LinkedIn. It’s a powerful platform for expanding your network, growing your professional brand, and—if you’re currently job searching—catching the eye of recruiters.
However, you can’t just assume that recruiters will find your profile easily. No, if you want recruiters to find you on LinkedIn, you’ll need to do a little bit of fine-tuning to make sure your profile stands out and gets the attention it deserves.
What changes do you need to make? Here are nine tips to help you get noticed the right way on LinkedIn.
1. Inject Keywords
You likely tailor your resume to make yourself appear like the perfect fit for a role you are interested in. So, why not do the same thing with your LinkedIn profile?
Take a look at the job descriptions for a few of the positions that interest you, and see what common words pop out. Those are keywords you’ll want to be sure to include throughout your profile, as they’re likely terms recruiters will be searching for on LinkedIn.
2. Mark Yourself as an “Open Candidate”
Previously, the only way to let recruiters know you were actively seeking a new position was to communicate it via your headline and/or summary. That’s an undeniably effective tactic—but, it also presents problems if you don’t want your current employer to know that you’re looking for a new role.
Luckily, LinkedIn recently introduced their “Open Candidates” feature, which allows you to signal that you’re open to new opportunities, without placing that glaring sign in front of your existing employer.
Go to your LinkedIn Preferences under “Jobs” and turn on the option to “Let recruiters know you’re open”. That way, you’ll show up in recruiters’ LinkedIn searches—while making sure your current boss doesn’t find out as easily.
3. Hide Your Activity
Before performing an overhaul of your LinkedIn profile, there’s a very important step you’ll want to take right away.
Navigate to LinkedIn’s Privacy & Settings section and turn off the option to ‘share profile edits’ with your network. This way you’ll spare your network from receiving announcements about each and every edit you make—and potentially avoid tipping off your boss. When you’re done updating your profile, you can turn this setting back on, although you might want to keep it off—especially if you’re seeking work confidentially.
4. Share Your Skills
The skills section of your LinkedIn profile might be something that you skipped over when first setting up your profile. But, if you don’t have any skills currently listed, that’s something you should change.
These play a key part in the search algorithm for LinkedIn. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to add. You can type in the particular competencies you possess, or even select from an existing list. Aim to add at least 15 or 20, and your profile will be sure to easily communicate your professional experience.
5. Show, Don’t Tell
What’s a surefire way to catch the attention of a recruiter? Demonstrating that you’re someone who can achieve results.
Much like your resume, you don’t want your LinkedIn profile to read like a roster of generic job descriptions—listings that share your daily tasks and responsibilities, without ever mentioning your key achievements.
Use numbers wherever possible to quantify your accomplishments and make a strong impact. Include action words and describe times when you overcame problems and experienced success. This approach will be much more powerful than a rundown of your day-to-day duties.
6. Choose a Professional Photo
Take a look at any LinkedIn research, and it will tell you that the profile photo is the first place people—recruiters included—look when viewing your profile. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one.
Invest in a professional headshot that clearly shows your face and presents you as polished and approachable. If you don’t have one at the ready, ask a friend to take one for you. This doesn’t need to be an over-the-top photography production. You just need a crisp, professional looking photo that clearly shows your face.
7. Use a Current Title
If you’re currently between jobs, you might think it’s enough to have all of your past positions listed in the “Experience” section, with no position listed in the current title field. Doing so would be a mistake. Why? Because most recruiters search only on current titles when using LinkedIn – so you’ll probably get missed in most searches.
The trick to avoid this if you’re currently unemployed is to create a dummy title in the current title field that references the job title you’re targeting. Another best practice is to add a phrase like “Seeking New Opportunities” as the company name. List what you bring to the table just beneath this, and your profile is instantly optimized for recruiter’s current title searches.
8. Ask for Recommendations on LinkedIn
Word of mouth marketing is effective, particularly during a job hunt. This is why LinkedIn recommendations can be so powerful.
Ask any colleagues or peers you’ve worked closely with to author a recommendation on LinkedIn. While it might seem a little forward, don’t hesitate to mention anything specific you’d like him or her to touch on in the recommendation—specifics are always better than generalities.
“It can be helpful to form a plan for what you’d like your recommendations to accomplish,” explains Lina Saoumaa, Director of Marketing for The Mason Group. “That will help you to gather recommendations that highlight the skills and experiences you most want to emphasize.”
9. Stay Active
LinkedIn may be all about business, but—at its core—it’s still a social network. That means you should plan to post a few updates every now and then.
Whether you want to share an interesting, industry-relevant article or an announcement of a certification or award you received, set a goal of posting an update once a week. It’ll show that you’re active on the platform, keep your network engaged and, most importantly, during a job hunt, it will maximize your chances of getting noticed by recruiters.