When you’re ready to find a new job, it makes sense that you’d use LinkedIn as part of your search. But there’s a big difference between simply being on LinkedIn and having an amazing profile that makes it easy for recruiters to find you — and that can really impact your job search.
It’s also likely that your LinkedIn profile will be one of the top results when someone searches your name, says Miriam Salpeter, a social media strategist and founder of Keppie Careers. “Since the vast majority of people will Google your name before they hire you for a job or a gig, it’s in your best interest to ensure what they find tells the right story,” she says.
Sure, you already know that you should have a nice, professional-looking head shot and that you need to fill in your past experience, but there are certain tweaks to your profile that can take it to the next level. We got career coaches and LinkedIn experts to spill.
Job titles are great, but they tend to vary from company to company, which is why it’s so important to use keywords in your profile. “You have to list job descriptions just like you do on your résumé,” Kohut says. Recruiters are searching by those words — not by titles — so having the right phrases in your profile matters. To find the best ones for you, simply type a few words you think describe your work into the LinkedIn search bar. The most popular keywords will come up first.
Create a profile summary
It’s one extra step you probably don’t want to take when you’re pressed for time, but your profile summary matters. “Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search,” says LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele. She recommends including the skills and keywords that you have and want to be known for here, too. And, if you’re stumped, look at the job listings that you’re interested in and add some of those words to your profile summary.
Turn on the Open Candidates option
Recruiters may just stumble upon your profile, but turning on the Open Candidates feature in the Career Interests dashboard lets them know you’re open to new opportunities. This makes you twice as likely to show up in search results, Decembrele says.
Update your Career Interests
This feature, which is linked with the Open Candidates option, allows you to give recruiters more information about what you’re looking for. For example, you can list the company size you prefer, where you’re located, and the type of work you want (full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.). “This makes it easier for them to classify you as a good candidate for the role you’re pursuing,” Decembrele says.
Ask friends and colleagues to create endorsements for you — they’re basically like mini references that recruiters can eyeball. “The best endorsements come from people who are also well regarded and endorsed for the skills they say you have,” Salpeter says. Not only can it make you look good, but it also helps boost the odds you’ll show up in a recruiter’s search. “This is another piece of the algorithm LinkedIn uses to decide if your profile is a good result in a search,” Salpeter says.
Showcase your portfolio
Featuring samples of your work can help move a recruiter from curious to very interested, Kohut says. Obviously, this doesn’t work for every career, but if you’re in a field that’s visual or where you have an online footprint, it’s a good idea to showcase it.
Make your contact information visible
Unless you’re a first-level connection with a recruiter, they can’t just message you without requesting you as a connection. That’s why Kohut recommends having your email address on your profile. Otherwise, it may take them longer to get in touch with you, and another candidate could come along in the meantime.