One of our clients likes to say “all roads lead to LinkedIn”. We couldn’t agree more. So much so that we recommend that our candidates spend as much time on their LinkedIn profiles as they do on their resumes. It bears repeating: spend as much time on your LinkedIn profile as you do on your resume.

Your LinkedIn profile – it matters more than you may know.

  • LinkedIn Recruiter. This is the secret weapon almost every staffing firm and in-house recruiting team uses to source candidates. When you apply for a job on LinkedIn, the recruiter only sees the headline on your LinkedIn profile (the short phrase under your name). That’s it – not your LinkedIn profile, not your resume. So, make sure your headline is solid. Once we click on your headline, we see your LinkedIn profile. Still no resume. It’s only through a few more clicks that we can access your resume. If your LinkedIn headline and profile are weak, it won’t matter that your resume rocks.
    Tip: Think of your LinkedIn headline as an email subject line. If the subject doesn’t get the recipient to open the email, then it doesn’t matter how fabulous the body copy or CTA is.
  • Direct sourcing. This is another tactic that recruiters use. In addition to vetting candidates who’ve applied for a position, recruiters also proactively search LinkedIn for potential contenders. If you have a weak profile, you may be passed over for an opportunity that could have been your dream job – and you’ll never know it. Again, no resume involved.
  • Google yourself. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first organic search result. If it’s not, you either share the name of a famous person or you’ve done some really cool stuff – or possibly some really uncool stuff. Even if you don’t Google yourself, you should assume the hiring manager will. This goes for all social media platforms. If you have any doubt about a post or picture, delete.

Optimize your profile – make a good first (and possibly only) impression.

  • Does your profile match your resume? Every day we see LinkedIn profiles with titles, dates, and even companies that don’t align with what candidates have listed on their resumes.  This is an immediate red flag for recruiters and hiring managers, so make sure your profile and resume are consistent.
  • Say cheese. Make sure to include a headshot on your profile. People want to put a name with a face. You don’t need to pay a professional photographer; cell phone cameras work just fine. But make sure you’re professionally dressed, the background is appropriate, and the image is clear. And please, no selfies!
  • A headline says a thousand words. If you don’t proactively customize your LinkedIn profile headline (the words directly under your name), LinkedIn will populate that section with your most recent job title, which may not be the best description of what you do. So, take the time to create a compelling headline that communicates what you bring to the table. As we noted above, your headline is often what a recruiter first sees.
  • Be open to new opportunities. Make sure to click the “open to opportunities” box in your LinkedIn settings if you’re actively or even passively looking for a job. If your profile doesn’t display this note, recruiters may not contact you. Note: only LinkedIn Recruiter users will be able to see that you’re looking for a job.
  • Get more tips from the source. For more on how to add punch to your LinkedIn profile, click here for tips directly from LinkedIn.

Did we mention you should spend as much time on your LinkedIn profile as you do on your resume? Think of LinkedIn as a job-matching, connection-making, lead-generating, content-producing, branding, and marketing machine…that can help market you.

For more job-seeking tips, make sure to read Seven Common Resume Pitfalls.

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