail in this area, providing a quick overview of your capabilities and how you’ve made a positive difference in your previous working roles.
Use keywords in your LinkedIn profile
As we’ve already mentioned, employers don’t have time to read fulsome LinkedIn profiles all day. They’re looking for key nuggets of information which they can use. This is why you should make effective use of keywords. If you’ve any understanding of SEO, you’ll already know just how important they can be in boosting website visibility and thus drawing in visitors. They also perform much the same function on LinkedIn, making your profile more visible and helping to attract people to click on it.
In the ‘skills’ section of your profile, be sure to include plenty of keywords which are likely to boost your standing in LinkedIn searches and thus attract the attention of potential employers. Keep them relevant to your particular skill set and the sector you work in. However, you should be careful not to overload the rest of your profile with the same terms - cramming keywords in hither and thither could make your page borderline unreadable, and thereby prove completely counter-productive.
...But avoid buzzwords
If you’ve spent any time reading other peoples’ LinkedIn profiles, you’ll appreciate that loads of them are already full of vague buzzwords. If you’re not familiar with the term, buzzwords are those clichéd terms that sound good on first examination, but on closer inspection don’t actually mean a great deal. People who overuse these buzzwords generally do so in an effort to cover up for a lack of actual knowledge and expertise. Recruiters and prospective employers can spot this kind of thing a mile off, so it’s a pitfall you really need to avoid.
This isn’t to say that you can’t include commonly-used adjectives (‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘creative’, etc) in your LinkedIn profile. These terms may well be genuinely applicable to you, of course. But make sure you use them sparingly, and never to paper over any cracks or as a substitute for genuine substance.
Expand your network
It’s surprisingly easy to forget this, but LinkedIn is a social networking site, and as such it provides you with the opportunity to connect with more people. You’ll find lots of people you know, including past and present colleagues, and it’s a good idea to add them to your network of contacts. It’s good to have a healthy number of connections on LinkedIn, as it can help to make you look more authoritative. But don’t go around adding people completely at random; it’s bad etiquette and is guaranteed to annoy people. Also, employers are very good at separating spammy accounts with lots of tenuous connections from genuinely authoritative ones.
Put a face to your name
Make sure you include a photo on your LinkedIn profile, as employers will appreciate being able to put a face to the name. However, you should choose your profile photo very carefully - employers are seeing you for the first time here, and those early impressions can make all the difference. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, so whatever you do, don’t use any pictures of yourself at the pub. Keep it strictly sober and professional.
Once you have created a great LinkedIn profile, check out more tips on raising your profile on LinkedIn.
If you’re currently looking for work, don’t forget to read our earlier article on how to stay safe during your online job search. You might also benefit from our blog on how to write a CV in the current climate where competition for jobs is high.