According to The Undercover Recruiter, 97% of all HR and staffing professionals use LinkedIn in their recruiting efforts, which means it's more important than ever that your candidate profile is optimised to grab their attention.
Reaching almost 700 million active users in the last year, LinkedIn has graduated from an online networking site for jobseekers and industry professionals to one of the most active social media platforms in 2020. You might think that signing up, completing your profile, and filling in your job history is all you have to do to attract your next opportunity, but there's actually a bit more to it than that.
Here are five tips to help you optimise your LinkedIn profile in order to give you the widest reach possible and narrow in on your desired industry:
1. Use industry keywords
Just like your regular search engines, LinkedIn searches are sorted by "relevance". For example, if you were to log in right now and search for a specific connection, your 1st degree connections will show up first (these are the people you're directly connected to, since you have accepted their invitation to connect or they've accepted yours). Of the 1st degree results, those with a completed profile will show up first. After viewing all of your 1st connections, your 2nd and 3rd degree connections will also appear sorted by relevancy to your search.
In the same way, recruiters depend on specific keywords in their search to filter through potential candidates. By using these keywords in your headline or profile summary, you're making yourself more visible to recruiters. You can place keywords relating to your industry throughout your profile, but those which appear in either your name, headline, job title or employer will rank you highest. If you're not sure how to include these keywords, consider having a simple headline which reads like this:
John Doe | Editorial Assistant | Viking Press, Penguin Random House (PRH)
2. Tell recruiters what job opportunities you're open to
If you have the LinkedIn app, there's a useful feature which allows you to tell recruiters which job opportunities you are open to, and in which industry. This section is completely private and only available for recruiters to view; it also lets you include up to five job titles - so for instance, if you were looking to get into the publishing industry, you're able to tell recruiters that you're open to opportunities as a "publishing assistant", "editorial assistant", "publishing intern", "marketing assistant", or "content writer" in order to cover as many related publishing roles as possible.
This section also allows you to specify your desired location(s), whether you're looking for temporary, full or part-time work, whether you're open to remote working, if you're able to start immediately or if you're just casually browsing opportunities. All in all, it's an incredibly useful feature to have as it cuts down on any unsolicited recruitment and helps to position your profile within your desired field.
3. Show yourself
This one might be a no-brainer, but it's also important that recruiters are actually able to see you. That means uploading a clear, well-lit and professional photo in order to complete your LinkedIn profile.
Remember, during searches users with completed profiles always show up first, and so having a profile photo next to your headline and candidate summary is important in representing you well as a candidate and making your account more visible to recruiters.
4. Ask to be recommended
By scrolling down your profile, you'll come to a small, often-overlooked section called "recommendations", with an action button labelled "ask to be recommended". This function allows you to directly connect with past employers or other close connections and request a recommendation which will be displayed on your profile for recruiters and future connections to view.
While it might feel a little daunting to ask someone to recommend you, getting over those little nerves and reaching out to someone you trust to represent you is incredibly valuable. It acts almost as a mini-reference to recruiters and tells them a little bit more about you as a worker. You can also use it to reinforce any desirable skills or qualities that you think will help you advance in your industry.
5. Make connections in your niche
As mentioned above, LinkedIn has transformed from a simple networking site to a full-fledged social media platform, and so it's important to remain active and involved in building your connections. A solid tip from Maureen Farmer, owner of Word Right Career & HR Consulting, is to multiply your age by 10 in order to find the minimum number of connections you should have. So if you're 25 right now, you should have around 250 LinkedIn connections.
The more connections you have, the more likely you are to be spotted by recruiters looking into your niche, but just remember to look for those who are actually working in your desired career field and align with your long-term goals. Don't just accept everyone who invites you to connect and instead look out for industry experts/professionals and companies you'd like to work for in the future. This will also help you stand out to industry recruiters by cultivating relevant 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections, improving your chances of being spotted in their next candudate search.