Your LinkedIn profile
There are currently around 500 million users on LinkedIn and more and more recruiters are using the platform specifically to find candidates for jobs.
LinkedIn is effectively a huge database of candidates where recruiters can find out how others describe their career paths, skills and expertise. LinkedIn is also a great place to find out what’s going on in your industry, and what’s important to members of your professional community and for you to build a network of these people.
What will make your profile stand out?
Put in the time to make your profile an impressive first impression of you, the more information you include about yourself the better the chances of a recruiter being impressed enough to reach out to you. LinkedIn actually provides you with a measure of how complete your profile is and will also suggest tips and sections for you to complete. Cover the basics, such as all your contact details and work experience, but it is also important to go the extra mile to differentiate yourself from other candidates looking at similar jobs to you.
Adding a profile picture and also a background picture can provide a real visual of you and your proposed job search. Make sure you pick images that are professional and communicate your ambitions.
It is essential that you make your profile personal to you. This begins by using a customized URL (ideally linkedin.com/yourname), this is far better than the automated address that the site will assign you.
Employer focused headline
It is more powerful to create a headline that is not simply your job title. What is your speciality or your main selling point? Use this space to differentiate yourself from others and be specific.
Writing a summary
Think of this summary just like the opening of your CV: it should highlight your strengths, skills and experiences for the area of work, industry or sector you are looking to target. Be wary of buzzwords and try and offer examples and evidence for each point. The summary can include what you are doing now, actively job hunting or still at university and then talk about your objective or ambitions.
Adding comments and sharing
You should also be adding comments to articles which show your interest and passion in chosen sectors, industries and companies. Sharing these articles and links on your own page is also a great way of generating relevant activity, as long you feel you can expand or share your opinion on the post.
You can follow relevant people, organisations and companies and this will allow you to put together a relevant range of interesting content on your feed. Again, you give yourself greater prominence within the feed if you start to express why you think a particular piece of content matters. Remember to share stories and blog posts which are relevant to your job search.
LinkedIn encourages you to pinpoint skills and experiences you have which are relevant to your profile and your job search. Contacts in your network can then endorse you for these skills. You should manage your endorsements proactively and as you get endorsements you may find that they do not match your job search in terms of the quantity of endorsements you get for a particular skill. Highlight at least five skills most relevant to your role and industry and rank them. Maintaining a relevant list of skills on your profile will help others understand your strengths.
It is useful to let LinkedIn sync with your address book so that it can suggest people for you to connect with. You should think of relevant people in your own network who you may think share contacts that could be useful for you and send them invites too. You will be noticed if you are an active member of your network and this is how the number of your contacts will grow. When you send invites always remember to remind people how you met, these might include contacts you meet at careers fairs.
People often think nice things about you but for them to write a recommendation about you is powerful. Think of people who know you and your skills and ask them to write you a brief recommendation. Aim for about three in total if possible. Think about who could write about you - these people could be from work experience, volunteering, student activities and extracurricular activities.
If you haven’t selected the feature that doesn’t post the changes you’re making to your LinkedIn profile, all your connections will see the amends. Here’s how to fix it: navigate to ‘privacy & settings’, click on ‘turn on/off your activity broadcasts’ in the ‘privacy controls’ section and un-tick the box.