6 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
You nearly don’t exist to recruiters who use LinkedIn as a primary tool for finding candidates or checking out people who’ve applied to their open positions unless you have a profile.
But more than knowing that you need a decent LI profile with a headshot (you’d be surprised at how many people don’t have this basic down), you need to know how a recruiter finds your profile and the very specific signs that you’re worth their effort to track down and put forward for that dream job.
Here are some things they’re looking for — so you can update accordingly to make your LinkedIn profile stand out and become both more searchable and desirable.
So how does a recruiter find you in the first place?
A recruiter is able to search the LinkedIn platform based on the job title of the role he or she is trying to fill, the location where an individual is located, keywords that individuals put in their LinkedIn profiles, skills that individuals have identified themselves as having, languages they speak, and so much more.
We can also do Thanos-level searches with boolean strings. But don’t worry about that for now.
What you do need to make sure you use are:
Bonus tip: Spell correctly and use different variants of that spelling. Account for variations and sprinkle them around in descriptions.
Don’t just throw your overall experience onto your profile or type out essays that take an age to read. No one has time for that, least of all a busy recruiter. Instead, break it down.
Recruiters would like to see your experience in bullet points (no more than 8 per experience), ideally with this formula:
Verb + what + in/for what team/project + tool/software/skill used + result if applicable (percentage, KPI, ratio).
The above would be better articulated through bullet points. The experience on the CV has achievements, but they are not easily detected, and get lost in the paragraph. Achievements should be mentioned first, as well.
Unlike the previous example, this one uses bullet points. It’s much easier to see achievements, you can identify keywords, and the experience starts with an active verb.
The first bullet point follows the formula:
Active verb (exceeded)+ what (targets)+ in/for what team/project (screenings and interviews)+ tool/software/skill used + result (percentage, KPI, ratio) (33% conversion (numbers are tricky, so percentages and rations are useful here)):
Provide as much detail as possible regarding the tasks you performed in each role. This can include the tech stack you used or even a broad overview of your day-to-day responsibilities.
When you apply for a job, you don’t simply apply based on title, you want a job description – Recruiters want one too.
Bonus tip: Try and be specific in your job title as well. For example, if you are an experienced PHP Developer, use “PHP Developer” as your job title instead of simply stating “Software Developer”.
In lieu of the aforementioned point, provide a broad job title (or at least the industry you work in) as we understand that not every job title will be the same. Many businesses call the same role by different titles and recruiters are led by the direction you give them in your job description. Understanding what exactly you do is vital.
Pro tip! A little bit of humour never goes amiss too, particularly if you’ve had gaps between jobs or a leave of absence. We found this guy recently and his way of explaining his time off to parent made the rounds on Slack and was incredibly memorable.
Update your skills. This should include both soft skills and hard skills as you generally need a good balance to perform a role effectively. For example, excellent communication skills are needed for a Recruiter and so is Computer Literacy. Speak to all of your skills and do it unashamedly.
Also, be sure to add your skills to the “Skills & Endorsements” section of your profile. If possible, have your colleagues endorse your skills. If you are really confident, try your hand at one of the LinkedIn Skills Assessments!
I.e. Job, followed by a list of skills, industries, tech, cohort size, and responsibility.
Examples of your work
Add details of exciting projects you’ve been involved in.
You could also use the featured section to add links or images of your best work.
‘Open for Work’
If you want to be hired, you should use the ‘Open for Work’ function on LinkedIn and add the frame to your profile photo so your network immediately knows that it’s okay to contact you about opportunities. There is also an ‘Open for Work’ option that doesn’t add the frame so only recruiters can see you’re looking for work so if you’re concerned that the banner may attract unnecessary attention from your current employer, use this option instead. We, Will, Find You!
How to make your profile incredibly attractive
1. A great headline
Recruiters want to see a really nice headline, something that instantly grabs their attention. Something like: .NET enthusiast with a passion for all things Web3.0.
Write a headline based on a role you’ve recently done that aligns with the job you want to get. Add your years of experience in the relevant area you want to work in or if you are a recent graduate, explain what drives you and what you want to achieve in your career next.
Make your profile attractive. Not “flashy” attractive, but attractive in terms of attention-grabbing headlines.
Bonus tip: Use hashtags in your “this person talks about” section. LI’s algorithm likes hashtags and they help you get found.
2. Professional profile picture
This one is key: A profile photo. A professional head and shoulders photo works best. Not one that was taken over a weekend, using filters, or on Snapchat.
A banner of your company logo or if you are a Graduate student – a banner of something in your industry that inspires you – gets you extra points.
Bonus tip: Stop with the graduation photos. We know it was a proud moment, but save that for your mother’s fireplace – even if you haven’t walked the walk yet, look like you have.
3. Updated roles, responsibilities, and education
Updated roles and responsibilities for each role you have worked. If you are a Graduate Student, you can state what your thesis was about and which types of roles you would be interested in, and the skills you acquired e.g. Research writing, Data collection, C#, Python, etc.
Bonus tip: Recruiters want to see the latest qualification you have. If you have a college degree, they don’t need to see the name of your high school.
4. Industry-specific posts
Publish some pieces on LinkedIn. Write some articles. These really help the client understand your personality because it will naturally bleed out of your writing.
Write pieces that are relevant to your industry and what you do, share positive experiences or a negative one you overcame and tell us how.
Recommendations can help boost the popularity of your LI profile, but not many people know this or care to look into it.
As a Graduate student, you can get this from your Supervisor and Tutor (as they track & measure your performance and progress). As a working professional, preferably from your Direct Line Manager or a Mentor (as once again they are able to track & measure your performance, and progress).
If you are a Contractor then you could ask for recommendations from the clients you have worked with but most importantly who have been successfully producing deliverables. 2-3 recommendations could serve as an informal reference for future job applications, however, the more you have – the better.
Bonus tip: Don’t get your mate in the office to do them, it’s really easy to spot. Instead, ask ex-employers to do them in an exit interview.
6. Professional achievements
Talk about your achievements. Help recruiters see what sets you apart – Not achievements such as Valordictorian etc. but major career achievements like process optimisation and implementation, implementing and growing team, cost-saving initiative etc. Quantifiable achievements that had an impact.
Bonus tip: List any awards that you have ever received that can attest to your capabilities and sets you apart from your peers in the industry. These can also be Certifications.
Sell yourself. LinkedIn is a platform for your to talk yourself up. It is the canvas on which you can secure interviews without lifting a finger or making a call to a recruiter.
Use the free platform you have, which is more effective – if used correctly – than the most comprehensive résumé or CV to showcase your talents, technical skills, passions for what you do, and who you are as a person.