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What recruiters really look for on your LinkedIn profile

03 November 2020 by Anandi Luscher and Brad Harris
Screenshot 2020 11 03 At 10

There are people out there looking for a candidate like you on LinkedIn right now. If you’re looking for a job, you need to make your profile discoverable to the right people, and when they’ve found it, you need them to notice the right information in a matter of seconds.

As much as we hate to admit it, like any human using the internet, we recruiters have to be ruthless and move quickly from one page to another. So, you have around five seconds to convince us that you’re the right candidate.

As a candidate, you’re always in a competitive market, but there are lots of things you can do to improve the performance of your profile. Here are some insights into the way we search for and look at LinkedIn profiles, so that you can work on getting found by the right recruiters and employers.

We’re looking for the right skills for a vacancy

Use the Skills and Endorsements section of your profile to list technical skills that will help people searching for those skills find you. LinkedIn recommends adding five relevant skills to your profile and says this will increase the chances of you being messaged by recruiters and others by 31 times. You can add up to fifty skills in total.

Job titles aren’t as important as they seem

If we’re looking for someone to move into a role, we’re not always looking for people who already have that specific title. And if you think about the way successful career paths can meander, we’re not looking for specific job titles that always come a step before. While job titles give us a good indication of your experience, this is one of the reasons you should take time to make your profile look good by putting the right content on.

Lauren Pierce, who looks after Simcorp Dimension jobs, says that you don’t have to use the exact job title on your contract. “The purpose of your profile is to help you attract the right people. You don’t have to make the job sound fancy. If you are a SimCorp Project Manager, for example, putting those words in will help me know not to approach you about a SimCorp junior consultant role. Some vague job titles are really useful to get you to appear in more searches. I’ve often found the right candidates who have used just the key skill, such as "SimCorp specialist”. However, the vaguer your title, the more likely you are to be approached with irrelevant roles - so put some thought into it!”

Make sure you’ve written more than the titles of your past jobs

We often find that job titles don’t accurately reflect what you did in your role. You should include a clear summary of what your role entailed. Make it easy to scan so that someone can quickly work out why you’re relevant for the position they’re trying to fill.

We’re likely to send your recommendations to a potential employer

Why wouldn’t we? We’re trying to help our clients decide whether you match their needs and not just with technical ability and skills. The recommendations on your profile are like verified buyer reviews that will help convince a future boss you’ll perform well for them. That’s why we often send them to clients along with your CV when we first recommend you as a candidate.Get some recommendations from colleagues, clients and whoever can vouch for you doing a good job.

Want to stand out? Have gaps in your work history

One of the things recruiters notice without even trying is gaps in experience. Over time, we get used to spotting any inconsistencies in the chronology of a CV. Even though we’re only spending a few seconds on a profile, significant gaps stand out to us instantly, so make sure you’ve got them covered.

“If you don’t have a job, don’t use the title "unemployed" and company ‘unemployed’ or similar.” warns Lauren Pierce. “It might seem like a logical way to tell recruiters you are available, but it makes it almost impossible for you to appear in my search.”

Locations you’re likely to work in

LinkedIn is a global network, so anyone searching will be carefully using location filters to find the right candidates. It may seem like a basic thing, but you need to let LinkedIn know where you want to work, not just where you are. It’s best done through the ‘Open to Work’ feature.

Make sure you’re #OpenToWork

You may have seen the green ‘Open To Work’ badges appear on people’s profiles recently, but what if you’re keeping your job search hidden like most people? The good news is that you can use this feature without announcing your job search to the boss that you hate. Recruiters pay LinkedIn a subscription so we can find people who have turned on its Open To Work setting privately. Use it to specify the types of role you want and preferred locations. This way you’ll show up in our search results, even if you don’t have the green sticker on your profile picture.

Get your picture right

Think it’s OK to be camera-shy because you’re in tech? LinkedIn’s research shows that having a professional looking photo on your profile makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed. Use a photo that presents you in the best light and make sure your face takes up at least half the available space in the frame. LinkedIn has some great advice on how to get your profile picture right here: [https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2014/12/5-tips-for-picking-the-right-linkedin-profile-picture]

Use keywords repeatedly

Use relevant keywords on your profile multiple times to attract the reader’s attention. If a recruiter’s looking for a Golang Developer, the more times they see Golang on your profile, the more relevant you will look to them. Not to mention that it will boost the chances of you showing up in search results.

Use the profile editor to complete your profile

LinkedIn has helpfully gamified the process of adding the right information to your profile. Use its profile strength meter to work out what’s missing and get to work on updating it. It shows up in the app and the web version, so if updating your profile feels like too much work, trying making little updates regularly to complete the progress bar. You’ll soon find that the right people start finding you.

Is your information up to date?

Be careful of leaving placeholder information on your profile just because you are emotionally attached to it somehow. If you used to work with *technology A* 15 years ago and exclusively with *technology B *for the last five years, there’s probably no reason for the first to be listed. You may get irrelevant job suggestions or calls, and some people may disregard you for interesting jobs because you don’t look specialist enough.

Look at your search appearances regularly to improve

Using LinkedIn’s search appearances feature, you can find out the companies and job titles of people that found you recently through searches. Are they the kind of people that will help you find the path to your next move? If not, keep working on simple changes and keep checking regularly.

Need help with your job search? You can access Anandi and Brad directly through their profiles on our site.

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