As a recruiter and sourcer always looking for talent, I use LinkedIn on a daily (even hourly) basis. That probably comes as no surprise to active job seekers, most of whom understood that recruiters use LinkedIn as a modern day resume database.
Here’s what may come as a surprise to you: LinkedIn doesn’t tell a recruiter who is an active job seeker (those looking for work now) and a passive job seeker (those not searching for work, but willing to explore other opportunities). Everyone, active and passive, shows up in the same keyword searches.
So while you may not find yourself on the job market, it doesn’t hurt to keep your LinkedIn account relevant… just in case a crazy-good career opportunity comes your way.
To make sure you not only stay relevant during the type of searches I make, here are 5 things you need to do, right now, to your LinkedIn profile:
1. Full Details, No Exceptions
Think about the way LinkedIn is set up. Its format is set up as Experience, Education, Awards, References and Dates and Titles to coincide with all of this information. Do you know what is also set up that way? Your resume. You wouldn’t send your resume to a prospective employer without it being complete and including all the details that just might get you hired, would you?
Your LinkedIn profile should be treated the same way – and you should update your experience section every time a change in your professional life occurs, you learn something new relevant to your career, and much more.
2. Awards, Achievements and Contributions
Do not be afraid to brag about yourself on LinkedIn. This is a very competitive job market and the things that separate one candidate from the next are becoming slim. When looking at two candidates and trying to decide which to call first, if all things are equal, that decision most likely comes down to the one who has greater accomplishments, honors and extracurricular activities that relate to their industry.
Contributions to your chosen industry also carries clout. With me for example, I know that the fact that I actively blog about the recruiting industry has made me stand out from the crowd of other recruiters I have interviewed against.
3. Top Skills Completed and Maintained
LinkedIn allows you to select your relevant skills – and allows recruiters to search profiles based on these skills. And we do, every day. So it is important that you make sure this section is filled out. If you are a sales professional you shouldn’t just have “sales” listed under skills. It should be “sales”, “cold calling”, “business development”, etc.
Around the skills chosen, LinkedIn encourages others within your network to provide endorsements of your work. Yes, endorsements have been widely debated – and recruiters know that random people you don’t know may be endorsing you. On a much larger scale, though, I would venture to say that the majority of your endorsements are pretty spot on. So if I am searching for a Python developer and Python is at the top of their list, it is a safe assumption that, on paper, this is the person I am looking for. Your job: make sure your top skills – those you want to be known for – are at the very top of the list!
4. Updated, Clear Picture
Is your current picture on LinkedIn the one you took of yourself at a bathroom mirror? (Shocking, but happens.) Or a group photo where you’ve cropped out everyone else? (That pesky hand on your shoulder is a dead give-away.) Or maybe it is a selfie from graduation day? (That screams I am a young student not ready for work.)
Your picture needs to convey you are a professional. Unless your industry specifically values outside of the box craziness (like a professional clown) then your picture should be clear and show who you are in a formal or traditional setting. You don’t have to run down to the local portrait studio; a nice headshot taken with a nice backdrop will do the trick.
When I’m recruiting candidates on LinkedIn, their headline is a make or break for me. If I am recruiting a Java Developer and someone’s headline reads “Sr. Java Developer” you can bet they are getting clicked on. Using my headline as an example: I am a Corporate Recruiter. My headline does not say “Strategic Talent Finder” or “Un-Earther of Candidates” or anything else that is a little off the wall. No, it says “IT Recruiting Professional”.
You know the saying you only get one chance to make a first impression? Well your headline is the same way. If your headline does not give me a clear picture of who you are, I am probably going to move on to the next person. There is no need to overthink it, or be overly clever. Just state what you do for a living.
You may read this list and think to yourself “I am an award winning engineer; I don’t need to worry about a career change.” And while this may be true right now, no one really ever has 100% job security. Companies are forced to make cut backs all the time.
It takes maybe 20 minutes per week to update your LinkedIn profile. Is that really too much time if it opens up a door years down the line? Of course not, so use these five tips – and stay relevant on Linkedin!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at BullsEye Recruiting!