As recruiters, we comb through thousands of LinkedIn profiles. With so many people moving across our screen, we look for “green flags,” or commonalities in the profiles of our strongest candidates. Here are some profile elements that the best candidates do not miss:
A Quality Photo of Yourself:
Your profile photo is the first impression of your LinkedIn profile. Missing a photo may come across as unintentional or unfinished. Not only that but having a profile photo may help recruiters recognize you from previous conversations and solidify who you are in their mind.
When creating a profile photo, there is no need to schedule an appointment with a professional, as most of the time a colleague or friend with a smartphone will do the trick. The key is to use natural lighting when possible, avoid a busy background (no car selfies, please), dress professionally, and avoid any heavy filters.
A Clear Headline:
To make yourself stand out, be sure that your headline clearly and quickly communicates what you do. Bonus points if it gives us an indication of why you do what you do.
Your headline does not have to be just your job title and employer, while that is a perfectly good way to introduce yourself. Especially if you have a job title that is unique to your organization or may be unclear to people outside it, consider using an action phrase to describe what you do, rather than stating your job title.
For an example of a creative headline that still clearly communicates a role, look to Kay Linder, a recruiter on our Nonprofit team at ThinkingAhead. Her LinkedIn headline says, “Connecting Exceptional Innovators in Non Profit as a Partner/Recruiter @ ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Focused and successful work with DEI.”
A Summary That Sounds Like You:
With AI and auto-generation features, we find that we see too many ‘about’ sections that regurgitate generic job descriptions and vacant buzzwords. These tell us nothing about who you are and show a lack of effort in branding yourself. Your LinkedIn profile is meant to be a snapshot of who you are as a professional and is a place for you to use your own voice.
Think of how you would recite your elevator pitch. You would speak in first person, be clear and brief, and tell a short story about what you do, how you got there, and what sets you apart from people who also do what you do. These are the same guideposts to use when crafting your summary. You could even add a fun fact or list a couple of your passions or interests at the end of the summary. A personal touch goes a long way to make you memorable and connected with your audience.
Tangible Accomplishments in Your Experience:
Do not stop at listing your experience, describe your experience! Especially in your most recent roles, we want to get a glimpse of your professional story. Be sure to mention promotions, accomplishments, accolades, and milestones. Rather than listing your responsibilities, list measurable results of your work and how they impacted your organization. Much like a resume, consider your experience section to me a running log of your best milestones and achievements in your career.
Testimonials are the most powerful form of marketing. Having recent testimonials in your profile is a clear indication of your character and skill. It is a simple way to tell a recruiter, “I do what I say I do, and I do it well.”
Requesting a testimonial from a client or employer may feel a little bit uncomfortable, so it is important to keep in mind that if you are proud of the service you have provided, then the person receiving those services is likely quite happy to write a quick review. Out of integrity though, we suggest you only ask for testimonials from people for whom you would gladly write a glowing one as well.
Supportive, Relevant Activity:
Being active in conversations relevant to your field on LinkedIn is an indication that you are a lifelong learner and interested in being a well-informed citizen of your industry. You want to share your expertise and experiences and benefit from the experience of those around you. You don’t have to post an original piece of content regularly to be active on LinkedIn.
While LinkedIn is by no means the only tool recruiters use to source candidates, having a healthy and accurate profile can go a long way to ensuring you are top of mind with recruiters when the right time for a change rolls around.
Have you already spiffed up your profile and are ready to start looking for a job? Take a look at our opportunities page.