Until recently, recruiters made decisions solely based on your résumé. Today, it’s not quite so simple. With social media being such an integral part of our lives, potential employers are just a click away from learning all about you. If they’re not impressed by what they find online, your résumé – and chances of an interview – can be severely sabotaged.
Googling – or as some affectionately call it ‘stalking’ – someone online is commonplace these days, so it’s no surprise recruiters and employers are doing it, too (Yes, I admit, I do this…).
Google your name and more often than not it’s your LinkedIn profile that first shows up. A survey by Graduate Careers Australia found 36.5% of recruiters looked at a candidate’s social media profile as part of their decision-making process in the last year. And 44% said they gained insight into a candidate’s personality, character and cultural fit from their social media, while a further 10% used it to gauge the candidate’s networking skills.
Sounds a bit shocking, eh?
But what if you’re not actively looking for a new job? Well, one-in-20 LinkedIn members is in a recruitment role. With so many employers seeking candidates online, you’re presenting yourself to potential employers even when you’re not sending out résumés.
Let’s say an employer was searching LinkedIn looking to recruit for your dream job. If they clicked on your profile, would they be impressed by what they saw? Would they be compelled to get in touch with you to talk about the role? Or would they pass you by and forget all about you?
Wherever you are in your career journey, your LinkedIn profile will most likely be the first thing people know about you, so if you want to present the best version of yourself you need to start with this first. Clients I mentor have seen the change first-hand when I’ve professionally made-over their LinkedIn profile and you can, too.
Here are some ideas to ‘pimp up’ your LinkedIn profile, so you stand out and get closer to your dream job.
On LinkedIn, your profile photo is the first thing people see. If you want to make that all-important positive first impression, then your photo absolutely has to send the right message. You want to look polished and professional, so no candids, cropped group pics or holiday snaps! If possible, invest in professional headshots to capture you at your best.
Ideally, you want the recruiter to look at you and be able to easily picture you in the role. If you’re in professional services, then business attire is a must, but if you’re in creative industry, you might be able to pull off a more business-casual or expressive look. Choose an image that reflects your specific industry, one that you’d consider appropriate for an interview.
You should be conscious of your personal brand wherever you present yourself, and LinkedIn is no exception. Little touches like a customised URL can go a long way towards demonstrating professionalism, brand awareness and attention to detail.
Many users default to their current job title for their LinkedIn headline, but you should think more broadly. You want to stand out from the competition without narrowing your appeal. Be an ‘award-winning luxury brand marketing specialist’ in a sea of ‘marketing executives’. That way, you’re showcasing your value and appealing to an entire industry of potential employers.
Concise, Keyword-Rich Summary
When writing your LinkedIn summary, think like a recruiter.
First, consider that they’re probably scanning hundreds of profiles. Give them a short, to-the-point summary that they can quickly scan for your key skills and relevant experience. Make sure it’s short enough to keep their attention, but long enough to convey who you are, what you do and what you bring to the table that nobody else does.
Like your physical résumé, you should keep your LinkedIn work history up-to-date with minimal gaps. Again, keep it short, sweet and keyword-rich. Use no more than three to four sentences for your job descriptions, and load it with the key skills, experience or achievements your ideal recruiter might be searching for.
Recommendations are essentially glowing references. Having them shows recruiters that you can communicate for professional advantage, build relationships and maintain a network, all highly desirable skills in a candidate. And of course, the content of the recommendation goes a long way towards assuring the recruiter that you can perform well in the role.
Your LinkedIn profile is just as important as your résumé. Make sure it looks just as good.
Janine Marin is a professional digital communications mentor, specialising in helping professionals like you to build a powerful digital profile. Do you want a LinkedIn profile that creates impact? Contact Janine today for her LinkedIn profile packages.