Having a presence on LinkedIn is a must for the modern job seeker. Simply having a profile and being a ghost on the platform isn’t enough. If you’re trying to stand out and find a new job, you need to make an effort to be visible to recruiters and hiring managers.
Competition for jobs is tough, and you need to find a way to stand out from thousands of other users. Make sure that your profile is working for you and keeping you visible by taking these expert-recommended steps!
Have a catchy headline
By default, LinkedIn will make your headline your current job title. While these might make sense at first, many people don’t realize that your headline can be up to show up to 200~ characters on mobile. This gives you an often underutilized space to market yourself. Plus, it’s the first thing someone viewing your profile sees after your name.
A generic headline makes you easy to overlook, so get your personal brand out there. HBR’s Jane Heifetz uses the example of a marketing professional using the following headline to express interest in a health and wellness-related career:
“Holistic health/yoga instructor, consultant, connecter * Marketing executive for small businesses & nonprofits”
This shows the applicant’s passion for the industry, their specific niche, and provides desirable skills.
Keep your summary up to date
Likewise, you should keep your summary or “About Me” section constantly updated and tailored to make you stand out. Don’t just have a summary of your duties or create an indecipherable labyrinth of buzzwords. Instead, use this space to tell a story and communicate the value you’d bring to any organization lucky enough to have your services.
This is an ideal space to use keywords targeted toward your industry in a meaningful way. Find ways to relate your accomplishments to your desired role in an organic way. You’ll showcase your skills in a way that makes you appear in search engines and shows off your personality.
Have a headshot and banner
Don’t force your words to carry you by themselves, though. Unlike a resume, where having a picture of you is a bad idea, you want to have a clear headshot visible. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is ultimately a social media platform. If your name appears on every comment you make or every application you send out, you want your photo next to it. Make sure it’s a professional and current picture, of course.
“Instead of the default blue banner, use something that catches people’s attention and reflects what is important to you. It might be a picture of your workspace or something you use in your line of work.” –Careerist
While a headshot may seem obvious, an often forgotten space is the banner of your profile. You can use one of LinkedIn’s graphics or create your own as something like a virtual business card. CNBC Make It’s Gili Malinsky highlights this as a prime real estate spot where you can show off who you are as a professional. This lets you show off more personality while highlighting what matters to you.
Fill out your full profile
You’ve got the flashy, immediately visible elements updated, but don’t skimp on the core skeleton of your profile. The more you have filled out, the more information a potential recruiter will have access to, and the more likely your profile will show up in searches.
Of particular note is the “Skills” section, which Distinctive Web believes is often neglected. Job titles and desired skills are the two most likely types of keywords recruiters will search for. Having a solid list of your skills (worded slightly differently thanks to the way LinkedIn’s Skills section works) in addition to peppering them throughout your summary and experience will give you a better chance of being found.
Having a good profile is just the first start. Make sure to actually use that profile! You don’t want to be annoying, but you don’t want to be a ghost either. Finding a balance of posting, commenting, and sharing will keep you more visible than users who don’t.
By posting somewhat regularly, you’ll show up toward the top of your connections’ feed. This creates more engagement opportunities, creating even more visibility. Kate Wade says that when in doubt, shoot to create thought-leadership-type posts or light-hearted observations to build connections.
“Post at least once a week but not more than once per day. You can comment on content, share others’ content, or create your own.” –Elissa Harris, mbaMission
It doesn’t take much effort to have a visually appealing LinkedIn profile that will draw in recruiters. You’d be surprised how many job seekers neglect these seemingly easy steps. The key is to craft a profile that fits your personal brand and to make consistent efforts to update your profile. Soon enough, you’ll find recruiters looking your way!