Five LinkedIn tips for candidates.
October 10, 2012
Today’s job market is competitive, and it’s tough out there for job seekers. While candidates with certain specialised skills will be turning down job offers left, right and centre, it’s not like that for everyone.
We’ve put together our five top tips for candidates for ‘pimping out’ your LinkedIn profile. Most of these things are straightforward and can be set up pretty quickly, and a couple of them may take time, but these key things will help you stand out from the crowd.
The best way to think about your LinkedIn profile is as an online CV, with a few modern twists!
1. Professional headline
Most people use this in its most obvious form, which is to detail their job title and the company they work for. This is okay, it’s not wrong by any means, but it is, after all, a headline – use it! You can highlight your key areas of work so people, including recruiters who may offer you your next dream job, can see what you do without having to trawl through your job history and experience. For example, if you’re a web developer, use this space to mention your skillset (C#, PHP, Java etc.) or even include a ‘specialising in…’ section. The text box is fairly small so feel free to construct your headline in something a bit more substantial, such as Word.
This is the first ‘meaty’ section that people will scroll down to when viewing your profile and it is a great opportunity to explain what it is you do. However, remember that this is a summary – not an autobiography. Keep your information succinct, easy to digest, and stick to key, relevant points.
3. Skills and Expertise
In this area you can list up to 50 skills that you have. LinkedIn will suggest things as you type and it’s a good idea to keep these relevant to your industry and the work you do. The first 10 skills you list will appear in a priority position on your profile, so take a moment to think about them and prioritise them carefully – you can drag and drop the skills in the Edit menu too. LinkedIn recently rolled out a new feature where people can endorse your skills, and a small ‘badge’ will be added next to them on your profile when they are endorsed by others. Encourage your contacts to endorse you (you could get the ball rolling by endorsing them first), but don’t force it too much!
These are the references that would normally go hand in hand with your CV, but anyone can view them when they view your full profile. These testimonials are of course beyond your control, as people can write whatever they like about you, but you can choose which recommendations to feature.
5. Companies and Groups
There are groups for almost everything on LinkedIn these days, but you can only join 50 of them. Consider what value you are going to receive from them when you’re looking for new groups to join, and remember that they do show up as a list on your profile. Within groups you can post updates, ask questions (and polls), and, of course, expand your network. If you’ve got something useful or interesting to say or talk about, start or join in with a conversation – it might be just enough to stand out from the crowd to a recruiter or hiring manager.
Many group administrators are careful about who they let in, and while in most cases you will be accepted, if you’ve done the prep work on your profile it will help the admins verify whether to accept your request or not.
Check out Company pages too – groups are a great way to connect with people outside of your network, but you can also follow companies that you have your eye on or are of interest to you. This way you’ll see their updates (which might include job posts!) and find out where the best person to speak to is hiding.
Make sure you have a photo on your profile – people are far more likely to engage with you if you do – but do keep it professional.
Do you have any LinkedIn tips of your own that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
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