Knowing that there are currently over 467 million people on LinkedIn, how many individual profiles have you viewed over the years? A couple thousand? Ten thousand? More?
As a recruiter, your numbers are likely higher than the average LinkedIn user. You probably even developed your own set of standards to evaluate potential candidate profiles over the years.
The truth is we hold candidates to high standards. We expect to see professional profile pictures, current histories rich with detail, and keyword-driven summaries. Much like Tinder, we make instant decisions based on the limited details we see. But if we make these quick judgements, isn’t it fair for both candidates and potential clients to do the same?
Let’s pause for a moment. Do you remember the last time you updated your own profile? Changing your headline or swapping an outdated photo with a more flattering one does not count. When did you last dedicate time to carefully reviewing it from top to bottom?
If it’s been at least 6 months or longer, it’s time for a refresh.
Unlike the majority of LinkedIn users, recruiter profiles serve multiple purposes. It’s a business development tool, an extension of your agency or employer branding, and a resource for candidates to decide if they want to work with you.
It’s meant to be dynamic, evolving over time to reflect not only where you have been but where you are going. If used properly, your LinkedIn profile could be one of your greatest assets as a recruiter, attracting both potential candidates and new business opportunities.
If you’re profile is in desperate need of refresh and you’re not sure where to get started, check out the recommendations below to inspire your next update.
Let’s be honest, pictures matter. They really, really matter! Your picture is your first chance at making a good impression. Uploading any old picture won’t do. Your picture needs to reflect what you currently do — the types of clients you work with and the candidates you recruit. Before you upload your photo, take a moment to ask yourself if your picture is fitting for your target audience.
Most importantly, follow basic best practices. Your picture should be current and feature only you. If you have to crop someone out of the image, it’s not the right choice. Your picture should feature a simple background and capture you from the chest up. (Note: Avoid closeups. They are generally not flattering and can make you seem unapproachable, if not done right.)
In addition to your picture, your headline is the first thing people see when they view your profile. It’s your first opportunity to sell yourself and your services. Give it careful thought. Any old headline won’t do.
To construct a great headline requires you think like a marketer for a moment and define what value you bring to your engagements. Being a ninja, rockstar, or thought leader means little when everyone on LinkedIn now promotes themselves as one. Make a list of your strengths, identify your differentiator, and try to succinctly capture it in 120 characters or less.
This is not a place to be humble. This is your chance to sell yourself, positioning yourself as an indispensable asset. The best way to approach your summary is to think of it as a 30 second elevator pitch.
Don’t simply recap what you have done in the past. Remember you control this narrative. Clearly demonstrate your growth over time, highlight your strengths, hand pick a few notable accomplishments, and define your value. You should be the hero of your own story.
Most importantly, don’t forget to include your contact information. Make it as easy as possible for candidates and clients to contact you.
Don’t fall into the classic trap of simply copying and pasting your job description. To be completely honest, it’s boring and doesn’t tell anyone anything they don’t already know. Instead, I highly recommend taking a two-step approach when it comes crafting the perfect job summary.
First, provide the reader with a brief general overview of your role. No more than 3–5 sentences. Then, spend the majority of the time and space highlighting your major accomplishments. Most importantly, tie your accomplishments to the successes of your agency, client, and candidates.
The good news is a lot of LinkedIn users don’t capitalize on using rich media, making this the perfect opportunity to make your profile stand out.
Rich media, including documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations, can be used to promote your open roles, position yourself as an expert, educate clients and candidates, and gain more awareness for your agency or firm.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start small. Include links to job descriptions for your open roles and then expand your media over time. Do you have idea for a killer article to help candidates nail interviews? How about tips for employers to manage their Glassdoor page to attract candidates? It’s time to turn those ideas into a reality and use it to demonstrate your expertise.
Recommendations, recommendations, recommendations! I say it three times because they are that important. If you haven’t already, ask both clients and placed candidates to write you a brief recommendation.
You can only do so much to sell yourself. Recommendations add credibility to the story you tell with your profile.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn is a social media platform, and it’s only successful when its users engage with their network. Without a newsfeed, there is no incentive for users to continually return to the site, and there is very little to differentiate it from job boards and resume databases.
Despite knowing this, the majority of users fail to take full advantage of the platform and are missing out on countless opportunities to build their personal brand. (Editor’s Note: I’m really guilty of this, but I promise I’m trying to be better.)
It doesn’t take much. Make a point to post something or engage with someone else’s update at least once a week. This will help your profile gain more visibility. Remember, whatever you post should add value to your network. Only posting links to job descriptions is not enough.
Every day you wait, your profile gets more outdated. Make it a priority. Block sometime this week to incorporate these best practices into your own profile. Once you’ve made your updates, use your newfound knowledge and expertise to help your candidates with their own profiles.