That's a common question for jor job seekers, including both new college grads and experienced professionals, because putting together a competitive and thorough LinkedIn profile can be daunting. Many job seekers neglect to use LinkedIn to its full potential simply because they are unsure how to differentiate LinkedIn from other social networks.
Below are 10 secrets to using LinkedIn for job search success, with tips from Bill Peppler, Managing Partner at Kavaliro and Emilie Cushman, Co-Founder at Kira Talent:
1. Upload a proper headshot
A professional headshot will help hiring managers envision you as a part of the team. Even if you look great in your latest selfie or pre-bar photo-shoot, your LinkedIn profile photo needs to be more mature and professional. Wear work-ready attire appropriate to fit the career path you are pursuing, ensure your face is in the center of the shot, and do not try to beautify it with extreme contrast or Instagram filters.
2. Make your headline stand out
Your headline on LinkedIn is your personal brand seen by those who visit your profile. This headline (just below your name) is what shows up when a recruiter conducts a search on LinkedIn. This can help bring your profile to the top of searches depending on which keywords you include. If you are a recent college grad do not use a generic headline like “Recent graduate seeking employment,” but instead use a headline like “IT Specialist Looking for a Company to Excel At”. This small step makes a big difference in your job search.
3. Update and participate often
Being active on LinkedIn shows commitment to staying relevant in your industry, and it can get you noticed by recruiters, both within and outside of your network. When you read an interesting article relevant to your field of study, post it to LinkedIn. Join groups and follow companies that appeal to you, and don’t be afraid to comment on topics and articles that interest you.
4. Add nontraditional experiences and awards into your portfolio
There are a number of ways to showcase nontraditional work experience within your profile:
- Add volunteer or unpaid experiences, and expand on the role and responsibilities in the description.
- Within your ‘education’ details, you can add clubs or organizations you participated in during school.
- If you have completed any published projects, academic or extracurricular, there is a place to showcase those through uploaded documents or web URLs.
- You can include any awards you have received, giving you a chance to highlight academic achievements or scholarships on your profile.
5. Follow your dream companies
Everyone has a dream company or two they would love to work at; but are you following said company? We highly recommend you create a list of ideal future employers and follow them on LinkedIn via company pages. This way, you will hear about anything new going on in the company, including new positions they are hiring for or new products and services that may have recently launched. This company news will come in handy if you are offered an interview, so it is ideal to stay up-to-date!
6. Include a custom cover letter and resume when you apply to a job on LinkedIn
LinkedIn will allow you to ‘apply instantly’ to some postings. However, just because you can apply in less than sixty seconds, doesn’t mean you should. If you want a position, write a custom cover letter explaining why you are an excellent fit for the specific position and the value you can add to their organization. If you do not want a position badly enough to write a custom cover letter, why are you even applying?
7. Open up your privacy settings
When first setting up your LinkedIn profile, your instincts may have immediately been, “Hide everything.” Believe it or not, privacy settings are not always your friend. If you want hiring managers to see the detail you have put into your profile, you need to enable your profile to be viewed by non-connections.
You also have the option to change your settings to hide when you view other profiles. Many people turn this privacy setting on so they can view their peers anonymously. However, letting people know you’ve viewed their profile shows you’re researching for the job. Plus, by opening this setting up, you will get notified when hiring managers view your profile.
8. Expand your network
Connect with people who have made a positive impact on your professional life. The bigger your first-degree network is on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you will come across through the platform. This also increases your visibility to recruiters who are seeking the ideal candidate. You can even easily invite all contacts to join you on LinkedIn with a simple email. Just download your address book from any webmail application to invite them.
9. Find your hiring manager
It’s easy to get lost amongst the many profiles a hiring manager comes across each day. Be sure to find the hiring manager you have been in contact with and make a connection. To find this person, use the Advanced People Search feature with your target company name filled in. There, you will be able to add in a title, like hiring manager, as a second search term. Once you have your hiring manager’s name, you can address your cover letter to them to stand out more in the sea of applicants.
10. Pick the right skills
On LinkedIn, you can say you are skilled at almost anything in regards to your professional life. Be sure to stay specific to the skills that make you good at your job. Your current connections can endorse these skills, which help prove to a recruiter that you are trustworthy. Previous employers can also reference these skills throughout recommendations they may write on your profile.
LinkedIn can be your best friend throughout the job search if you utilize it correctly. Be sure to check out and follow Kavaliro and Kira Talent’s LinkedIn pages to stay up-to-date with the latest news and job openings. And if you have been using LinkedIn in your job search, but still can't find a job, consider a resume update, to help you stand out from the rest of the job seekers. Hire Matt Krumrie to write your resume and take the next step in your career. Learn More
Orlando-based staffing firm Kavaliro places personnel across the United States in the fields of information technology, engineering, finance, utilities, accounting and administration. By using best practices and optimal employee recruiting strategies, Kavaliro provides employers with integrated staffing solutions, providing only the most qualified professionals who can fill both project and permanent positions in order to ensure the ongoing success of all types of businesses.
About Bill Peppler
With more than 15 years of experience in the technology, financial staffing and consulting industries, Bill Peppler is responsible for overseeing operations and developing additional new markets for Kavaliro across the United States. Before coming to Kavaliro, Peppler worked in the Orlando, Seattle and San Diego markets for international staffing and recruiting organizations. He has recruited for clients such as Microsoft, Amazon.com, Boeing and various Fortune 500 customers.
About Kira Talent
Starting with admissions, the Kira team is dedicated to arming schools with the tools they need to select students who will excel both in the classroom and beyond graduation. The Kira platform helps admissions teams assess applicants with timed video and written responses to evaluate skills like communication, leadership and creativity, which can’t be assessed through traditional applications and test scores. With its new education portal, Kira University, the company leverages years of research and data to help schools build their strongest cohorts yet.
About Emilie Cushman
Emilie Cushman is the co-founder of Kira Talent, an admissions assessment platform for colleges and universities. Cushman founded the company in 2012, at the age of 22 when she participated in The Next 36, a program that provides young entrepreneurs with venture capital and access to CEO mentors. Since launching Kira Talent, Cushman has been named the HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow and one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women.