I often hear that people know they need to utilize LinkedIn for their job search and career management, but are unsure of what to include to leverage it most effectively. I was fortunate in early January to attend a webinar sponsored by the Alumni Career Services Network and presented by Lindsey Day, who teaches corporate recruiters how to utilize LinkedIn to find candidates for their employment needs. This was a great “behind the curtain” look to learn how recruiters find (and sometimes overlook) good candidates. Here are some of the key lessons along with some suggestions of things you can do to make your profile more recruiter-friendly.
Recruiters Aren’t Only Looking at People Looking For Jobs a.k.a. Sourcing
Recruiters are sourcing two types of candidates at any given time. Active candidates are those that are looking for a job, and passive candidates are those who are not currently looking, but might be open to an opportunity if it is the right fit.
Recruiters Can Search For Anything
LinkedIn is a very robust system, and recruiters can use the powerful analytics behind the system to search for almost any type of data. While the Google-type search for keywords works, recruiters can also search for skills, length of time in a job, followers of companies, group memberships, etc. If you have a sparse profile, you are less likely to be found. Recruiters can also leave notes on their version of your profile, such as if they met you at a Babson College Career Fair or Spotlight, if you have interviewed or met with company representative in the past, etc., for future access. This is also a great reason to publish on LinkedIn to demonstrate your industry knowledge and experience.
Recruiters Receive Alerts When People Update Profiles
Just like many job searchers have alerts on job boards when a job with a certain criteria shows up, recruiters also get alerts when candidates that have the criteria they are seeking have updated their profiles. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to add in any new skills or experiences that you have newly acquired.
Most People Don’t Respond When Recruiters Reach Out
Day stated that less than 50% of the people that recruiters send messages to on LinkedIn (and their systems allow the 275,000 recruiters to message any of the 470 million members) actually return messages. The main reason for this is because people don’t log into LinkedIn to see the message or don’t receive an email on their personal account to let them know that they have a message.
Given all of these factors, there are a number of things you can do to make your profile rise to the top:
- Log In Frequently: If you never log in, you may miss messages about opportunities! You can set up your account so that you get an email whenever your receive a LinkedIn message so you will know to go check!
- Upload A Photo: Day reported that LinkedIn profiles with pictures are 14 times more likely to be clicked on that those without.
- Create a Strong Profile with Relevant Keywords: Make sure that all parts of your profile (Summary, Job Descriptions, Projects, etc.) are rich with words that you think a recruiter might search. For example, if you had a job where the title was non-standard, make sure you put the standard job title in your description.
- Include Appropriate Talents in the Skills Section: Recruiters can (and do) search just the Skills section to find candidates. While you might have included these in your descriptions, many less search-savvy recruiters might miss you if you don’t also include it in the Skills section. If you want to find out more about certain skills, you can always find out LinkedIn’s information on a skill by going to http://www.linkedin.com/topic/”skill”, such as http://www.linkedin.com/topic/social-media or http://www.linkedin.com/topic/data-analytics to find out connections with those skills, relevant groups, and presentations.
- Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups: In addition to the benefit of connecting with industry professionals in your field and sharing knowledge, recruiters search for people who are members of particular group when they are narrowing down a large candidate pools.
- Follow Companies: Day mentioned that research has shown that candidates who have shown interest in a company are more likely to respond to a recruiter, so recruiters look for people who are following that company on LinkedIn. Other things you can do is like and share posts, and follow them on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Let Recruiters Know You Are Open to New Opportunities: There is a setting in your profile that you are “Open to New Opportunities” which lets recruiters know that you are willing to be approached. Many people have been hesitant to include this because they don’t want to signal to their current employers that they are looking for a job. LinkedIn has changed this setting so no one from your current company will be able to see it. Since recruiters do use this field to screen for people, there’s no reason not to anymore!
Your LinkedIn profile is just one part of your career management strategy, but it’s one that works for you when you’re not around to speak for yourself.