It is important that your LinkedIn profile mirror your resume. Factual information, such as your job titles, dates of employment, and educational credentials must match exactly.
Beyond those core similarities, your LinkedIn profile is completely customizable. The Ann Arbor SPARK Talent Team has complied the following five tips to make LinkedIn work for your job search:
1. Significant Summary
The Summary section of your LinkedIn profile is a great way to highlight your experience. Use most of the full character-limit to increase your chances of coming up in a LinkedIn or Google search. Remember to use keyword rich content with industry terms that hiring managers and HR professionals will be searching for. Take a look at Google Trends for help with key terms to use in your profile.
2. Professional Photo
Your LinkedIn profile photo should look professional. This is not the time to crop yourself out of a wedding/graduation/class reunion photo – we can tell! To stage the photo wear business or business casual attire in front of a plain backdrop. If you are not comfortable with a close up photo, try a shot from the waist up – this will minimize facial features while still providing you with a complete LinkedIn Profile.
3. Specific Skills
As the job market continues its slow but steady improvement, employers will continue to limit hiring to essential functions. This means companies need to know you have the specific skill set they are searching for to fit their current opening. Your LinkedIn profile includes a skills feature for additional key terms to highlight your capabilities outside of your summary. However, do not embellish; it much better to highlight the fewer skills you really have than stretch and list something your resume clearly shows is a marginal ability.
4. Real Recommendations
The recommendations feature on LinkedIn can be a very powerful to those reviewing your profile – if they are worth something to the recruiter. While recommendations of your past interns or colleagues in a similar position have some weight, they do not engage the recruiter or HR professional as much as someone in upper management or from the executive team. Whenever possible request a recommendation from your direct supervisor or someone in an even higher leadership role that knows your skill set.
5. Look Lightly
Users have the ability to peruse LinkedIn and identify who may or may not be interviewing them at the company. BEWARE – Unless you change your privacy settings the owners of the profiles you are reviewing know you are looking at them. You can turn off this feature by visiting your profile settings and changing, “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.” If you have a basic account, LinkedIn practices the “fair is fair” rule and will not allow you to see who has viewed your personal profile while this feature is turned on – paid accounts allow for different levels of access.
6. Cautions Connections
If you are a job seeker who is currently employed while looking for your next career move, be cautious of who you connect with during your job search. If your employer notices recent connections with recruiters and other human resource professionals you may not have the cushion of keeping your current position for long. Under your privacy controls you can choose to turn off your activity broadcasts which may help keep your new connections private.
Taking these tips and putting them to work for your LinkedIn profile will help draw recruiters and other HR professionals to your page. Remember to review your profile every month or so and update your profile and security settings as needed.