As recruiters, we spend a huge portion of our day on LinkedIn looking at hundreds of profiles a week. While every recruiter has their own preferences and opinions on what they like to see, do what makes sense for you and your job search. With that in mind, here are some ideas for how to present your best self on LinkedIn, from our perspective.
1. Add A Profile Picture
Recruiters are more likely to contact you if we can see your face, and know that your account isn’t controlled by a gray silhouette. The photo doesn’t need to be taken professionally and doesn’t need to be formal. Just a presentable picture of you will do. Feel free to include something from your industry in the shot (e.g., a photo of you riding your bike if you’re in the bike industry, or outdoors if you’re in the outdoor industry) but it’s not a requirement. Choose a photo you feel comfortable with and shows your face. And just include yourself in the picture. For the most part, LinkedIn isn’t the place to show off your cute kids.
Use your headline to explain what you do. This will make it easier for recruiters to figure out what you do at a glance, without digging at length through your profile. Putting something vague in your headline doesn’t help us understand your skills. “Sales and Marketing Professional” doesn’t say as much about your skills and expertise as “Sr. Director of Marketing at XYZ Company,” or “Outdoor Industry Sales & Marketing Sr. Director”.
A short summary is a great opportunity to tell the person viewing your profile what you are interested in doing. For example, if you are a Finance Manager looking to move into a Director role, call it out in this section. If you are particularly interested in the outdoor industry because you go camping every weekend, or if you want to enter the healthy living space because you are passionate about the products you use, put it here!
4. Brief Job Explanations
Tell us what you did in your roles. No need to include the job description that you were handed in your interview, but include achievements and accomplishments that you made. Include keywords and skills that an employer looking for your position would look for (e.g. P&L management for a GM). This will help a recruiter understand your skillset better, regardless of what your title was.
Include your general location. It is much easier to contact a potential candidate about a role if you know where they are located. Otherwise, a recruiter is asking themselves the questions: Do they live on the East or West Coast? Would they be open to relocation? Do they already live in the city that this position is in? No need to be overly specific, but one of the geographical locations that LinkedIn provides (i.e. Greater New York City Area or Portland, Oregon Area) will be helpful for recruiters.
If you are open to relocation or are in the midst of a move and will be looking for a position once you reach your destination, include it on your profile. You can use the “Open to Opportunities” feature and specify the place(s) that you are open or moving to. Otherwise, you can include in your headline “Sales Director Relocating to Denver, CO” or add it to your Summary section. This way recruiters will understand why you applied to a certain role and are more likely to reach out about opportunities in that area.