It’s obvious that LinkedIn is an important tool in the job search; we’ve all read and heard about that for some time now. As with any career-related topic that gets a lot of airtime, there is now tons of information, some conflicting, and it’s hard to sift through all of it.
While I am not the authority on LinkedIn by any means, I have spent a lot of time looking for candidates on it (for many real, open roles at amazing companies) and I know what I like to see. So here it is… what recruiters really want to see on your LinkedIn:
There’s tons of advice out there about how to phrase your summary, insert a million “action” words, and other “editorial” suggestions. While correct grammar is always important, recruiters aren’t on LinkedIn to see how eloquently you can speak to your experience. They are there for the facts. The facts are the high-level details about your work experience and goals.
- Companies you’ve worked for
- Dates you’ve worked for those companies
- The title of your role
- A quick description of what that title means
A Clear “Career Story”
The facts are important, but they also have to make sense and be somewhat cohesive. To put it simply, the recruiter has to be able to figure out your career story from a few lines on LinkedIn. When you look at your LinkedIn, think about a few things:
- Do my experiences build upon one another and show some sort of growth path?
- If I add or take out any experience, will my story be stronger?
- What does it look like my next step should be? Your profile should give off a sense of the direction of where you want to go. You can use the “headline” and “summary” to clarify this if necessary.
Recruiters want to see who you are connected to through your past work experiences. If they know someone who has endorsed you (or may be able to), that might go a long way. A network is not something you can build overnight, so add those connections as you go.
A Professional Picture
This is the least important of the four things mentioned in this article, but it’s worth pointing out that your picture will give off a very strong impression. Good LinkedIn pictures are:
- Photos of just you (half of your best friend’s face should not be present after cropping)
- Ones where you look polished and professional (neat hair, conservative outfit)
- Ones where you have a simple smile/friendly expression. That means no sassy face!
Here’s my rule of thumb on profile pictures if you really want to make sure you have the best one possible: Get dressed and do your hair and makeup, just like you would if you were heading off to an interview at the company of your choice. Once you’re ready, have someone take a picture of you against a white or simple background. Now you have a new LinkedIn picture!
So there you have it. Without getting fancy and diving into all of the many things you can do with LinkedIn, do make sure you hit these basics. If you do, you’ll be in good shape and can work on everything else as you get more familiar with the site. Also, check out this post on my own site to hear about the five biggest LinkedIn mistakes I’ve noticed over the years.
What’s worked well for you on LinkedIn? What hasn’t worked as well? Let us know in the comments!
Photo courtesy of Krist.in