LinkedIn Guide for Candidates – Recruitment Perspective

Use our LinkedIn Guide to optimise your personal branding to land your next exciting role

LinkedIn is an important tool within the recruitment process, playing an essential role in the headhunting, screening and selection process. Our LinkedIn Guide seeks to help you on your journey to producing the most attractive profile you can, in order to best appeal to both recruiters and prospective employers.

With so many recruiters and hiring teams using LinkedIn as a first port of call to find and contact potential candidates, it is crucial that you maintain a healthy and accurate LinkedIn profile.

Having an incomplete or uninspiring profile can quite quickly exclude you from further consideration. Imagine all of those missed opportunities that could have helped you to land your dream job!

As such, nurturing your personal branding via your LinkedIn profile is essential. In many ways, your LinkedIn profile is more important than your CV. It allows you the opportunity to find out about exciting roles that fit your skill set… when you may not be actively looking! Who wants to scroll through page after page of job boards when you could sit back and let your next career jump come to you? With so many companies engaging recruitment firms to find candidates as opposed to directly advertising their positions, having an attractive LinkedIn profile is now more powerful than ever. Without this, recruiters cannot find you – it is as simple as that!

As recruiters, we use LinkedIn every day to source the best candidates for our clients’ needs. It is a great tool to connect with the market and having an up-to-date, detailed LinkedIn profile will help you attract suitable opportunities. It is essential to take the time to optimise your profile, providing a thorough overview of your areas of expertise for clients, employers and recruiters. You should showcase what makes you different… it may be your work history, skills, education, hobbies or your volunteer experience. Everything adds value.

So, what should you be doing to make sure you are attracting opportunities?

First and foremost, your photograph. This is the first thing recruiters and prospective employers will see. It is their first impression of you and provides insight into how you portray yourself professionally.

It is absolutely crucial your photograph is recent, professional and high resolution. A grainy photograph taken 10 years ago with a dodgy camera may not shine you in the best light, nor does your favourite Facebook profile picture of yourself with a margarita…and yet, as recruiters we see this all the time! If you don’t have one, find a friend with a steady hand and a smartphone – I’m sure they would be more than happy to take a few snaps. And remember, to be professional you do not have to look stern and unapproachable…a smile goes a long way!

Adding a background photograph is another great way to stand out and according to studies will give your LinkedIn profile 11 times more chance to get viewed. A simple change, with a big benefit…just keep this professional. It’s possible your current employer may have a branded background which you can use for this.

We find that the headline and summary sections are often underused and this is a missed opportunity for candidates to express clearly who they are, share their role, their motivations and skill-set. Reinforcing your profile with these will provide recruiters with an immediate understanding of who you are and why they should consider you as a potential candidate. To give yourself the best chances, you want to make it as easy as possible for a recruiter to understand your suitability for the role they are filling.

You should use your LinkedIn profile to your advantage, to set yourself apart from the masses and ensure that of all the UX designers, BI Analysts, Java Developers, Project Managers…they call you!

Showcasing your achievements in previous employment is a concrete way of highlighting your value, your specific offering and why you should be awarded a place on the shortlist. You must write for the eyes of the people you want to appeal to. To become your advocate, they need more than a generic list of responsibilities taken from your job description. Additional skills such as languages are also essential.

We all know that references are a key part of the recruitment process, generally carried out as one of the final stages prior to confirming appointment in a role. However, visible recommendations on your LinkedIn profile provide a sense of security for the recruiter who is considering putting you forward to their client. Remember, it is their reputation on the line as well, and they want to ensure you are the right fit for the company. If a well-respected industry professional has taken the time to attest to your success, your fantastic working attitude and emphasises that you are a great team player, this immediately creates that good impression that your profile should strive towards. Don’t be afraid to ask previous colleagues and employers to spare a moment to contribute a recommendation…make it reciprocal and do the same for them!

Joining groups and contributing to industry discussion is also considered highly throughout the recruitment process – it shows you are engaged and that you have a genuine interest in the type of work you are doing. Groups can also be a great tool for you in your career development and there is a wealth of knowledge being shared via LinkedIn. So take a look around and find some relevant groups that appeal to you.

Blogging about your area of expertise is also a great way to show that you go that extra mile, by sharing your skills and opinions with the wider industry…not to mention demonstrating that you are a great communicator!

And finally, all of the above is meaningless if your experience is not kept up to date. It is also essential that it reinforces what is on your CV. Once a recruiter or prospective employer has your CV, they are very likely to cross-reference this with your LinkedIn profile and any discrepancies may raise red flags. It is imperative that both your CV and your LinkedIn profile are complete, accurate and showcase your experience in the best way. This includes interests outside of work, such as volunteering. It is all in the details…so review, revise and makes these summaries engaging.

LinkedIn is one of the most effective online tools for your personal branding, allowing you to showcase yourself as the outstanding candidate that you are…and best of all, it is free! Taking the time to optimise your profile is worth it – if you have the right experience, the opportunities will come knocking!