Following on from the last article I put together, which tried to answer the question of when is the best time to move (by saying there isn’t really a good time) I wanted to move on to addressing the next step for the prospective job hunter: optimising your LinkedIn profile.
As with everything else concerning recruitment, there are many thousands of people already addressing this topic in various corners of the internet, LinkedIn and elsewhere, with articles like this offering 16 tips, this offering 11 tips, and this offering a very impressive 35 tips.
In this article, I’m not looking to provide ‘tips’ as to how to quickly change parts of your profile (you’ve already had 60), instead I wanted to address a couple of points that I think make a difference, from a recruiter’s perspective, when looking at candidate profiles, and can potentially make the difference when I’m headhunting for roles.
The Header/ Banner/ Picture/ Top Bit.
An example – mine
From my point of view, this initial snapshot of you is the most important part of your profile in terms of the impression that is given about you. When I conduct a search on LinkedIn your name, position, photograph and location is what I see first. Therefore, it’s important to address this section before any other.
As before, I’m going to avoid going into the technicalities of how to change your LinkedIn picture, ((11 more tips for that here (we’re now up to 73 if you’re counting)) but generally explain the basics, without over thinking the process involved.
In terms of your profile picture, above all, the best bit of advice would be to make sure you have one. You’re 14 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have an image uploaded to your profile.
Regarding content, I would try to ensure that it’s you and only you in the picture, and that you are looking professional. If you’re perfect for a role I’m working on then I won’t reject you based solely on your picture, but first impressions are extremely important.
In terms of the text, I would recommend indicating your expertise as far as possible in the headline. Obviously if you’re still in work then the headline should contain your job title, but if you’re out of work and actively looking then something like:
Sales Manager – Pumps – Actively looking for new opportunities
Is fine. Lastly, it’s obviously always worth making sure that your location and the sector you work in are accurate.
My Summary – detailing my contact details as a recruiter and some details about Charlton Morris
There are a couple of ways that you can approach this section of your LinkedIn profile. Obviously the example I have posted in here is mine which (I think) is a strong example of a summary for a recruiter. It includes my contact info, a brief overview of the markets I cover and some company information about the business I work for, Charlton Morris.
From a candidate’s point of view here are 4 more tips (77 now!) for how to write an engaging summary of your profile. This is effectively your elevator pitch, so a brief overview of your achievements that aren’t listed with your previous positions is useful, along with a brief introduction to you personally. List things that make you stand out from those other 25 sales managers that a recruiter will be analysing in this search, and try to have your personality come across in as positive a light as you can. If in doubt, ask someone to proof read before uploading.
Being succinct, concise and direct is also very important and feel free to include images if they can add to your image as a candidate. Pictures of your last fishing trip are unlikely to do this, unless you are looking for a role as a fisherman. If this is the case, then this site might be useful.
Once again – my experience. I’ve found that captions for sections of your own LinkedIn profile are as difficult to write as the profile itself.
The experience section can be the most important section of your profile, if you include the right information. Again, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of writing the experience section, you can find some excellent tips here (which takes us to 99 for the article), but I would be more concerned with the general tone you convey, and the specific facts and figures that best demonstrate your expertise.
As with the summary section, from my point of view as the recruiter, the most important thing that your experience section can do is to differentiate yourself from the other thousands of candidates on the market.
It is key to remember that everyone has access to the LinkedIn profile, so it doesn’t make sense to copy the blurbs and descriptions found on the profiles of those similar to you. Chances are that there is only one open position, so it’s paramount to ensure that you put your best foot forward in this section.
Include points that make you stand out. If you’re in a commercial position, did you win any awards? Operations – did you have 0 NPT incidents? Consistently increase market share or revenue? Perhaps you finished above target for 3,4 or 5 years in a row?
Including specific figures on LinkedIn may not be ideal, but these are the things that will grab the attention of a head hunter or hiring manager, rather than:
I was responsible for a sales team. I sold xxxx products to a wide audience.
All a vague comment does is repeat the job title and prove you can copy and paste.
In this article, I’ve tried to highlight the main things that I look for in a LinkedIn profile. Recommendations from past employers are great, and would certainly enhance your application, but they wouldn’t be something I would jump to first when head hunting for a role.
The same goes for skills – 99+ endorsements for Microsoft Office are excellent, and 99’s across the board do look great, but I consider these extras, and not something that I would bring up with one of my clients when describing you and your profile to them.
For me, the most important parts of any LinkedIn profile are most definitely the Header, Summary and Experience – they are the sections that give you a platform to build upon as a candidate; they are the sections that will make you stand out to a recruiter or hiring manager.
Hopefully, this will have allowed you to get a good idea as to what I think makes up an excellent LinkedIn profile. If you’ve decided to try and find a new opportunity, and were lost as to how to approach your LinkedIn as a first step, then I hope this article serves as a loose guide as to how to approach that.
For the 100th and final tip (if you don’t count the fishing one), if you are seriously considering a move, then I strongly recommend that you get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential chat about your situation, and also remember to follow Charlton Morris on LinkedIn for the latest vacancies in your sector and other recruitment insights.