Regardless of what stage of the job-search process you're in, you can never go wrong with an outstanding LinkedIn profile. With over 133 million users in the U.S. alone, LinkedIn is widely regarded as the top professional social networking site and a good number of recruiters use LinkedIn as a source when hiring.
Where are we going with this? The point is, LinkedIn is a gold mine for professionals interested in job networking. However, to effectively use LinkedIn in networking and job search, your profile needs to be optimized so you can be discovered by the right people like recruiters and professionals in the field, who can help you land the next job opportunity.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is a small but necessary investment you should make if you want to build a successful career. Now, if you're wondering how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile to give you an advantage in your job search, read on.
Keep your summary brief and interesting. The summary is a vital part of every LinkedIn profile, think of it as an elevator pitch to potential recruiters and hiring managers. An ideal summary should be brief, around 3–5 short paragraphs. You want to make it short enough to retain their interests but compelling enough to make them want to reach out for more. As the name implies, a summary is where you should summarize your passions, core skills and competencies, professional experiences and career accomplishments. Essentially, whatever it is you want to highlight about yourself should be done here. It is also important to understand that your LinkedIn profile is not a resume, so it is okay to showcase a bit of your personality here. Always finish off the summary with a call-to-action that'll guide viewers on what to do next, whether it's recruiting you for a job opening, or reaching out for networking purposes.
Perfect your headline. Your LinkedIn profile headline is like a personal tag that appears with your name. Now, if you were to have a tag attached to you, wouldn't you want it to be something that aligns with your personal brand? It can be tempting to use your job title and company, but if you're actively job hunting, then it is not recommended. That said, as a job seeker, you should use a headline that advertises your specialty, value proposition or the job title you are interested in. Your headline is the first thing recruiters see when they visit your profile, so it would be a good idea to make it something that sets your apart from the go.
Embed engaging multimedia elements. LinkedIn lets you add audio, photos, videos, documents and slideshow presentations to your profile summary and these media elements can go a long way in boosting your profile. You can include them in your summary, work experiences, education or any other section of the profile you deem fit. The media elements help to keep the viewer engaged, it serves like an incentive for them to keep scrolling down your profile. Nonetheless, it is imperative that any media you embed in your profile is one that supports your brand and will leave a compelling impression on the viewer.
Utilize useful LinkedIn features. There's a reason LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking social network. It's partly because the platform is designed with an array of features users can leverage to boost their profile and improve their chances of being discovered by the right contacts. For instance, the ‘open to new opportunities’ feature lets recruiters and other companies know that you're interested to new opportunities without notifying the current employer listed on your profile. This way, if there’s a match on the recruiter’s end, they can reach out to you about new opportunities and if you're open to it, you can switch to a better job without the inconvenience of actively searching for a job. Another useful feature is making sure your profile is visible to everyone, you never know who might be looking for someone with your skill set and experience. This feature can be found in your profile privacy settings.
Consider the algorithms and SEO. The importance of having a LinkedIn profile optimized for search engines can't be overemphasized. The platform uses a machine learning algorithm to parse millions of profiles for relevant keywords. Keywords are specific industry-related words that recruiters search for in the profiles of potential hires. If you want to get noticed by recruiters and employers in your industry, you must be willing to put yourself, or in this case, your profile out there. Relevant keywords should be used liberally on your profile to increase your visibility and chances of being seen by recruiters.
Keep your page active. Here's the thing, LinkedIn is not an online platform where you put up your resume and hope to be contacted by recruiters. It is first and foremost, a social networking platform. Think of it like Facebook or Twitter, but for professionals. To get the most out of LinkedIn, beyond optimizing your profile and getting all the settings right, you have to keep your profile updated and active. This means sending invitations to colleagues, engaging other users on the platform, whether it is by liking, commenting on or sharing posts that you deem educative and relevant. You can also join groups relevant to your professional interests where you can meet like-minded individuals in your industry and share ideas. There's no telling the useful connections you'll make in there.
Creating a strong LinkedIn profile that communicates and displays the right information is a key step towards your professional career success. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile by taking these steps will ensure that you have a profile that highlights the very best of your competencies and will leave an incredible impression on your viewers. By utilizing the tips listed above, you’ll soon see how valuable LinkedIn is in your job search.
Now, this is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to optimizing your job search. If you need help bringing different elements together, or if you prefer a more personalized approach, head to BrunswikSt.com and check out our "Career Workshops" page.