You may have heard about the importance of having a stellar LinkedIn profile, but you know what? That’s not the whole story. Recruiters have a level of access to LinkedIn profiles that allows them to dig up all the dirt you could imagine - so make sure you don't have any! Why is that so important? Well, by being aware of what they’re looking for, and featuring those points on your profile, hopefully you'll be at the top of the list when they go digging around for candidates when dream jobs roll around.
So just what are recruiters looking for when they conduct searches on LinkedIn?
Location – It seems obvious, but it is surprising how many people on LinkedIn do not have their current location listed. When recruiters conduct searches, this is the first criteria they select. You are excluding yourself from the very beginning if you do not display your current city.
Title – Recruiters will search using a number of variations on titles, but it is important to ensure that your title is spelled correctly, accurately reflects the role you were / are in, and is not too obscure. If your title is “Searching for my dream role” or “Level 1 Staff Member”, your name is unlikely to appear in a recruiter search.
Company / Industry / Function – These criteria become important if the role is in a highly specialised industry – an Administrative Assistant, for instance, could be an Administrative Assistant in any sector, whereas a Marketing Graduate role at a telecommunications company would require previous experience in marketing at a telecommunications firm of equivalent size.
Summary – Once the above selections have been made, recruiters will start skimming through the summaries of matching candidates. If any spelling or grammar mistakes are spotted, they will skip to the next one. If the next one is too wordy, vague or arrogant, they will skip to the next one and so on – there are too many matches to bother clicking on the profiles of candidates who didn’t proof-read a few sentences.
Qualifications – Some hiring managers only wish to interview candidates with a specific degree; some are more interested in the work experience the candidate may have had since leaving university. The recruiter will try and find as close a match as possible to the hiring manager’s requirements, so ensure your qualifications are reflected accurately – doing so will save time for everyone.
Contact details – While LinkedIn allows recruiters to send InMails or arrange introductions through mutual contacts, they would much prefer to call or email you directly. If you’d like to hear from recruiters, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you and include at least an email address on your profile.
Profile photo – Recruiters would prefer to see your photo on your profile. It gives them a sense of who you are and puts a face to the name. It also allows them to see how you present yourself professionally – if your photo is from a drunken night out, they will skip to the next applicant.
And what EXACTLY is the “secret life” of recruiters on LinkedIn? Glad you asked. A recruitment account on LinkedIn allows access to a wealth of information you probably didn’t realise was visible. Recruiters don’t need to link in with you to see everything on your profile, even the sections you may have marked as “your connections only”. It comes down to this - if you don’t want something seen, leave it out altogether.