People are researching you. All kinds of people use all kinds of ways to learn about you. LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to control what they discover about your strengths and, more important, about your brand. Who are these people? People you know. People who want to know you. People who matter: Your prospects, employees,prospective employers, managers, clients, board members etc. They all use LinkedIn to learn about others. They search for you before meeting you for the first time or after reading an article that you were featured in or when deciding whether to respond to your email. (After all, what do you do when you hear someone’s name you are recommended to talk to, google them…)
I help many professionals to rebrand their LinkedIn profiles and résumés to find a job or influence key people. Also, I’ve branded (and conducted LinkedIn Branding and Networking training) LinkedIn profiles for a number of people to grow their client portfolios. I was fortunate to talk with a recruiter, my inside informant shall we say, to find out what recruiters look for on LinkedIn profiles. In this article, I show you what they are looking for when they view YOUR LinkedIn profile. When looking at a LinkedIn profile, there are several critical areas the recruiter looks for to gauge who you are and what you have to offer.
First and foremost: Change your perspective about your worth. The first and most important factor to tackle is mind-set. You have to believe that all of your knowledge, experience, skills, relationships and combined expertise are market worthy. I tell my clients frequently, if you don’t know or understand how much you’re worth, don’t expect anyone else to. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Never, sell yourself short. If you cannot sell you to yourself, then why should anyone else buy you?
Secondly: Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Hopefully you do because without having a profile, it’s an immediate red flag. Having a LinkedIn profile is a signal that you have kept up with current job trends and know how to job search and network today.
Are you open to a new opportunity? Is it written on your profile or suggested in the text? Recruiters don’t want to waste their time if you aren’t ready for new employment. A simple sentence like, “Connect with me, I am open to opportunities” is subtle yet lets the recruiter know they can reach out.
Network size is also important. While it doesn’t help you to have masses of connections for the sake of it, some recruiters will think less of candidates with few connections. LinkedIn has built in some features that are designed specifically to reward you for having a big, quality network. Does that mean you should build your network just because LinkedIn wants you to? It depends. It depends on your reasons (I call it strategy) for using LinkedIn. Are you using LinkedIn to find people, clients or a job? Do you want to be found by others (recruiters, investors, clients, employers, boards etc.)? Or are you on LinkedIn, “just in case”?
Profile Picture is a MUST! You must have a profile picture on your LinkedIn profile. Profiles missing profile pictures are a red flag to your professionalism and seriousness. Not only do you need a profile picture but you need a profile picture that casts you in a professional light.
Include a professional headline. Your professional headline is the 120 characters ‘tag line’ which goes with you everywhere in LinkedIn. Don’t leave this blank or accept the default option, which LinkedIn provides. Include keywords which potential clients (or employers) will use to find someone like you. For example, I’ve just helped a seasoned financial planner to write a branded LinkedIn profile to differentiate herself from insurance policy product sellers and attract more clients. Check out her new attention getting headline: 20+ Yrs Experienced Certified Financial Planner®, Inspiring Author, Investment Strategist, Empowering Public Speaker, Engaging Radio Personality, Cultivating Strong Relationships.
Career Trajectory. From the recruiter’s perspective, your work history section is a critical aspect of your profile. Recruiters look at the companies you’ve worked for, how long you’ve been at each position, your job title, your responsibilities and your accomplishments. A barebones, skeletal experience section doesn’t wow a recruiter and keeps them searching for other candidates.
An engaging summary. The summary section is important to clarify your work history. It’s often viewed after the work experience to figure out who you are. Have you changed career paths? Recruiters use the summary section to explain any questions or confusion that arose from your experience section when they don’t see what they were expecting to see. When explaining your transitions in your work experience, the more keywords related to the field you’re now in (or want to be in) and relating common skillsets, the easier it is for the recruiter to decide if you’re the right fit.
Are you now scratching your head wondering how to get YOUR profile up to snuff? Stop scratching and invest in branding yourself! Now is YOUR TIME! Now is YOUR TIME TO DIFFERENTIATE AND BRAND YOURSELF.
This article may be copied or republished with the following credit: “By Karl Smith, Personal Brand and Networking Thought Leader, Author, Speaker and Coach, Cape Town.
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