By now, most job seekers know that a LinkedIn profile is a must. Most hiring managers and recruiters now use LinkedIn to connect with talented individuals to fill their open positions. It’s not enough just to have a LinkedIn profile, however. You must take the time to ensure that your profile is searchable, attracts the right kind of attention, and paints a detailed picture of who you are as a candidate. If you aren’t getting much traction from your LinkedIn profile, here are five quick fixes that will help you improve your presence.
Use a Professional Photo
A LinkedIn profile without a photo isn’t going to get you many clicks. LinkedIn’s own data suggests that adding a photo results in 14 times more profile views than the generic graphic.
It is critical, however, that the photo you choose looks professional. Don’t upload a photo from your recent family wedding or vacation to the Bahamas. If your company provides headshots, ask if you can use that photo for your profile. If not, take the time to invest in a professional, high-resolution photograph.
Fill Out Your Summary
It can be difficult to write a summary about yourself, but this section of your profile is critical. By writing a summary that is focused on specific skills and keywords, your profile becomes more searchable. You want hiring managers to be able to find you on LinkedIn, and you want them to be interested enough once they find you that they contact you for more information.
The summary is your first introduction to a hiring manger. It should paint a picture that you are skilled, experienced and an interesting person. LinkedIn guidelines recommend also including your personal passions, interests, and goals in your summary, as well. If you have trouble with your summary, it can be useful to work with a professional resume writer or career coach who can help you craft one that is interesting and effective.
Create An Original Headline
Your headline is also an important place for keywords and skills. Along with your name and photo, your headline is the only other information to appear in a preview of LinkedIn search results. Therefore, this is one of the most important fields of your profile. LinkedIn gives users the option to utilize pre-filled headlines, which read something like, “Jane Smith, BI Team Leader at ABC Company.” This headline does not tell anyone that Jane has an advanced degree, or what her specific skills are. If you use the default headline, go into your profile and edit it to create a unique headline that reads, “Jane Smith, PhD | BI Lead | Data Scientist | Applied Analytics.” The customized headline will now help Jane Smith stand out for BI searches, data Science searches and analytics searches.
In order to get the most from LinkedIn, you should secure recommendations from your connections who can speak to the specifics of your work. Recommendations help round out your profile and give hiring managers a better idea of who you are as an employee. Ask your former supervisors and colleagues to write recommendations by sending those people requests through LinkedIn. Be sure to offer one in return, as it is considered proper online etiquette.
Join Groups and Participate Actively
Joining LinkedIn groups serves two real purposes. It can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field, and it gives you a chance to make new connections. Many recruiters and hiring managers join groups and monitor the discussions to see who rises to the top as an expert and thought leader. Always remember to be respectful of others, as you never know who may be watching you.
Be sure not to spam the group with inquires about open positions when you’re on the hunt. Keep the discussions on topic, and make valuable contributions whenever you can, without monopolizing the conversation.