How to optimise your LinkedIn profile to attract potential employers
Without wishing to sound like my grandfather, I often think how easy young people have it today.
Instead of having to approach the person of your dreams in a pub and risk potential humiliation, they can now simply go on-line to find them. And similarly, in the jobs' market, you don't need to have a well-connected family member to find links to potential employers.
At the last count, LinkedIn had over 20m members in the United Kingdom alone, which means that more than one in three people in the UK are members of the website. Businesses such as Sky, the Net-a-Porter group and Hibu, who are the parent company of Yell.com, all use LinkedIn not only to advertise but also to search for potential recruits. Of course, knowing there are tens of thousands of potential employers out there and getting yourself known by them is a different story, but just like an online dating site, it is important to spend time to create a profile that works.
When it comes to writing your profile, the most important rule is less is more. Recruiters don't want to be bogged down in excessively verbose language but want something that communicates the crucial facts about you. Avoid any empty hyperbolic clichés to describe yourself, such as 'game-changer'. In fact, a rule of thumb to follow is that if you have heard a contestant on 'The Apprentice' use a phrase to describe themselves (my favourite is 'I'm like a shark, right at the top of the food chain') then avoid it!
The same rule applies to the summary of your experience. Be brief but relevant. Does your career history need to include every position you've held? Try to ensure the most important elements of your career are at the top of your summary. It seems to be a human characteristic that when reading, we pay more attention to the information that comes first and then ignore the rest. Don't go overboard when choosing your specialisms, as you don't want to be considered to be quite good at a lot of things without mastering one.
But don't just write your profile then sit back and wait for employer interest. Be proactive and try and connect with people in the companies you would like to work for. From this, you will learn about their business partnerships, projects and even good causes they support, which can all give a sense of a company's DNA. Can you see yourself as a good fit for them?
Finally, choose your photograph carefully. No matter how well our antennae develops, we still judge to a degree on appearances.
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