Gone are the days when you had to spend your mornings scouring through the local newspaper for jobs. Classified ads have become pretty much obsolete as more and more people turn to social networks for their career search needs – and for good reason. According to a survey conducted by Jobvite in 2014, 93 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social networks to support their recruiting efforts and 94 percent of recruiters tap into LinkedIn to find qualified candidates.
Given that LinkedIn is the go-to talent pool for many – and given that this doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon – now is the time to reevaluate how you are presenting yourself on this professional networking website.
What should you feature on your LinkedIn profile – and what’s best left off? How can you optimize your page? We turned to Mary Ryan, associate director of career and leadership services for working professionals at MBA@UNC, the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program, for six tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile more attractive to recruiters:
1. Create a Professional Headline
This section normally autofills, but Ryan suggests changing it to ensure keywords related to the jobs you are pursuing are included. Your professional headline should effectively showcase the work you currently do and the career you want. Make every word count in no more than two lines of text.
2. Make Your Name Searchable
If you have a nickname or maiden name that you use, include it in parentheses next to your professional name to make it searchable for recruiters.
3. Broaden Your Location
If you list your location as a small suburban town, recruiters may assume you are not willing to make the long commute into the city. Err on the side of a broader location rather than a specific one and align yourself with the largest city you would be willing to commute to.
4. Highlight Your ‘Awesome Factor’ in the Experience Section
Ryan recommends emphasizing your experience by showing off your “awesome factor.” Compare yourself to the average hypothetical coworker who has the same responsibilities as you at work, but is awful at their job. If they could list the same distinguishing factors in their experience section that you have listed, then you are not showing your “awesome factor.” Quantify your successes in a way that makes them stand apart from your basic job description with percentages and numbers.
Ryan provides the following example:
- Without results: Led cross-functional global product team and generated new business.
- With results: Led cross-functional global product team to launch new products in 10 countries; delivered new business of $150,000, 20 percent above plan projections.
Originality is key in this section, so make sure to avoid the most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn. Instead, tie your words to real results and use active language to demonstrate your competence.
5. Strategically Arrange Your Top 10 Skills
Rearrange your top skills to present what you want to be best known for. If you need help determining what skills to showcase, LinkedIn published a list of the 25 hottest skills that got people hired in 2014.
The list includes statistical analysis and data mining; middleware and integration software; algorithm design; SEO/SEM marketing; business intelligence; Perl/Python/Ruby; mobile development; and marketing campaign management.
6. Request Recommendations
Ask managers, coworkers, or past professors for authentic recommendations. Seek out endorsements from reputable sources who can verify your talents. It’s these special anecdotes that will set you apart from your competition.
LinkedIn is an advantageous tool for those on the job hunt, but only when used effectively. By following Ryan’s suggestions, you should be able to create a compelling and effective LinkedIn page that will send you toward your dream career.