LinkedIn has become a beneficial tool for job seekers as more and more companies are using the platform to scout for applicants. Because of that, it is important to maintain a clear profile and ensure a professional public persona in order to stand out among other candidates and increase the likelihood of landing a job.
Whether you are actively applying to jobs through LinkedIn or just using your profile to network, these tips will help enhance your LinkedIn presence.
1. Align Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Resume
Prospective employers shouldn’t have to do any heavy lifting when it comes to finding out who you are on LinkedIn. Allow them to easily see what you do or want to do just by looking at your profile. The “About” section is a great space to elaborate on this – allowing you to describe exactly what you are looking for in your job search. For instance, if you want an entry level administrative position, you could say something like: “Seeking entry level administrative positions to utilize my organizational skills and proactive, action-oriented mentality.” The more complete (yet succinct) story you can tell about yourself, the easier it is for employers to see if you are a match for what they are seeking.
2. Use Keywords and Update Your Skills Section
Hiring managers often search for candidates through keywords to find employees who fit their job specifications. This is why it is so important to use keywords throughout your profile, including the headline, summary, and the body. What are key words? Words that directly link to your skills and desired job. For instance, if you are an administrative professional, your keywords might be: Administrative Professional, Microsoft Outlook, Calendar Management, Data Entry, etc. LinkedIn also offers a “Skills and Endorsements” section that allows you to select specific skills and display the top skills you would like prospective employers to see. Use this to your advantage!
3. Display a Profile Picture
When it comes to LinkedIn, anonymity is not the best option. People like to know who they are connecting with, and a photo is the best way to do this. But, select your photo wisely—after all, it is the first impression you’ll make online and LinkedIn has a more professional audience than say, Facebook or Instagram. To that end, make sure your photo is professional and aligns with the type of role you aspire to have – avoid wedding or outing photos, or pictures from your wild college days. Plus, your photo shouldn’t be too old, so make sure it’s taken within the past couple of years. If you can’t find a professional picture, have a friend take a picture of you against a blank wall or in “portrait mode” on your iPhone if that’s available.
4. Engage with Companies that Interest You
Use your profile to network and find organizations or companies that interest you. Once you’ve identified them, connect with key people in the organization through LinkedIn, including the hiring manager or other executives. Plus, being active within LinkedIn groups can foster relationship-building with a prospective employer. Writing posts, engaging in discussions and/or sending relevant updates can make a big difference in getting noticed.
5. Ask For Recommendations
When you’re starting out, aim for around five good recommendations posted on your profile. These can come from coaches, previous managers, professors, or individuals that have supervised you in a professional role. When asking for a recommendation, provide a quick summary of your skills, strengths, and services, as this will enable your contacts to more easily write an accurate account of how well you performed your job. Also, be sure to return the favor and write a recommendation for them!