As a job seeker in today’s competitive job market, it’s not enough to have a simple resume. With membership now more than 575 million worldwide and more than 9 million in Australia, LinkedIn is your most powerful career development asset when you use it correctly. Yet many people find LinkedIn overwhelming or a time drain or confusing.
Current research suggests:
- There are more than 575 million LinkedIn users worldwide
- There are more than 9 million LinkedIn users in Australia
- LinkedIn currently has more than 15 million active job listings
- More than 122 million LinkedIn users have got a job interview from their profile
- More than 90% of recruitment agencies use LinkedIn
- 77% of all job openings are now listed on LinkedIn
(Source: LeisureJobs, The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheat Sheet)
Be found by recruiters
There are job opportunities out there that you may be completely unaware of. When you optimise your profile, you can be found by recruiters and hiring managers who use LinkedIn to search for candidates. If you don’t have a presence on the site, you won’t come up during searches. Having a LinkedIn account also means that you can use the site to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers, which is helpful before submitting applications and showing up to interviews.
Do your research – keywords matter
As you create your profile, look at some of the job postings that interest you and that you believe would be a good fit for your skills, experience and interests. As you search you should see keywords listed in the job titles, duties and skills that keep occurring. Most hiring managers conduct their searches using these keywords. You need to identify the ones that pertain to the roles you are seeking and include them throughout your profile. The most important areas of your profile to use these keywords are you’re your headline, summary (about), work history and education.
Make the right first impression
When recruiters and hiring managers want to learn about you in a professional capacity, they’ll go straight to LinkedIn or they’ll google you. Even if they start with Google, they’ll end up at your LinkedIn profile because it will likely show up at the top of the search. Since your profile is being used to evaluate you, you want to create a powerful first impression that reaches a broad audience and is consistent with how people connect with you in the real world.
The format LinkedIn created for your profile is ideal for showing the world your authentic, differentiated and compelling personal brand. The four most important elements used to convey this are your:
- Summary (About) and
Use a professional headshot
A picture is worth a thousand words! Invest in a professional headshot and crop your image so that 60–80% of the frame is your face. And don’t forget to smile. It’s the universal welcome message. Use an image that projects professionalism and makes it easy for the recruiter to literally “see” you “fitting” the role. So, choose your image wisely.
Communicate your relevance in the headline
Your headline helps communicate relevance. Be original and creative but clear and informative. Make sure you include the most relevant keywords that will tie you and your experience to your target industry and profession. This is especially important if you are hoping to obtain a position in a field that is very different from your prior work experience.
Highlight your experience in the summary (about)
The Summary (About) section of your LinkedIn profile is a great way to highlight what makes you unique and indispensable to your industry. It needs to prove you are accomplished while demonstrating that you are human and likable. There’s plenty of room to provide all the details about your work history in the Experience section. Use your summary to give the recruiter or hiring manager more information by including keywords or terms that link your preferred position with your past results.
Showcase your skills
The Skills & Endorsements section is an important component to your profile. It’s a way that recruiters can find you and how your connections can see, at a glance, your core competencies. In fact, your profile is more likely to get viewed if it includes skills. Focus on the skills that highlight your strongest assets and are most relevant to your career goals and include keywords that are relevant to your skills and experience.
Use your resume to write the experience section
When completing the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile it is important to include employment (current and past), education, and industry. While you might not include every job in your past on your resume, it is appropriate to include your entire work history on LinkedIn. Don’t stop at listing just the job title and your dates of employment. Offer detailed descriptions of the actual work that you performed for each position as well as your key accomplishments. Give the recruiter more information by including keywords or terms that link your preferred position with your past results.
Include your accomplishments
Use the Accomplishments section of LinkedIn to highlight projects you’ve worked on, publications you have contributed to, languages you know, and other credentials you have earned.
Include volunteer experience and causes:
- A LinkedIn survey reports that volunteer experience can give job candidates an edge with hiring managers. 41% of the professionals surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience.
- 20% of the hiring managers surveyed have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.
Get social and connect
LinkedIn allows employers, employees, customers, friends, colleagues and peers to interact and connect with one another in exciting and new ways. Once your profile is complete, go ahead and search for your current and past employers, peers, colleagues and clients and connect with them.
Ask them for recommendations and endorsements
After you’ve connected, don’t be afraid to ask them for recommendations and endorsements. Positive online references can only help to make you more appealing to that hiring manager that’s come across your profile in their search results.
Search for job openings and research companies
Following each of the above steps will increase your chances of being contacted by a recruiter, but you don’t have to wait for one to contact you. Once you’ve created your profile, you can search for job openings and research companies that you would like to know more about and connect with them directly on the site.
Join industry groups and associations
LinkedIn also allows you to join groups that are centred on specific industries and associations as well as interests and causes, so you can increase both your social circle and your chances of connecting with a recruiter by joining groups related to your current or target industry.
Your LinkedIn profile page is so much more than a résumé or CV. This is your opportunity to market your skills and experience to a potential employer, so it’s vital that you make sure that your profile page is as engaging as possible.
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