When you’re looking for a job, your LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 information resource for the recruiters who are looking for talent. In fact, in the Jobvite 2016 Recruiter Nation Report, 87% of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process.
But what really catches a recruiter’s eye when they’re scrolling through your profile? Here, several weighed in about profiles that make them reach out—or recoil.
When Cassandre Joseph, senior talent acquisition visionary and strategist at recruitment firm Korn Ferry, looks at a profile, she wants to see your work experience, education, and accomplishments. Incomplete profiles make it more difficult to determine whether you’re the best match for the job, because she can’t get the whole picture. It’s a bad first impression, she says.
"I find somebody's profile and it says they've worked at, according to the profile, four different places simultaneously. They're adding the new places, but not putting end dates. That says they haven't updated their LinkedIn profile in X amount of years," she says.
Your profile photo makes the first impression, so put a little effort into it, says resume expert and retained search consultant Donna Svei. It should look professional and representative of the job you are seeking. Selfies and vacation photos tell recruiters you couldn’t be bothered to make yourself look more professional.
Profiles with just a few contacts are also unappealing, says Molly O'Malley, a tenured recruiter at Adams Keegan, a national HR management and employer services provider. The most effective people have robust networks, and your LinkedIn profile should represent that. You don’t need thousands, but 300 or more is ideal, she says So, beef up your contacts before you look for a new job.
Joseph says recruiters often look at profiles to confirm information about a candidate. So when your dates of employment, job titles, or other facts are different on your profile than they are on your resume, a recruiter might worry about how detail-oriented you are—or if there’s reason to believe that you’re not being truthful on one or the other.
Think of your summary like a copywriter would, Svei says. Highlight what’s in it for recruiters to contact you, such as your achievements, honors, and success stories. Use short copy blocks and bullet points so they can read your summary easily. As more recruiters use mobile devices, your copy should be easy to read on small screens. Svei says it’s also critical to include keywords about your industry for easy searchability.
Recruiters may also find your LinkedIn profile via Google instead of the platform itself, Svei says. Google search results will typically include your location and the professional headline that appears under your name on your profile. Make the most of that headline by clarifying your industry and job function.
If your title is something along the lines of "supreme conveyer of IT knowledge" or "social media ninja," don’t expect a recruiter to try to figure out what you do, O’Malley says. Make your job title and what your company does clear. Jargon or vague language wastes everyone’s time.
During your job search, maintain an active profile, says Melanie Lundberg, assistant vice president of talent management and corporate communications for Combined Insurance. "Read news feeds, share content, comment—it shows a level of professional engagement," she says. Similarly, link to articles you’ve written or other examples of your work. Many will also be looking for professionalism in what you post.
Recruiters are mostly unimpressed with recommendations unless they’re short and really highlight something about your capabilities or strengths, O’Malley says. Don’t ditch them, but don’t put too much stock in them, either.
By using the Open Candidates option, you can privately let recruiters know that you’re looking for a job. Svei says it’s a good idea to use this option, which indicates that you want to hear about potential opportunities.