The majority of job seekers are familiar with LinkedIn, one of the world’s largest social media sites. For those job seekers who are not familiar with LinkedIn, it is a business-centric social media site that allows individuals to create an online profile that works like a resume. Not all LinkedIn users are looking for a job, but users can be contacted by potential employers about job opportunities.
If a recruiter or potential employer is interested in a user’s profile, they will contact that person via LinkedIn in-mails or directly via email. If interested, the job seeker can then choose to respond and communicate with the recruiter about potential job offers.
Why is it important to create a LinkedIn profile? You may be able to find jobs on LinkedIn without creating a profile; however, to apply for some jobs on LinkedIn, you submit an application using your LinkedIn profile.
This article will teach you how to create an effective LinkedIn profile. A strong profile will increase your chances of being found and contacted by recruiters looking to fill jobs that you might be perfect for.
Please note: LinkedIn’s format is constantly changing; therefore, there is a small chance the information in this article could change over time.
Steps to Building an Effective LinkedIn Profile
Step by step, this section will show you how to build an effective LinkedIn profile that recruiters will find and be interested in. If you already have a LinkedIn profile, use this information to improve your current profile.
Step 1: Register for the Site
Registering on LinkedIn is fast and easy. Simply go to https://www.linkedin.com/ and sign up by entering your first name, last name, email and creating a password.
Step 2: Basic Info requested by LinkedIn
First Info requested by LinkedIn – Choose a Country & Zip code/Postal Code, Are you a student, Job Title, Company, and Industry. Below you will find more info on all these areas.
A. Country and ZIP Code/Postal Code
When creating your LinkedIn profile, make sure you always list the correct country and ZIP Code/postal code. When a recruiter searches for LinkedIn profiles, they usually search by location, such as ZIP Code/postal code and/or city. If you choose the wrong location, you will not pop up on the recruiter’s search. Another thing you can do is choose a larger city nearby if you live in a smaller suburb or outlying town. Recruiters tend to search in bigger markets, so your best bet is to put your profile in a bigger geographical center.
B. Are you a Student?
This is self-explanatory. If you’re a student, click yes. If not, click no.
C. Job Title
On LinkedIn, like on your resume, use a good job title.
Type in the full name of your current employer if you have one. If the company you work for is recognizable, it will pop up, and all you need to do is select it. Also, do not use a short form for the company name if people do not know it by that name—doing do will make it harder to find in a search.
For this section, you will be given a drop-down of different industries to select from. Pick the industry that most closely matches your profession.
Step 3 – What is your focus on using the LinkedIn platform?
For this section, you will be asked to choose one of the following options:
• Finding a job
• Staying up-to-date with my industry
• Building my professional network
• Keeping in touch with my contacts
• Not sure yet. I’m open!
Choose “Finding a job.” LinkedIn will then ask you if you want daily or weekly alerts based on your job title and location. My advice to job seekers: opt for daily alerts.
Step 4 – Uploading your Contacts
For this section, LinkedIn will ask if you would like to upload your contacts to see if any of them are already on LinkedIn. I would recommend adding your contacts, as more contacts on LinkedIn gives you more visibility.
Step 5 – Connecting with people LinkedIn suggests
In this section, LinkedIn will ask you if you would like to connect with different people. My advice is to select “all especially recruiters.” Connecting with as many as possible will put your profile in the eyes of more people. Most people, especially recruiters, will not turn down your request.
Step 6 – Upload a Picture
Although you might not be comfortable uploading your picture to LinkedIn, I highly recommend you do so. Recruiters like to see a picture to ascertain that you are indeed a real person; having a picture brings you to life in their eyes.
There is nothing like a first impression, so make sure your picture looks good. If possible, have your photo professionally taken. In it, you should be wearing the type of clothing you would wear every day on the job. If you are applying for a white-collar position, wear a suit or other business-appropriate clothing. If you are a nurse, wear scrubs.
Step 7 – Add Detailed info into Your LinkedIn Profile
For this section, you will need to go to your newly-created LinkedIn profile. From there, perfect your profile by adding to the following sections:
A. Background Photo
This photo is different than your main photo. It is a banner picture (not of you) that goes across your profile header. Choose a background photo that relates to your personality or career, and I recommend using one in overall neutral color, like cream or tan. If you do not have any background pictures, visit https://pixabay.com/ to get free pictures to use for your background photo.
B. Headline Section
You have one sentence to make a good first impression. The headline is the first thing people will see in your profile. Treat it like the objective section on your resume. Mention your job title or job interest as well as key skills you possess. Repeated words weaved into your profile can bring you up higher on recruiters’ searches and will add to the SEO of your LinkedIn profile. Please note there is a space count for this section so use your words carefully.
A good example headline is: Leading Contact Center Rep with extensive experience, providing excellent customer service for Fortune 500 companies.
C. Add Positions
For this section, add the jobs you have held in chronological order. You can cut and paste this from your resume.
D. Education Section
List your education in chronological order. Again, you can cut and paste from your resume.
E. Summary Section
This section is like your headline, except you have more space to put more info in. Use the SEO technique of weaving in keywords and titles to increase the visibility of your profile. You can cut and paste your objective section from your resume; however, you can also add more keywords in your summary section than you can in a typical resume. I would not recommend mentioning that you are looking for a job unless you are currently working. Following is an example of a strong summary.
Results-oriented Senior Java/J2EE Software Developer with a proven track record of delivering software solutions in the financial/banking industry. 7+ years of experience as a Senior Java/J2EE software developer for well-known financial service companies Financial-ecom Inc. & Trading Floor Software Solutions.
F. Featured Skills & Endorsements section
Add as many skills as you can. The more you add, the greater the likelihood of your profile popping up when recruiters search by keywords when looking to fill roles. The smallest word can be searched by a recruiter, so adding different keywords to this section can increase your chances of being found. For starters, use the keywords from your resume skill section. From there, as you did for your resume, research different keywords to add to your profile.
The endorsement section is where people endorse your different skills. The more endorsements you have, the more impressive your profile will appear. To get more endorsements, reach out to your former colleagues and friends and ask them to endorse your skills. Most people will oblige your request.
G. volunteer experience
As real estate is less of an issue with a LinkedIn profile, I recommend adding volunteer experience to your profile. This section can be especially good for those who do not have much experience or are working or looking to work for an organization that values volunteer work. Be careful not to add things that are too political in nature or that could rub people the wrong way.
Step 8: Accomplishments Section
This section is an opportunity to add your accomplishments in the following categories: Publications, Certifications, Courses, Projects, Honors & Awards, Patents, Test Scores, Languages, Organizations. If you have any experience or skills in any or all of these categories, I recommend that you add them to your profile. It will increase your chances of being seen by a recruiter. According to LinkedIn, professionals with publications in their profile are found 7 times more than profiles who do not have publications, and profiles that list certifications are found 5 times more often than profiles who do not list certifications.
Be Honest and Use Proper Spelling and Grammar
Like your resume and cover letter, make sure your LinkedIn profile is edited properly for spelling and grammar. And just like your resume, do not lie about your skills, titles, and companies where you have worked.
Get Endorsements on LinkedIn
Endorsements give you credibility, so it is recommended you ask many former colleagues to give you positive endorsements. Think of using services based on Yelp reviews or buying products on Amazon based on positive reviews. Your LinkedIn recommendations work like Yelp or Amazon reviews. Aren’t you more likely to use a service that has good Yelp reviews? And don’t you often base a purchase decision on positive Amazon reviews? In the same way, if you include positive endorsements in your LinkedIn profile, potential employers may be more inclined to contact you.
If you have a good relationship with a former colleague and they are on LinkedIn, there is a good chance they will give you a recommendation. To ask for recommendations, go to https://www.linkedin.com/recs/received. Click the top middle column, Ask for Recommendations. A pop-up menu will appear, which asks the following questions:
1. What do you want to be recommended for?
The drop-down menu will list the roles and companies you worked for. Select the role/title you want to be recommended for.
2. Who do you want to ask?
Select who you want to ask for a recommendation from your LinkedIn contacts. Please note: it’s a good idea to ask your contacts ahead of time if they are willing to give you a recommendation.
3. What’s your relationship?
From a drop-down menu of choices, select what your relationship is or was with the person you are asking to recommend you. The second part of this section has a drop-down menu which asks, What was the person’s position at the time? Select the role they had when they worked with you.
4. Write your message
Using the template provided by LinkedIn, write an InMail asking for their recommendation. Don’t forget to include a subject line.
Connect with People to Expand Your Network
A great way to grow your network on LinkedIn and increase your chances of being seen by more recruiters is to connect with many people. Here are some tips on how to expand your network:
1. Upload your contacts into LinkedIn to see if any are on LinkedIn and then connect with them. You can upload Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook contacts, and even excel spreadsheets, to LinkedIn. These contacts will be sent an InMail inviting them to connect. Also, your non-LinkedIn contacts will be given the option to join LinkedIn and connect.
2. Look up people you have worked with, friends, and family and invite them to connect. Click the search icon found on the top of your main page and type the name you are looking for. You will be shown a list of names along with the option to connect.
3. Look up recruiters, especially those in your profession, and send them invites to connect. Most recruiters will accept your invitation. To find recruiters, type “recruiter” in the search box and different recruiters’ profiles will pop up.
4. Sent invites to people LinkedIn recommends. To do this, go to My Network and below it you should see People You May Know. A long list of people will appear and under each person’s picture will be a Connect box you can click to add them to your network. Many people will accept your invite request. Be careful on this one—LinkedIn will warn you if you try connect to too many people who reject your request.
5. Connect with people in your field, especially hiring managers. To look them up, hit the search icon and type ‘hiring manager’. You’ll be taken to a page where you can search for hiring managers by company and title. By connecting with people in your industry, especially hiring managers, more eyes will be on your profile.
6. Look for open networkers. These are people on LinkedIn who are open to connecting with anyone. In the search bar, type “Lion” or “Open Networker” to find profiles.
7. Always except connections when invited to connect on LinkedIn. It will expand your network. Remember, LinkedIn is not like Facebook; the purpose of LinkedIn is to make business connections.
Join LinkedIn Groups
Joining groups in your profession can expand your reach because recruiters look at these groups to find talent and post jobs. To use this feature, go to the search bar. Click the work icon, found at the top right corner, and look for the Groups icon. Hit the Groups icon and a page will come up that gives you recommendations of groups to join based on your job title.
By creating a detailed SEO-centric LinkedIn page, connecting with contacts and joining groups, your profile will attract attention. You will easily be found by recruiters looking to fill their roles. That translates into more job opportunities for you.