Currently, 77% of companies use social media to recruit for talent. Consequently, making the most of your LinkedIn profile is absolutely essential when you are on the hunt for your next career move. Attracting an employer to your profile takes a little bit of finesse, but having a strategic online presence will not only help set you apart from other candidates, but it could also land you an opportunity you never saw coming.
On LinkedIn, it takes a Recruiter approximately 3 seconds to decide whether or not to open someone’s profile and continue reading further. Major details such as Job Title, Previous History, Industry, Keywords, and even your profile picture are all determining factors in a point-and-click decision. A trained Recruiter’s eye can look at these features for a split second and decide if your profile is worth reviewing further. In a job market driven by a limited talent pool, where time is a “fleeting resource” and hiring Managers needed the candidate “yesterday,” these seconds count. So, how do you get someone to take the time to open your page?
I once came across a profile on LinkedIn of a Software Developer whose work history would have been ideal for my client. The only trouble was that his profile picture was a shot of him inside his home, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, sitting on a beach chair with 2 cats, with a giant beach ball at his feet. Sure—I get it. He apparently had a passion for the crisp ocean air and preferred the company of felines. However, I wasn’t quite sure that this image was the proper first impression that my client was looking for when considering adding someone to their team. Thus, Perfect-Skillset-Cat-Man was just not going to work.
Although this may seem somewhat superficial, the very harsh reality is that we are all judged to a degree on appearance. How you present yourself can have a major impact on whether a Recruiter chooses to contact you or whether a Manager chooses to hire you. Your profile picture is the very first aspect of your profile that a Manager will review. Even the lack of a profile picture could be a deterrent for a Recruiter when selecting a candidate amongst multiple resumes. Being able to associate a name with a professional image makes a world of difference in visualizing someone in a particular career setting—and it will help the Recruiter remember who you are!
Your best option for a profile picture is always going to be a headshot of just you. Put your best face forward! Specifically, make sure that you are the only focus in the picture. The photograph should be taken in a professional setting, in business attire. Furthermore, someone else should take the picture! “Selfies” in the bathroom mirror are not appropriate for LinkedIn! (You’d think I wouldn’t have to say that, but you’d be surprised).
Job Titles and Summaries on your profile page not only serve as a condensed nutshell of the work you do, but they are also great ways to market yourself to potential employers and become a target for opportunities you may not know were even out there.
The title on your headline can generate serious attention depending on how you spin your skillset. Think of it as a targeted approach for the type of work you are seeking, with details that highlight your expertise. Drawing from a recent search for a Network Manager role, I stumbled upon a candidate with one of the best profile titles ever! It read: “Futurist, Technology Visionary, Result-Oriented Leader.” I wanted to read more!
With that being said, most profiles will not be that progressive or clever in nature—even still, using something more eye-catching that stands out more than the obvious “Network Manager” can make all the difference! Don’t be afraid to spice it up a bit. If you have a strong background in Cloud, or Virtualization, or Storage, flaunt it! Giving yourself a grand introduction whilst staying true to the highlights of your career could very well help catch the eye of your next employer.
Allow your work history to work for you! Providing specific details about your expertise and the accomplishments of your work can really pay off. Far too often, I will come across a profile without any real “meat” to it. Limiting your information to only generic job titles and employment dates is like serving shrimp tacos without any shrimp. If you don’t want to upload your entire resume, that is fine. However, a few strong bullets highlighting your skills and experience could still set you apart from the profile that lacks any work history at all.
I strongly believe that one day the LinkedIn profile will replace the traditional curriculum vitaes, and video resumes—which are slowly starting to gain traction on the hiring front—will become the common trend for job seeking. We have more of an opportunity online to market ourselves and tell a story about our professional paths than we do on a flat, white piece paper or “Word Doc.” As a job seeker, determining how you want to tell your story could help target a role made just for you!