7 Things Executive Recruiters Look For On Your LinkedIn Profile

What’s the first thing you should do when starting a job search? A few years ago, the answer would have been to spruce up your résumé. Now, your first move is to update your LinkedIn profile — and for good reason. LinkedIn is the go­to resource for hiring managers and recruiters when they first start trying to fill a position. In fact, 94 percent of recruiters use the platform to vet candidates. So if you want potential employers or recruiters to be able to find you, even just to hear about possible opportunities, a strong LinkedIn presence is essential. Let’s dive into the seven must­-have elements on your profile and why they matter.

1. Accurate Titles

Your LinkedIn title should be the same as what’s on your résumé. Many people embellish on their LinkedIn profiles, giving themselves a higher title based on their day-to-­day job duties or when they’re waiting on a promotion. Hiring managers doubt candidates’ integrity if they reach out based on their LinkedIn titles, only to learn later that their résumés don’t match up. Only list titles your current employer can verify.

2. Specific Industry

Choose an industry sector that’s as specific as possible. Unless you’re very young in your career, you’ve likely built it around working in a particular area, and hiring managers search by industry specialization. Although some positions in finance appear transferable on paper, they’re really not when you account for people’s different specializations. This holds true for many industries, so be clear about what you do.

3. Location

Hiring managers typically search for candidates within 25 miles of their location. Most recruiters assume people don’t want to commute much farther than that unless they’re being offered a very high­-level opportunity, so make sure your location is updated and accurate so you’re contacted for appropriate openings.

4. Relevant Keywords

Build keywords into your profile wherever you can, including title, summary, and experience. If we’re looking for an Assistant Controller, we’ll search that title first, then narrow it down by specific requirements. We could look for keywords such as CPA, then focus further by looking up areas of expertise. We might search the terms SEC reporting, revenue recognition, international consolidations, or various ERP systems. Incorporating such keywords into your bio or résumé bullets helps hiring managers find you in a sea of job seekers.

5. Updated Photo

It doesn’t need to be professionally taken, but it needs to be professional. LinkedIn isn’t the place to showcase your artistic side or your clever Halloween costume from last year. Choose a photo that clearly shows your face and gives an accurate portrayal of your appearance. If your current profile features a picture of you from eight or nine years ago, it’s time to update. And whatever you do, make sure you have a photo. LinkedIn is a platform for putting your best online foot forward. If you’re not managing that opportunity well, potential employers will likely focus on why you don’t have a picture rather than on your professional history.

6. Basic Résumé

Two to three bulleted descriptors of your job will suffice, so don’t paste a detailed career history into your LinkedIn profile. Hiring managers and recruiters move quickly through profiles, broadening or narrowing their search using keywords. Include key responsibilities and skills, but save the extensive rundown for your actual résumé. Be selective about which jobs you include. If you worked in one industry several years ago but never want that kind of job again, don’t emphasize it with a lot of detail. A minimalist approach to your LinkedIn résumé also protects your privacy and demonstrates your marketing savvy. If you list your full résumé, unscrupulous recruiters can pull it and send it to companies without your knowledge or approval. You want control over how you’re represented in the marketplace, so you must be vigilant of what you make publicly available. We question the sophistication of candidates who overshare on their LinkedIn profiles because not everything belongs online. Just as you wouldn’t tell someone you just met your life story, don’t tell everyone who comes across your profile. LinkedIn is a starting place for that conversation, not the forum for divulging your entire professional history.

7. Recommendations

These fall at the bottom of the list for a reason. Recommendations carry more weight in some industries than others, but don’t stress yourself trying to get them for your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters often times do not even read the recommendations. They’re looking at whether your experience and expertise align with the opportunity. If you seem like a good fit, then they’ll do their due diligence, interview you, and ultimately speak with your references. The success of your job search comes down to your career trajectory, experience, and professional choices. While you can’t present these in­depth on LinkedIn, you can create a compelling profile that showcases your strengths and inspires hiring managers to contact you. Update and tweak your profile regularly to optimize your chances of landing your next great job.

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