LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking with over 200 million users. LinkedIn is also one of the most powerful tools that you can have in your job search toolbox. This social media website is a networking tool, a way to get the inside scoop on a company you wish to join, most importantly, a way to express your personal brand online to increase your marketability.
When I was a Recruiter at Google, over 90% of the candidates I recruited were found either through LinkedIn or by referrals. According to Jobvite’s 2012 survey, 92% of employers that use social media to recruit said that LinkedIn was their main sourcing tool (used by 93% respondents).
As a Recruiter, I often scan through thousands of profiles to fill one position. Here are three common mistakes that could prevent your online brand from catching a Recruiter’s attention:
1. There’s either no picture or an inappropriate one
If I’m scanning through your profile, the first thing I’ll look at is your picture. This isn’t because I care about your hairstyle, it’s because your image is an expression of your personal brand. If you have no picture, I’m likely to conclude that you don’t care enough about being recruited to really market yourself well. Similarly, having an inappropriate picture indicates to me that you are unaware of online professional etiquette, makes me uncertain of your fit for the position and makes me wonder how well you will represent the employer’s brand. Bottom line: leave the group pictures, cropped pictures, and baby pictures on Facebook. This is your professional image that you’re cultivating, so invest in a professionally taken headshot to increase your marketability.
2. The headline doesn’t generate curiosity
If I found your profile on LinkedIn, one of the first things that I read is your tagline to see what you’re all about. The default setting for this is your most recent job title. However, you can edit your headline to generate curiosity for one to click on your profile to read further. Get creative by incorporating relevant keywords that increase your searchability. Treat your tagline like it is premium real estate. When you are updating it, think about what you want to be known for and searched for. Quick tip to increase your search ranking: Put your Recruiter hat on, what keywords would a Recruiter search for?
Some headlines that have caught my eye include:
‘On the hunt for my dream job in digital, entertainment, consumer marketing’
‘Opportunity cultivator, Computer Scientist, Entrepreneur, Ivey MBA Scholar, Strategic Thinker’
“Transitioning strategy into execution. Business development, change management, human capital and operations consultant.”
These headlines gave me the impression that these people know what they want and a sense of who they are, which makes it easier to be considered for specific positions.
Check out my profile for another example of expressing your personal brand through your headline: www.linkedin.com/in/dianachan
3. The summary isn’t well developed
Your summary is an opportunity to really separate yourself by expressing your personal brand. Write in short paragraph form and be sure to discuss your accomplishments, interests, and the value you have to offer. Use a personable tone and remember the 3 C’s of an optimized summary: be clear, concise, and compelling. Include your email address, as this will make it easier for the recruiter to connect with you instantly via email.
Read your summary out loud when you are finished writing it. If it sounds unnatural to you, this means it is lacking authenticity and you need to fix it. Let the Recruiter see you through the computer screen: express your best self!