In this two-part series, we explore maximizing LinkedIn profiles and explain steps recruiters take when looking for talent. This article deals with “inbound” search strategy; part two covers “outbound” search best practices.
It’s helpful to think about your LinkedIn presence as more than a profile or digest about your career path and more like a professional persona. Why? Because this is exactly how recruiters and hiring managers approach a job search: they craft a persona that could be a potential ideal candidate and go from there.
What does this mean for someone who would like to optimize their LinkedIn persona to improve their chances of being contacted by a recruiter? It means thinking strategically about your own search as a combination of inbound and outbound processes.
What follows is a shortlist of best practices to get you started. These items cover a range of strategies that, when taken together, can improve not only the number of views on your page, but the likelihood that those views will convert to conversations.
One way to think of LinkedIn is that it functions as Google for recruiters. In fact, for recruiters who can toggle to a Recruiter View, LinkedIn functions as a robust search engine of candidates. What a recruiter sees is prose-forward content, so your words are front and center.
Recruiter View also emphasizes the timeline of your experiences and provides an immediate way to compare candidates, so you will want your persona on LinkedIn to stand out, professionally, and be as clear as possible. To ensure that you are seen, and sourced, you will want to:
Populate your page, and craft your persona, with keywords.
Think of this as a dynamic practice on your part where you revisit your skills, tools, and experiences often to highlight keywords that are critical for your industry and next role.
- You will want to curate your keywords and edit them consistently as trends, and your skillset, respond to market changes.
Manage your experiences, so that they work for you.
The current standard is to link your role to your company’s page and logo.
- Periodically check to make sure there are no dead links for these roles.
- If the company you are linking to does not make clear what they do, you can go the extra mile to add a line about this on your experience. Be mindful with this approach, however, as you want to avoid crafting an experience item that only summarizes the company.
- As with a resume or CV, each experience will ideally highlight two to three primary achievements of yours in that role.
Quantify your experiences whenever possible.
The call to quantify can be the trickiest part of resumes and CVs but putting numbers to your professional gains is no less important on LinkedIn.
- Whenever possible, track the growth, change, and improvement you bring to your role.
- Once you have data on your achievements, make that as legible as possible to recruiters by noting the referent for percentages and any other important context for why that number is significant.
Apply basic design principles to your page to make your words as accessible as possible.
Accessibility is king, but it benefits you just as much as your reader.
- If you have a wall of text without the breathing room that brief sentences, bulleted items, and clear takeaways can provide, then your LinkedIn persona reads as busy or too verbose, leaving you in the dark.
Help your LinkedIn persona work for you with a professional headshot and background.
Design principles and a touch of marketing will help you here.
- The most appealing photos that yield the best reactions from clients looking for new hires offer a clear view of your face with a good balance of a professional and relaxed appearance.
- Making sure you are centered with a color contrast that highlights you (rather than getting lost in the photo’s background) is best. This might mean no night photos or glaring flash. Make your cover photo work for you by being just as professional and ideally not distracting.
- If you do have a cover photo that grabs viewers’ attention, recruiters and their clients respond best to images relating to your most recent work.
For more on boosting your LinkedIn profile, see: “Optimize Your LinkedIn Persona: Outbound Search Strategy.”