Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Recruiter Magnet
Best practices for creating your LinkedIn profile
We know what you’re thinking: “Ugh, I just spent 10 hours getting my resume sharp - now I have to do a whole new profile?”
Well, good news! The time you spent on your resume will come in handy with LinkedIn. That’s because LinkedIn operates very similarly to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Just like the ATS prioritizes your resume when it has the right keywords (e.g., the job title, the skills from the job description), LinkedIn’s algorithm will help you rise to the top of recruiters’ searches for those same keywords.
And the best part of LinkedIn is that it’s always working for you, 24/7/365. Unlike a resume that only gets seen when you apply for a job, the world’s recruiters are constantly searching on LinkedIn, giving you a chance at getting found for a job you didn’t even know existed. So definitely take the awesome Summary and Experience sections you built for your resume and get those up on LinkedIn right now!
But don’t stop there - there are three parts of LinkedIn that go above and beyond what a resume can do. So here’s how to take advantage of them:
1) Your LinkedIn Profile Holy Trinity
Three pieces of information about you appear everywhere you show up on the site: Your name, your photo, and your headline. While you can’t do anything about the first (thanks Mom!), you can definitely optimize the last two items to make the best possible impression across LinkedIn.
Photo - Even in this age of resume screening technology and algorithms, people still hire people. Which means that your photo is your most human shot to win over the human on the other side of the screen. So focus on what humans judge the most: faces (no long-distance shots), smiles (make sure it’s genuine), and attire (make sure you’re dressed for the job you want - business casual for Silicon Valley, formal for Wall St. - not the one you used to have).
- Headline - Not only do you need to get your desired job title in the headline (“Aspiring Account Manager”) to win over LinkedIn’s search algorithm, you want to catch the recruiter’s eye with a bit of your personality. So don’t hesitate to give a sense of what’s driving your interest in the role (“Aspiring Account Manager, Hungry to Turn Small Companies into Big Ones!”).
2) Your LinkedIn Recommendations
While a resume is only as credible as you are, the beautiful thing about a LinkedIn profile is that recruiters don’t just have to take you at your word. Instead, they can check your Recommendations section to see whether anyone can vouch for your skills and experience. As such, be sure to get at least one person you’ve worked with closely to provide this 3rd party validation. And don’t just leave it to chance (e.g., “Sylvia’s great - love her!”). Instead, ask your Recommender to focus on the key themes you’re building your profile around (ideally vouching for the exact skills the recruiter put on his job description.
3) Your LinkedIn Network
At this point, you’ve probably met thousands of people over the course of your life. And who knows which one of those people just happens to know the recruiter at your dream company - or even your future boss? Well, LinkedIn knows - so long as you get those real-world connections online. That’s because LinkedIn is like a giant flashlight, illuminating the hidden web of connections that tie us all together. So here’s the fastest way to turn your personal network into your LinkedIn network:
- Import your address books from every email account you can get your hands on (including personal, military, school, old jobs).
Note: Don’t worry if you end up inviting some people you only know a little bit. Not only is this totally fine on LinkedIn (since you’ll only be sharing professional updates, not party photos!) but these can actually be some of the most powerful connections. That’s because sociological research has shown that “weak ties” can plug you into more opportunities than good friends and family, who all know the same people and organizations as you.
- One other side benefit: In addition to keywords, LinkedIn’s search algorithm also tends to favor closer connections. So when recruiters look for talent on the platform, you’ll be more likely to show up on their radars if you know someone in common (having imported your contacts) than if you were a distant stranger.
For more on optimizing your LinkedIn profile, grab Shift’s complete guide here. And then get ready to begin your search!