Are you actively using your LinkedIn profile to connect with recruiters and find a new job? Or are you scratching your head at the idea of actively using LinkedIn?
You’re not alone.
Many of the clients that work with me have either never heard of LinkedIn, heard of LinkedIn but don’t know what it can do for them, or have a bare-bones profile and no idea what to do next. There are over 87% of recruiters actively using LinkedIn to find candidates but far fewer job seekers actively using LinkedIn. My goal is to fill in that gap.
There are even specific steps you can take to boost your profile, improve your chances of appearing in recruiter searches on LinkedIn, and ultimately attracting recruiters with minimal effort on your part.
1 | Understand What Recruiters Do
If you don’t know what recruiters do or who they work for, let me give you a crash course: Recruiters don’t work for job seekers. They work for employers. A recruiter’s job is to fill open positions that they are hired to fill. In other words, you’re burning a bridge in the blink of an eye (or a click of a Send Message button) if you’re messaging recruiters asking them to find you a job.
Instead, you need to position yourself as the candidate who may solve that recruiter’s problem or fill an opening that the recruiter is working hard to fill. The best way to present yourself as a solution is to have your job target and Branding Statement (or elevator pitch) already determined.
With your job target established, you can target your profile for your ideal job. With your Branding Statement ready to go, you have a great opening line for your first communications with a recruiter.
Don’t skip this step.
2 | Add Up To 50 Skills
LinkedIn’s Skills sections allow you to add up to 50 job-related keywords (or Skills) that recruiters may use to search for a candidate just like you. Take advantage of this space. Too many of my clients list less than 10 Skills before working with me, and this is laziness is only minimizing your chances of being contacted by a recruiter.
LinkedIn allows you to choose your Top 3 Skills and then categorizes the rest automatically which will affect which skills are visible first when that section is expanded. For this reason, you should choose your Top 3 Skills wisely.
These should not be transferable skills like “Communication” or “Problem Solving” but rather job-related skills that are key to your job target. For example, an accountant should list “Accounting” as one of her Top 3 Skills and an operations manager should list “Operations Management” as one of his Top 3 Skills.
3 | Update Your Experience
Your Experience section on your LinkedIn profile should reflect the content found on your resume. You should have similar keyword-optimized job descriptions and either highlight your achievements or related skills in action in a bullet list. You can also add a short “Related Skills” section to each position you list to maximize your profile’s visibility in search results.
Before reaching out to recruiters who may be using your profile as their primary source of information about you, make sure your Experience section is up-to-date. Double-check your work history timeline to make sure there won’t be any accidental red flags from a mistype. Also review your content for any misspellings or grammar issues.
If this is your first impression to a recruiter, you don’t want your profile to look sloppy or incomplete.
4 | Spruce Up Your Headline
Another great reason to have your Branding Statement polished and ready to go is to spruce up your Headline. When you first create a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will create a default Headline that reflects your Position Title and Company Name or will simply say “Student.” Use your Headline to stand out in search results and attract recruiters!
You have 120 characters to showcase your top job-related skills and career goals within a Headline. Avoid adding symbols or icons to your Headline which is still considered unprofessional and tacky. Instead of listing a bunch of skills in your Headline, present yourself as the solution to some problem.
5 | Use Open Candidate
Open Candidate is one of the most underutilized tools for job seekers on LinkedIn. When you turn on your Open Candidate beacon, you discreetly notify recruiters with a paid LinkedIn account (These are the recruiters who are serious about using LinkedIn to find candidates!) that you are actively looking for a new job. The discreet benefit of Open Candidate is that your employer and co-workers will not be notified or aware that you are using this feature!
You can turn on Open Candidate from the desktop view by clicking on the Jobs tab in the main menu and clicking “Update Career Interests.” You will be able to set your preferences for job titles, company location and size, industry, and job type (such as Full Time, Part Time, etc.). Add a 300-character personal note that will give recruiters more insight into the types of jobs you are open to, and click the toggle to turn on your Open Candidate beacon.
From a mobile device, you can do the same by clicking on the briefcase icon in the main menu to open the Jobs tab and clicking the pencil icon to open your Career Interests settings. Remember to click “Save” before turning on your Open Candidate beacon with the toggle.
Start attracting recruiters to your LinkedIn profile by reworking your profile content to present you as a solution to their problem!