LinkedIn top tips for jobseekers
If you’re looking to move onto a new role, or you’re ready to step back into your work shoes after a break, then updating your LinkedIn profile should be top of your action plan.
With over 25 million users in the UK, and many of them daily users, that’s a lot of networking. If you’re looking for that dream job, you will have a better chance of being noticed if the people doing the recruiting can already see what you are capable of achieving. It’s no surprise that the majority of recruiters and prospective employers look at LinkedIn profiles when filling jobs.
LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand. If you are establishing yourself as an expert in your particular field, LinkedIn bolsters this by allowing you to position yourself as a thought leader. From your profile content to the posts you write or comment on, always keep in mind the brand you’re building for yourself.
Share some of your personal flair as well. You don’t need to be all business and no personality. While putting up your meal plans for the day might be frowned upon, sharing some of the moments that have made your day interesting can remind your network of who you are and what you do.
Make sure that everything you write and post on LinkedIn is done with the intention of either building up your personal brand, positioning you to get your ideal role.
With your personal brand and career aspirations in mind, utilise the space that LinkedIn offers you to sell yourself. Your headline doesn’t have to be your current job title, use this space of a few words to position yourself as you want to be known. If you are not employed at this moment then make your headline match your goal. For example, you might be an ‘Account Director Seeking New Opportunities’.
Below your headline you can include a summary in the “About” section. You may choose to write a couple of sentences, but you have the opportunity to write a few short paragraphs.
Use this space to share your key skills, qualifications, achievements and interests. Ideally in first person and ideally with some impressive numbers to back up your key career achievements.
Your LinkedIn profile need not be a replica of your CV, but as with your CV, ensure your profile highlights your achievements. Use bullets and try to quantify as much as possible for instance rather than simply saying you managed a project team, you could say that you lead a team of five to deliver a £2 million project that came in 10% under budget.
Facts and figures are key to building trust in your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure these are correct as you can be sure someone in your LinkedIn network will know.
Keep your work history relevant. You want your last two positions to reflect what you’ve done and the skills you have. If you’ve had a career break at any point, don’t be afraid to openly list this as a “Career break”. Separate to a career break, if you were on maternity leave from an employer, then you don’t need to list this as you are still technically employed.
Now that the words on your profile accurately reflect your experience, take a look at your profile picture. Your profile picture is the first impression potential employers have of you. Make sure it’s a headshot of you, that is clear and professional. If you have a photo of you in action, maybe doing a presentation, then that would be good to use as a header photo.
Whatever you do, don’t put up that photo your friend took of you before your night out. Yes, you look fabulous all made up but that doesn’t send the right message. Neither do photos where you can tell someone was cropped out or you’re on your hols.
Asking past work colleagues and employers for testimonials is a great way to build up a profile on LinkedIn. This tells potential employers that what you say you can do is accurate. They get to see a mini reference before they invite you to an interview. If you’re asking managers or team members to leave a testimonial, you can offer to do the same for them in return.
You can take a strategic approach. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s former Career Expert says: “approach different people and suggest the particular skills or experiences that you would like them to highlight.”
Check your settings
There are a few settings on LinkedIn that you need to check. Start with your privacy settings. If you want someone to approach you with a new and interesting position then ensure your profile is set to public or they will not be able to find you. But also ensure that notifications are turned off otherwise your connections (and possibly your manager) will see notifications that you’ve been updating your profile which is often a sign that someone is looking for a new opportunity! LinkedIn offers a service where you can let potential employers know that you are actively looking for work, while your own employer won’t be able to see this.
One of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is to post content that people want to read. An easy way to start is to post an article that you find interesting or relevant to your field of work. Use this to make a statement or ask a question. It shows potential employers that you are thinking around your field of expertise. Or if you are looking for a change in industry, that you are learning new skills.
Try to post once a day and make sure to have conversations with your network. You never know who might know of a new, exciting position opening up.
Steps to polish your LinkedIn Profile:
Write a headline that positions you how you want to be known.
Make sure your summary tells your story and invites people to read more.
Update your work history using facts and figures to illustrate your achievements.
Explain any career gaps.
Check your settings.
Update your profile pic.
Ask for testimonials.
Post content and talk to your network.
Keep your personal brand at top of mind with all of the above.