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Hollyn O'Brien By Hollyn O'Brien • September 28, 2015

Your LinkedIn Better Look Like This Before You Job-Hunt

It takes about 8 seconds for a recruiter to scroll through your LinkedIn profile. That’s all you have to impress them, so make sure you’re not getting overlooked. Here are some helpful ways to make sure that you have an eye-catching profile that says “I’m the kind of person you want to hire.”

1. Have a high-quality, “normal” picture.


Your picture on LinkedIn should be a simple, professional, and smiling picture of you.  To represent yourself well, steer away from revealing or crazy apparel and please, no selfies. Your LinkedIn picture isn’t a  self-expression opportunity. That’s what your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Myspace (anyone?) are for. Let’s all agree to #beprofessional on LinkedIn. Oh, and mirror pictures? Don’t even go there.

2. Utilize a descriptive headline.


If you’re an active job seeker / unemployed

Explain what you’re looking for, and be specific. If you’re seeking a specific type of position, be sure to include it without sounding desperate (i.e., “Inside Sales professional…”) Also, including the type of company you’d like to work for is helpful when recruiters conduct specific searches.

Make sure to keep your current location updated. If you’re seeking a position in Austin, but live in Florida, make sure to put “...in Austin” in your headline along with your current timeline for moving in your summary. And your industry should be either the one you worked in most recently or the one that you hope to get into.

If you’re a passive job seeker / employed:

Your caption format should be “Job Title at Company Name”. List your current industry, and covertly add any job seeking information into the summary section.

3. Take time to write an effective summary.

Your LinkedIn summary is not a chance to get on a soap-box, ramble about your entire life story, or get political. If a recruiter is scrolling through your page, they will be immediately dissuaded by a cluttered summary that makes you seem difficult to work with.

This section should be a short summary in first person of your experiences and your key skills/strengths. It’s best to avoid listing every qualification, certification, or skill you think is impressive - this is frustrating to navigate and unnecessary considering LinkedIn gives these items their own section.

Here are some suggestions based on where you are in your career:

  • If you don’t have much professional experience: include your key skills and strengths (3-5)
  • If you’re unemployed:  talk more about what you’re looking for in detail on top of your key skills and strengths (3-5)
  • If you have gaps in your resume or jumped around: this is where you can briefly explain why (company was acquired, company flopped, etc.)
  • If you have an established career: highlight your major accomplishments/projects and again key skills/strengths (3 or less)

It should only take one glance to understand what type of employee you will be.

4.  Make your experience meaty.

Like your summary, your experience should be formatted so that it is easy to read. First step, get rid of the tofu mentality. Recruiters hate vegetarian paragraphs. Less fluff, more meat. Instead of a paragraph, use bullets (“option + 8” on your keyboard) for key experiences, accomplishments, and projects.

The more numbers you can use in this section, the better. Not only will it look impressive, but it will allow a recruiter to quantify your experiences.

Make sure to have the logo’s of the companies you’ve worked for to the side of your experiences so that you don’t have to explain what the company is/does. If you’ve worked for a very small or new company, you can write 1 to 2 sentences (maximum) to describe the company’s function and that’s it.

Lastly, in this section it is also important to make things easy to understand. If you’ve jumped around as a contract worker make sure to list one title and company with those different positions underneath. If you have gaps, it is helpful for a recruiter to see easy explanations (company acquired, company tanked, huge lay off, etc.) in this section as well.

5. Don’t have any missing education items.


This section is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include: 1) 
University 2) Degree Received, 3) Major(s) and minor(s), and 4) Organizations you were highly involved in. Recent grads should have a section on their profile which details their leadership and involvement within these groups. If you’re 5-10 years out, don’t worry about it.

6. Make meaningful connections.


Connections are really important, but not as much on an 8-second scroll.

Although a large number of connections is impressive, don’t just add random people for number’s sake. Likewise, do not accept connections who do not provide clear intentions unless you know them personally or have heard of them. This will save you from the crazies of social networking.

Recruiters only look at the number of connections to confirm that you’re engaged on LinkedIn and have professional connections. Occasionally, recruiters will look at your contacts to find a mutual connection to request an introduction. This will usually not be a deciding factor in whether or not you will be considered for a position, however.

7. Take control of your skills and endorsements.

I wish we could tell you how proud we are of you for knowing how to use Microsoft Word, but employers will not be as easily impressed. Try to refrain from advertising skills that everyone has. This is a chance to highlight and gain endorsements for skills specific to what you do or what you hope to do in the future. If you’re a recent grad or an entry level employee, this may take time to build. The best way to acquire endorsements is to endorse others. They are likely to repay the favor. If you’ve been working for a while, make sure to add to your skills as you gain professional experience.

8. Join a group or two.

Most recruiters won’t look heavily at this section, though it can be of interest to see what a candidate is passionate about and who they get their news from. However, it’s not a deal-maker or deal-breaker. So don’t stress too much about it.

We hope these tips help you land the job of your dreams. Good luck!

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