By this point, you probably have a LinkedIn profile and are familiar with how to use the site. You’ve filled out the profile requirements and made sure your LinkedIn presence is professional and polished (and if you’re super on top of it, you might have added a cover photo!), but can you say your profile is recruiter-friendly?
It’s a great idea to invest some time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile specifically for recruiters, because many companies use a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter to search for candidates via keywords, location, industry and a number of other parameters. I know this because I was a recruiter for a number of years, and LinkedIn Recruiter and I were BFFs. Plus, with 250+ million users, you can see why recruiters use this tool A LOT.
To stand out from the millions of other LinkedIn profiles, you’ll want to make sure you’re maximizing your profile features, in particular: keywords, job titles, and recommendations.
Include relevant keywords and phrases in the Headline and Summary section so that your profile will emerge when recruiters search for potential candidates. Include the keywords and phrases in short, concise blocks of information to make it easy for recruiters to not only find you, but to understand your experience – trust me, nobody searching millions of profiles wants to read an essay. Here’s how to best use keywords in the Headline and Summary:
You have 120 characters to craft a headline that provides a unique professional description, so use them wisely! If you just put your current job title or “sales professional searching for new opportunities,” it’s not going to do you any favors when recruiters search for candidates. One of the best ways to get ideas for a good headline is to search for people on LinkedIn who are in your field, or the field you want to be in. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a role with increased responsibility in the same industry, search for more senior people in your field. Do you see any similarities among those headlines, like common keywords or phrasing patterns? You want to construct your headline so it demonstrates exactly who you want to be next. Your headline is also the most critical component of your LinkedIn profile when it comes to SEO; it’s the most highly rated field in the index. What does this mean? Keywords listed in the headline field will have a greater impact, increasing your ranking among other users for the same terms. As an example, consider the following headlines:
“Operations Associate – Operations Manager for Thermo-printing Division”
The second version provides both more keyword detail and a clearer explanation of the job. LinkedIn currently allows you 100 spaces for your job title, and, as usual, using as many as possible for appropriate keywords is smart.
A summary is essential to a profile and doesn’t have to be more than a few lines, although you can use up to 2,000 characters. Within that space, you should highlight your background, major accomplishments, and your goals. Write it in first person and make it personal. The summary helps the recruiter get to know you beyond your résumé. Tell a brief story about why you love what you do or why you want to do something new. This is the way to stand out and make recruiters want to meet you. Organize the summary so it’s easy to read, or better yet, easy to scan. If you are just starting out in your career, describe what made you choose the field you’re targeting.
LinkedIn is built on connections. The more you have, the more your network grows! A larger network allows for more people to find you and therefore, to reach out to you. By listing all your previous jobs, internships, volunteer work and special projects, you will create more shared opportunities to connect.
The best way to build credibility and stand out to recruiters is through third-party recommendations. Ask for recommendations from professors, managers, colleagues and mentors – don’t be shy! Collect a diverse list of recommendations—one for each job is great—to make your profile extra impressive.
Don’t underestimate the power of these simple tasks! It only takes a few minutes to make these changes, and having a keyword-rich LinkedIn profile can really give you a leg up in your job search.
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Lauren McGoodwin is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief for Career Contessa, a collection of informational interviews with women across a variety of occupations that provide career inspiration, direction and information.