15 Jul 2015
If you apply for a job, talk to a recruiter, or even make an informal enquiry with an employer, it’s more than likely that they’re going to check out your LinkedIn profile. Social screening has become a go-to step in the recruitment process and whilst your other social profiles such as Facebook and Instagram should be set to private, your LinkedIn profile should stand proud.
Whether you’ve developed a killer CV or made a great impression over the phone, if your LinkedIn profile is lacking you’ll be leaving some serious doubts in their mind.
During LinkedIn’s early years, LinkedIn profiles were basic; a near copy of a CV. Nowadays a LinkedIn profile can be so much more. It’s a chance to elaborate on your experience, showing the effects that you’ve had in previous roles, whilst elucidating your value to prospective employers.
In this post we’re going to give you the advice you’ll need to make your CV standout from the crowd, enticing employers and recruiters alike.
Include your contact details
It might be one of the most obvious steps, but it’s amazing how many people fail to include up-to date contact details. Ensure that your email address is professional and one that you check regularly. If you’re really serious about networking it’s also a good idea to include your phone number. You can even add your Twitter profile if it’s going to show you in a good light.
Match your profile to your chosen audience
When it comes to your audience and the language that you use, LinkedIn profiles can be a little tricky. A CV can be re-worded and tailored to match each employer. When writing your LinkedIn profile, you have a decision to make; be more general to attract a wider range of employer or be specific and tailored.
That decision will rightly depend on your situation but if you can it’s better to focus your profile on your primary job target. Being specific will help you avoid presenting a confusing profile, letting an employer digest your experience and skills with ease.
Write an engaging profile headline
Your profile headline is probably more important than you might think. To put this to the test, open LinkedIn in a new tab and search ‘People’ for any role that comes to mind. Just like a Google search you’ll be presented with a taster of limited information; a name, a photo and a headline is all that you get to entice the reader. Writing ‘Financial Accountant at Pro-logic Incorporated’ just isn’t enough anymore. Think of it like writing a front page headline, if it’s boring the paper will never sell. Go one step further by describing your responsibilities, niche specialisms and value proposition such as ‘Helping SME’S increase their sales and profits while reducing risk.’
Add a profile summary
The next step is to write a detailed yet succinct profile summary. The idea of your profile summary is to give employers a snapshot of your skills and experience to encourage them to read more. When you’re writing a profile summary, think about the buzzwords that employers might search for.
The key is to include the number of years’ experience that you have, your job title, the skills that set you aside from other candidates and one or two achievements from your career history that show your worth to an employer. This should help them to imagine you in the role that they are hoping to fill by thinking about the effect you may have in the workplace.
Choose your photo wisely
Your photo is one of the first things that an employer or recruiter will see. Making a good impression is a must and trust us, getting the right photo will take some time and thought. The good news is you don’t need a professional to take it, just a decent smart phone and a patient photographer.
Unless you have a picture that suits LinkedIn already, it’s best to get one taken just for LinkedIn. To set the scene, choose a background that isn’t distracting such as a wall painted in one colour. Be dressed in something professional that you would wear to work. Ideally you want it from the shoulders up, with your face taking up at least 60% of the photo (no long distance artsy shots). Finally, remember to choose the right expression. You want to seem friendly and approachable, whilst avoiding looking like the office clown.
Add an honest and detailed work history
It’s essential that you include an honest and detailed work history. LinkedIn is in the public domain so avoid the temptation to inflate any of your responsibilities. If you are looking to move up the ranks, you’re going to need to give honest examples of how you’ve worked at that level.
Encourage your contacts to endorse your skills and ask for recommendations
Endorsements and recommendations can help to give your profile real gravitas. They show that people are willing to put their reputation on the line for you. For endorsements one of the best ways to encourage endorsements is to endorse your contacts. Endorse them for their key skills and they may well repay the favour.
When it comes to recommendations, the best way to get them is to ask. Contact colleagues that you’ve worked with closely in the past. Explain to them that you are hoping to improve your LinkedIn profile and that you would like a recommendation about your skills and work ethos. A well written recommendation is one of the best things you can get for your LinkedIn profile so you should see this step as a matter of urgency.
Quantify your achievements with supporting stats
Employers love quantifiable information. Statistics offer evidence to support any of your achievements, and they let an employer see the effects that you’ve had in a previous role in numbers, especially important for finance roles. One thing to be aware of though is to avoid including any sensitive information such as company figures, opt for percentages where necessary.
Share or publish interesting content and join relevant groups
To get even more out of LinkedIn it can be a great idea to share or publish interesting content. If you can share content that is useful to other LinkedIn users you’ll be able to carve out a reputation as someone that is active within your industry.
To take it to the next step you could even consider publishing your own blogs to share your expertise with the wider world. By writing thought provoking and useful content you can show that you’re a thought leader. If your contacts share your content they’ll be actively promoting your LinkedIn profile to their contacts.
The final cherry on the top is to join relevant LinkedIn groups, sharing your own content and engaging in insightful discussions with people in your sector. Manage all of these steps and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of LinkedIn. What are you waiting for?
Your LinkedIn profile should reflect a superb CV. If you need a little extra help to sharpen them up, call us for advice on 020 8532 2644 and don’t forget to connect with us on LinkedIn.
For more tips, market news, salary surveys, and the latest career opportunities download our app, it’s completely free. https://www.staffingsolutions.co.uk/app/
Written by Financial Staffing Solutions, specialist financial recruiters covering all accountancy and financial roles. If you’re looking for a new position within this sector, or need to hire a finance professional, then get in touch: https://www.staffingsolutions.co.uk/ – 020 8532 2644