Make your LinkedIn profile a hook for recruiters with these tips

Make your LinkedIn profile a hook for recruiters with these tips

Let me ask a question. What would you prefer? Searching LinkedIn for days, weeks and months to find the right job, or simply waking up in the morning to find a message from a recruiter in your LinkedIn inbox, inviting you to an interview? 

Well, I bet your answer is number two, right? The second option is called a “passive job offer”, as you haven’t actively searched for one - the recruiter has found you via their own research - and can also be called a “pull job search strategy". Passive job offers from recruiters save you time, energy and a lot of disappointment.

LinkedIn as a magnet for recruiters

In recent years, LinkedIn has transitioned from being not only a social networking site for professionals, but also a major tool for recruiters. To cut the cost of advertising job offers in traditional ways, many recruiters now use LinkedIn as their top recruitment tool. And to look for talent, they not only rely on posting jobs on LinkedIn and waiting for people to apply, but also actively search LinkedIn to scout for talent that hasn’t yet applied. 

How to make your LinkedIn profile sing to recruiters

So, how do you make your LinkedIn profile alluring to recruiters? You will need to make sure you’ve taken care of the following steps:

1. Keywords, keywords, keywords

Before you actually start doing anything on your LinkedIn profile, I would invite you to do some proper “market” research for your own job, profile, industry, and so on. Why do I say that? Because whether you are working on your headline, summary, skills or experience section, the most important thing you need to keep in mind are keywords. Recruiters will use keywords to scout the talent they are looking for. If you want to be chased by recruiters rather than chasing them yourself, this point is crucial.

What is the best way to find relevant keywords? I suggest doing the following:

  • Find five recent job offers that are similar to the position you have now
  • Find five recent job offers that you are interested in now - they represent the job you are after
  • Find five (great!) LinkedIn profiles of people with similar jobs to your current one
  • Find five (great!) LinkedIn profiles of people who are your career role models

Once you have gathered those, the fun part starts. Scan all of them and find all relevant keywords, key phrases and key sentences that represent your skills, talents and experience. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using word cloud software to scan for the most common keywords. Put these keywords in a separate document. This document will be your keywords treasure chest that you can use not only for your LinkedIn profile but also for writing your CV and cover letter.

Remember that keywords and phrases coming from job offers were written by recruiters, so they will be used to search for people like you, provided you did your homework and included them.

2. Profile photo

The chances that any recruiter will have a look at your profile if you do not have a photo are close to zero. But I assume you are a professional, and you have one. I would strongly recommend having one taken by a professional photographer. There are many budget-friendly professional photographers out there, if you are on a tighter budget.

Please make sure your photo showcases you as a professional. After all, LinkedIn is not meant for your family and friends but for professional use. This doesn’t mean you have to look very serious; on the contrary, smiling and friendly faces attract more attention than very serious ones.

3. Background photo

Having a background photo (the one behind you that looks pretty grey if you do not upload your own picture) might not make or break your whole profile, but it makes it complete, and it makes it look like you care - like you have put in effort. When selecting one, I suggest you think about the message you want to convey with it. If you are in a sustainability sector, put up something that represents that. If you are in finance, put up something that reflects that.

There are plenty of professional websites that offer free photos - I use Unsplash myself.

4. Headline

Having the right headline is key to making your profile a magnet for recruiters and hiring managers. Next to the photo, it is the first thing the recruiter will lay their eyes on. Even more importantly, the headline and keywords you put there play a big part in whether your profile will be included in the search results of a recruiter or not.

As mentioned in point one, the way you build your headline will be based on the keyword search document you have created. So, find out what the most relevant keyword is and make sure you include it in your headline. It can be your title, but it can also be a certain hard skill, experience or market you operate in.

5. Summary

The summary is the place to show who you are as a person and professional, and to make a connection that immediately hooks the reader (the recruiter). Please do not write it in the third person - it is meant to make a human connection, so simply write in “I” form.

Again, think of the keywords you want to include here and, as you want to make your next career step, make sure to not only include the keywords from your current job but also from your future one. Make sure you highlight your top skills and experience, but also show that you are a human being, and are passionate about the things you are doing.

6. Open to work

In the past, people who were looking for a new job were putting it in the headline: “Open to new opportunities." If you are still doing this, please STOP immediately. A while ago, LinkedIn launched a feature that allows you to show you are open to work and make it either visible to the whole LinkedIn network (the sign around your profile photo) or visible only to recruiters. So, please use this feature instead.

7. Experience

Last but not least, the experience section. Please be aware that recruiters will mainly look at the last three years of your professional experience, so make sure you put an effort into completing this section. Of course, make sure to include your core responsibilities looking beyond these three years, but the main emphasis should be on your current experience. And again, open your treasure chest document and make sure you sprinkle around the relevant keywords.

Whatever you do, always ask yourself: “How relevant is this to my next career step?”

When you look at your LinkedIn profile, do you feel proud, or do you want to hide? Keep in mind you have the power to create a great LinkedIn profile that will work like a magnet for recruiters! Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in the Netherlands.

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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