When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, you need to consider your audience. The typical recruiter looks at your profile and knows whether or not you are the right candidate in the first 5-10 seconds. So, naturally, it makes sense that your profile should wow a recruiter right off the bat. But how do you do that? We went to our resident LinkedIn and recruiting expert, Director of Recruiting and Resource Management, Kelly Hooten, to get to the bottom of that exact question.
With almost 21 years of recruiting experience in IT and other industries, Kelly knows what it takes to find the right candidate. She has a wealth of wisdom on how to catch the eye of recruiters for your potential future position. I sat down with her to get an inside look at what changes you can make to your profile to better sell yourself for the position you want. This is what Kelly had to say.
1. Profile Photo
What is the first thing that shows up at the top of your profile and your profile card? Your photo. In Kelly’s experience, many candidates underemphasize the importance of a professional profile photo. If first impressions are everything and you only get 5-10 seconds to sell yourself on your profile, it’s only logical that you want to provide recruiters with the very best snapshot of who you are professionally. Leave the personal photos for Facebook. Go get yourself some professional photos done for your profile.
2. Profile Summary and tagline
Once a recruiter gets past your picture, they are met with your tagline and your profile summary. If your profile photo draws a recruiter in (after they pull you up in a search), then your profile summary sells you. With that in mind, your profile summary should cover what makes you such a high-quality candidate. Do you have specialized experience, statistics supporting your effectiveness, or any major accomplishments? This is your chance to talk yourself up. Be confident in your profile and tell the recruiter viewing your profile why you should be a top candidate.
3. Grammar, spelling, and language
The words you use and how you use them are just as important as the content of your LinkedIn profile. Being overly formal or overly familiar with your profile will turn away a recruiter. They need to see that you can communicate in an effective manner without having to use large words or being redundant. Remember, you are selling yourself to the person on the other side of your profile. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary all matter in a LinkedIn profile.
4. Job Listings
Your job listings are your chance to show not only what you did in your jobs, but also the skills you displayed in those jobs. This is where you can highlight what you did well. This should not just be a job-requirements posting. Will there be some of that? Absolutely, but the whole posting should be more than just a listing of your job responsibilities.
5. References, Skills, and Companies you follow
References are of course a great way to reaffirm your skills and abilities to a recruiter. Many recruiters place these in higher regard, but by the time a recruiter reaches the bottom of your page, they have typically already made up their minds. As far as skills go, you want to ensure that you have highlighted those skills that are most pertinent to the job you want or where you want your career to go. Lastly are the companies you follow. This is one that Kelly has seen quite frequently in her career as she scoured profiles for various roles. While many other recruiters don’t pay attention to it, Kelly says that if she is on the fence with a candidate, following too many companies for job postings can cause her to move away from the candidate. In Kelly’s opinion, try to limit the list of companies you follow to ten.
Creating an engaging, professional LinkedIn profile can be the difference between an offer and a rejection. It can be a delicate balance between professional and personal, but finding that balance can secure you offers and benefit your career. Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume, and you wouldn’t send your resume to a prospective employer without first making sure it was as great as it could be.
So, spend some time on your profile and make sure you are presenting your best possible self to recruiters, and if you can, allow someone else to look at it to catch any mistakes you may have missed. Above all, be proud of your career and take pride in displaying your skills to the world.