Let’s take a second and go back to a simpler time – a time we’ve all come to realize that we took for granted, a time we all miss so, so dearly – a time before our global pandemic. Over the past two decades, social media has quickly taken a position as the number one platform for networking and putting potential employers/employees together. The process has become faster, simpler, and more effective than ever because of social media, and with COVID-19 forcing the world to switch to working remotely, it will soon move to number one on the list of necessary tools for job hunting. Along with this advancement, a corresponding increase of unemployed Americans flooding the internet with their own media will create a far greater struggle to stand out amongst others. With a nationwide quarantine in place, there is no better time than right now to start polishing those online profiles – starting with LinkedIn.
Over the past 18 years – with utilization increasing significantly in recent years – LinkedIn has singlehandedly changed the landscape of the recruiting industry, and has become a vital component in the business. This resource is the pinnacle of networking for both job and talent-seekers; it allows for so much more opportunity to publicly share experience and skills that we wish to convey to others, along with maximizing our exposure. It’s one of the most efficient tools for anyone in the work industry to utilize, but with the amount of people recognizing its value, it has become a challenge to distinguish your own profile among everyone else. Over the past few months of searching and establishing my formula to find candidates, I’ve continuously noted what details on a profile grab my attention, and what users can do to stand out to a recruiter like myself.
So, how do you make your LinkedIn outstanding? Well to start – one large component to a quality profile that greatly increases the likelihood of a recruiter looking further into it is the initial impression it gives off. Why is this so important? Let’s put it like this – between the months of January and June in 2019, LinkedIn reported stopping 19.5 million fake accounts at registration, while another 2.1 million fakes were active and later reported by real users (Rockwell). These numbers are only going to continue to climb in the future and create a huge dilution of talent, and looking at fake accounts is a significant waste of a recruiter’s valuable time. Naturally, they’re going to take every measure possible to avoid empty and fake accounts, and this means that if at first glance the profile lacks certain criteria it will never be looked into. That being said – even though recruiters specialize in weeding through social media accounts to find candidates – they can’t always be perfect, so profiles with real talent can sometimes go overlooked.
After spending the past few weeks talent-sourcing while in quarantine, I have broken down a list of the simple actions a user can take to have their profile come off as credible as possible at first glance.
Recruiter’s Criteria For an Effective LinkedIn Profile:
NOTE: *COLLEGE UPPERCLASSMAN / COLLEGE GRADUATES – DO NOT MENTION HIGH SCHOOL INFO UNLESS FOR A VERY NOTABLE REASON*
- Upload a recent, professional headshot as your profile picture. (A lot of great profiles will go unnoticed if they don’t have a face to the name!)
- Backgrounds on a profile are optional, but if used should be business appropriate and simple.
‘About’ or ‘Summary’:
- Write a short bio pertaining to your character and career objectives.
- Utilize this piece of your profile to explain what distinguishes you from others in your field.
- Provide a list of your specialized skills
- Keep past job titles simple – describe major accomplishments / duties in detail.
- List of schools you’ve attended, fields of study, and degree obtained.
‘Skills and Expertise’:
- List off all skills that directly pertain to your profession
- Be specific with your word choices and include as many as possible – when a recruiter is searching for a word or phrase, LinkedIn will direct them to profiles that have it listed under this section.
- List of legal certifications, degrees, and licenses.
‘Honors and Awards’:
- Personal major achievements and recognitions from past companies and organizations.
‘Endorsements’ and ‘Recommendations’:
- Reach out to former/current coworkers, employers, employees, friends and colleagues to write a recommendation on your profile.
- The more endorsements you have, the more credibility you have.
Endorsements by other users is an overlooked feature on LinkedIn, but are very important. Asking connections to write a small excerpt on your profile to highlight your skills is a sure to immediately make you a much more appealing candidate. It offers another perspective on the type of person you are, and also significantly reinforces your credibility and attractiveness as a candidate. References are one of the biggest factors in the final stages of the hiring process, and having short comments from past teammates/superiors will build a foundation of what recruiters can expect to hear about you.
Though this post comes off primarily as tips for a LinkedIn profile, it also applies to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and any other social media site you utilize as well. Consistency throughout all of your different social profiles is important — it makes for a world of simplicity when a recruiter is trying to identify who you really are, and if you are the person you aim to be seen as. Small adjustments can make all of the difference, and these little tweaks to your profile could potentially be the line between hired and being scrolled past online.
Hey — we’re all locked up in quarantine for now, so might as well use this time to your advantage and take a peek at your own profile. What do you think? Does it meet my criteria? Comment your thoughts!
Rockwell, Paul. “How We’re Protecting Members From Fake Profiles.” Protecting Members From Fake Profiles, LinkedIn, Aug. 2019, blog.linkedin.com/2019/august/20/an-update-on-how-were-fighting-fake-accounts.