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A LinkedIn profile is one of the most useful tools that one can use to further a career. However, it can be easy to ignore if you already have a job. But are you happy where you are now, career-wise? If not, you need to keep that profile updated, professional-looking and improved on continuously. Who knows, that manager or recruiter from your dream job could suddenly go on a recruiting run, stumble on your profile, and you could soon find yourself getting paid doing what you’ve always sought out to do.
Alternatively, that manager could easily miss your profile--perhaps even skip it altogether--if it lacks that certain ‘oomph.’ So how do you ensure you attract that recruiting manager’s eyes when they come looking? Use these seven ways to boost your LinkedIn profile and get found.
1. Use a Current, Professional-Looking Photo
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, and a blank profile photo does not a professional make. In order for marketers and recruiters to trust you as an actual person, they want to know that you have an actual face. That said, you need to put in some work into having a decent profile picture for your LinkedIn account. It doesn’t have to be expensive--just wear something formal, stand in front of a solid-colored wall, and snap a few shots with your phone. Put those selfie skills to good use and touch the photo up a bit if it helps. Expert tip: Avoid using any picture that’s more than a year old, or looks like it belongs on another, more casual or informal type of social media like Facebook or Instagram.
2. Write a Catchy Headline
LinkedIn only gives you one line to describe who you are and what you do. Filling that line is easier said than done, that’s why it’s not unusual for people to take the safe route and simply settle with their current job title. Though there’s nothing wrong with this approach, it definitely can be improved upon, so instead of your job title alone, spruce up the headline by adding a value proposition, or how you improve customers’ experiences at your current job. For instance, if you’re an IT specialist, your headline could be: “IT Technician: Ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of IT systems.” By including a value prop to your headline, you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from the competition and attract the recruiters’ eyes to your capabilities.
3. Connect with Recruiters
Job hunters have a certain animosity toward recruiters, often viewing them as the enemy. The common notion is that recruiters and their agencies are part of a large conspiracy against employees and are constantly giving applicants the shorter end of the stick. On the contrary, you need to treat recruiters as your friend and not your foe, especially on LinkedIn. In fact, it’s in your best interest to connect with them on the platform. Consider this: the job of a recruiter is to find the most qualified applicants for a vacant job position, meaning they are ALWAYS on the lookout for the best candidates. Thus, you should never hesitate to connect with a recruiter. Be sure to accompany your LinkedIn invite with a personal message telling them why you want to connect.
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4. Update Your Current Responsibilities
Did you get promoted at your current job? Have your responsibilities grown? Or perhaps you found a new job and forgot to update your profile? Recruiters and potential employers looking at your profile may want to know about them, so make sure to edit or overhaul your title, location, and responsibilities, as soon as they change, because these are often the first few things that people will check on your profile.
5. Focus on Visuals
People only spend around six to 15 seconds to read a professional resume, so you need to catch their attention in a very short span of time. Visuals help you do just that. Make your LinkedIn profile visually arresting by harnessing visual content (e.g. photos, infographics, slideshare presentations), making the best stuff easy to find (putting relevant experiences as close to the top as possible), and being thoughtful about what you highlight (using bolding, italicizing, and underlining techniques to emphasize key words or phrases strategically). Take the time to learn about the visual tools offered by LinkedIn. With all the options at your command, it would be a mistake not to incorporate them into your profile.
6. Craft an Impressive Summary
You’ve got their attention, now it’s time to keep them. Use your summary to expound on what people see on your headline. Showcase career experiences, significant awards and accolades, and examples of leadership. You need to keep your ego in check though--you don’t want to appear like you’re bragging. Some prefer to write their summary in third-person to avoid sounding narcissistic, but both first-person and third-person perspectives can work as long as you stay consistent with the tone. Don’t jump from one perspective to another, as it can confuse the reader. Avoid technical jargon, and keep wording organized and easy to read. Go over your summary to make sure there are no typos, misspellings, and poor grammar. Keep characters to 2,000 at most.
7. Harness the Power of Keywords
Keywords are extremely important to a LinkedIn profile, as it can spell the difference between getting found by your dream employer or not. To use keywords effectively, you first need to use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner or WordTracker to identify the ones that you must use in your profile. LinkedIn indexes these keywords, which can make it easier for people to find you. First-degree connections always appear first in LinkedIn search results, so connecting with those recruiters play a part here. The title and summary section of your profile are most essential places to use your keywords, but it can help to add them to other sections as well. The ‘interest and ‘skills and expertise’ sections are other good places for keyword insertion.
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