Building an employer-friendly LinkedIn profile

It’s said time and time again; first impressions count. But while this used to apply primarily to face-to-face meetings, in the digital era this vital first impression will probably come from your social media profiles.

However, although it’s important that your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles are suitable for any potential employers’ eyes, it’s LinkedIn that you should really be focusing your attention on as it could be the foot in the door you need to land your dream job. This is backed up by the fact that 94% of recruitment consultants use LinkedIn to vet candidates for job roles, while 48% admit that they only use the platform for the purpose of social outreach.

Want to use LinkedIn to make a good first impression (and possibly) land your next role? Here are the 6 steps to building an employer-friendly LinkedIn profile…

Step 1: Choose a high-quality headshot

When it comes to social media, pictures are important. Without one, people may think that you’re not very active on the platform, and that your profile won’t be worth looking at as it won’t be up-to-date.

In fact, the first thing people do when they visit your profile is look at your picture, and just having an image of yourself makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by other users.

With your picture being such an important part of your profile, it’s essential that this is respectful. Use a headshot (if possible), or get someone to take a photo of you; selfies should be avoided if you want to appear professional. Nonetheless, you should be looking straight at the camera, and stand in front of a clean white, orange, or yellow background. This is because bright backgrounds have been proven to encourage more people to connect with users.

Step 2: Write a descriptive headline

As your headline is directly underneath your profile picture, it greatly impacts the first impression you make when other users visit your LinkedIn profile. Not only that, but the keywords you feature in your description (for example, ‘marketing’) will affect which search results you appear for.

Many users will keep their job title and employer in their headline (which appears by default). Although you absolutely should be describing what you do, not all job titles perfectly indicate this. Instead, use the 120 characters to explain your main responsibilities and the value you can bring to others. Essentially, your LinkedIn headline should be your mission statement.

Step 3: Use your summary to show your passion

Another common mistake people make when building their LinkedIn profile is not using their summary (which is under your picture, headline, location and number of connections) to its full advantage. This is because many people use their summary to rave about the company they work for and forget that it needs to tell a story about them too.

To make your profile appealing to recruiters and hiring managers, use your summary to establish your “personal brand”. Help potential contacts get to know you by sharing why you’re so passionate about what you do, what you’re proud to have achieved so far and what your goals are. It’s also vital to remember that although you want to appear professional, you don’t want to appear too formal. Avoid writing in the third person and just be yourself.

Step 4: Highlight your skills

One of the best ways to make your LinkedIn profile more employer-friendly is by showing people that you’re good at what you do. Sure, you can explain your skills and responsibilities in the “Experience” section of your profile, but potential employers will want to know that they’ll be in good hands if they work with you.

Make sure you fill out the all-important ‘Skills’ section of your profile, as this will give your connections the opportunity to endorse you for those skills. You should also reach out to people you’ve previously studied and worked with, and ask them to write you a personal recommendation. You can use LinkedIn to send them a message asking them to do this, but remember; people are more likely to endorse you or write a recommendation if you do the same for them.

Step 5: Create and share content

It’s not just your profile that’s important; you should also be engaging your audience by sharing useful content. If you’re sharing useful information and comment on this, your audience will soon see you as an expert in your field, and it’s also a great way to open-up a dialogue with other users on the platform. Flattering those that make hiring decisions by liking and sharing their updates also never goes amiss!

The content you share can be written by you (LinkedIn gives you the option to publish articles through LinkedIn Pulse), shared from other websites, or reposted from other users. However, if you do choose to write it yourself, write about topics that excite you and don’t be pressured to post an update every week; think quality, not quantity.

Step 6: Personalise any messages you send

The proof is in the pudding; on average, personalised InMail messages sent through the platform have a 37% higher response rate than generic ones. So, if you want to be seen as a thoughtful person who’s done the research, take the time to write a personal message when connecting with someone (but do keep in mind that personalised invitations can’t be sent from a mobile device).

To start a conversation, reference the person’s experience, ask about a project they’ve worked on, or highlight any mutual connections you share. You should also take a moment to review the content the person has shared, commented on, or liked on LinkedIn before reaching out to them; this will give you a good understanding of the topics and areas they’re interested in.

Bowen Eldridge Recruitment specialises in Accountancy PracticeFinance and Marketing recruitment.