I recently talked with a recruiter, my inside informant shall we say, to find out what recruiters look for on LinkedIn profiles and how they use LinkedIn to find potential job candidates.
My source uses LinkedIn on a daily basis. It’s an active part of reviewing candidates for positions and she says that a candidate’s profile is always open on the computer when an interview occurs.
When looking at a LinkedIn profile, there are several critical areas the recruiter looks for to gauge who you are and how serious you are in your job search.
First and foremost: Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Hopefully you do because without having a profile, it’s an immediate red flag. Having a LinkedIn profile is a signal that you have kept up with current job trends and know how to job search and network today.
Secondly: Are you open to a new opportunity? Is it written on your profile or suggested in the text? Recruiters don’t want to waste their time if you aren’t ready for new employment. A simple sentence like, “Connect with me, I am open to opportunities” is subtle yet lets the recruiter know they can reach out.
Network size is also important. It shows you’re reaching out, opened to connecting, and active in engaging others. What’s a good number to aim for? Over 300 is good. Over 400 is better. Over 500? You are clearly open to networking! Good job!
Profile Picture is a MUST! You must have a profile picture on your LinkedIn profile. Profiles missing profile pictures are a red flag to your professionalism and seriousness. Not only do you need a profile picture but you need a profile picture that casts you in a professional light. Choosing an image from your frat days will cause a recruiter to not take you seriously. Recruiters want to see a nice, polished photo- it shows your level of seriousness towards your career.
Career Trajectory. From the recruiter’s perspective, your work history section is a critical aspect of your profile. Recruiters look at the companies you’ve worked for, how long you’ve been at each position, your job title, your responsibilities and your accomplishments. Your profile doesn’t need to be a copy and paste of your resume but the jobs listed should reflect the titles and dates in your resume and the experiences should have enough information to showcase that you have something to offer. A barebones, skeletal experience section doesn’t wow a recruiter and keeps them searching for other candidates.
KEYWORDS! Most importantly, does your profile contain the right keywords? Keywords are king. Recruiters know what they’re looking for in a position and if your profile or work history doesn’t have the specific keywords associated with your field, it makes it harder for them to figure out if you’re the right fit. The easier your profile reads and highlights your accomplishments and field-related skills, the quicker a recruiter can look at your profile and make the decision to reach out.
An engaging summary. The summary section is important to clarify your work history. It’s often viewed after the work experience to figure out who you are. Have you changed career paths? Recruiters use the summary section to explain any questions or confusion that arose from your experience section when they don’t see what they were expecting to see. When explaining your transitions in your work experience, the more keywords related to the field you’re now in (or want to be in) and relating common skillsets, the easier it is for the recruiter to decide if you’re the right fit.
Lastly, your profile should be easy to read. Densely packed paragraphs make it difficult to find the information they need to evaluate if you’re a good fit for a position. Use your enter/return key to create white space between paragraphs. Use a bulleted list for your achievements and make sure you get to the point quickly.
Draw the recruiter’s attention by having the right keywords [activities, languages, skills, etc.] that describe what you did and how you performed your duties. That’s not to say they want a laundry list of tasks you performed. They want to see descriptive statements and actual impactful achievements. How much money did you save the company? Did you implement a new program? How did you conduct a project? If you’re in a specific industry, the skills and keywords used in your field should be present throughout your resume.
Just because those areas are key for recruiters, don’t neglect the rest of your profile! Recruiters do judge your profile by how complete and detailed it is and by the size of your network. All these areas show how serious you are about finding a new position in today’s world.
How Recruiters Leverage LinkedInA key part of LinkedIn, according to my source, is Groups. Groups are hugely important to the daily activities of an individual recruiter and the recruiting company. It’s a great place for contacting and connecting with people you aren’t directly connected to, especially 3rd degree connections. Groups are where recruiters post jobs and ads but also where they post advice. Recruiters often post articles on how to job search, how to write a cover letter, what a great resume looks like because they want to help candidates succeed. Posting isn’t just helpful for the recruiter to keep an active profile but a great resource for job seekers and regular LinkedIn users to learn about the workforce and professional trends.
From the recruiter’s perspective, the number one thing LinkedIn does that no other network or tool allows is the ability to search for a specific company and see who works there. Recruiters can then research current employees on LinkedIn and get an idea of the type of person who works there and a view into the company culture. By understanding the people who already work at the company they have a better idea of the type of candidate to recruit. By being an open networker on LinkedIn, recruiters can connect with people who are already working there and learn more.
LinkedIn is great place to connect to people and a way to stay in contact with them. My source loves it as a tool for networking, searching and researching job candidates, and finding connections within their network who can refer them to potential candidates.
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This post was originally published on LinkedIn’s publishing platform on May 29, 2015. View original here.
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