Let’s cut to the chase: If your profile isn’t telling hiring managers who you are, what you’re about, and how well you’ll do the job–you could be missing out on your next opportunity (and not even know it).
As an HR professional and career coach, I work with recruiters every single day, so I can give you an inside look at what needs to be on your LinkedIn profile if you want to get noticed.
Although there’s no hard and fast rule that’ll guarantee you’ll get hired, there are at least three things your profile must have in order to up the odds you’ll get noticed.
1. Your Qualifications Match the Open Role
The number one mandate every recruiter has is to match competent and qualified individuals to open positions. One of the easiest ways for them to do this via LinkedIn is to search for keywords that relate to the position they’re trying to fill.
For example, if a particular role requires extensive project management skills, one of the key things they’ll be searching for is: extensive project management experience.
Your job is to make it easier for them to understand your specific expertise as well as your core skills and accomplishments. In the time it takes to scroll down the page, they’ll need to see concrete examples of your experience relevant to the role being filled. You can demonstrate this by doing some research on the one or two skills people who do well in the jobs you’re applying for have and making sure to clearly describe them in key places on your profile (i.e., in the headline, summary, and job description sections).
For example, if I were to apply for openings in human resources, a recruiter would take one look at my profile and see how I stand up to the competition and what I’ve accomplished:
2. You’re Accomplished
It may seem counterintuitive, but including buzzwords like “team player” and “subject matter expert” on your profile can actually work against you since recruiters are more interested in learning about what you’ve actually achieved throughout your career, instead of how many adjectives you can use to describe yourself.
It’s important that you identify key professional accomplishments (at least two or three) and infuse them into the narrative on your profile. Explaining that you’ve led a team that was able to exceed target revenue for the past three quarters, for example, is a good way to highlight your leadership skills—rather than simply describing yourself as an “experienced leader.”
You'll see in one of my job experience description featured below, I avoid buzzwords that fail to demonstrate my achievments. Instead, I clearly show where I've been featured and the many roles I've held within a particular company:
3. You Have Zero Red Flags
Part of a recruiter’s responsibilities is to sort through the hundreds of candidates searching for roles to find individuals with the skills and experience needed for the open positions. One of the filters they use to get through the high volume is to eliminate anyone with glaring red flags.
Some common ones include:
• Inflated Job Titles: It’s hard to become the VP of your department with only two years of work experience. Exaggerating about your title can make you seem disingenuous and untrustworthy—two things you don’t want recruiters to associate with you.
• Excessive Job Hopping: While there could very likely be a good reason for one short stint (maybe even two) on your resume, candidates who switch jobs every year can seem like they tap out quickly or have trouble meshing well with new co-workers.
• Inappropriate Language: It’s never OK to use profanity or suggestive language on LinkedIn (this includes articles you share and statuses you “like”). It can make you come off as unprofessional, which is the opposite of what you want a recruiter to think about you.
Things like these are warning signs to recruiters and can take you out of the running immediately. In order to position yourself as a good match for what a company is looking for, you’ve got to keep an eye out for anything on your profile that could be perceived in a negative light.
If you’re looking for your next job and your profile could use some work, my advice to you is to take a break from your search until you’ve had a chance to make the necessary updates. A well put-together LinkedIn page will dramatically improve the likelihood you’ll pique recruiters’ interests—which could, in turn, help you land your next gig.