10 Steps to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile And Be Noticed by Recruiters

For most people, finding a new job isn’t easy. First, there’s identifying suitable positions that are both appealing to you and looking for a candidate with your profile. Then there’s navigating often convoluted, typically repetitive applications. It’s completely possible that the application you spent hours or even days carefully crafting will get lost in a sea of similar applications. If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you have to negotiate an often convoluted, drawn out interview process. And then you get to wait and see if you have the new job that you want or if you have to start the cycle all over again.

Optimize LinkedIn ProfileIt doesn’t have to be that hard. A whopping 97% of HR and staffing professionals use LinkedIn in their recruiting efforts, according to a Masters in Human Resources study. The same study showed that 89% of recruiters have filled at least one position using LinkedIn. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to attract recruiters and the jobs that you want will come to you.

Simply making a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough. As of August 4, 2016, there are 450 million users on LinkedIn and that number is only rising. Follow these ten steps to make your profile stand out to recruiters.

1. Include a photo.

According to a 2014 LinkHumans study, profiles that include a photograph are viewed 14x more than profiles without a photo. “Your picture is your first ‘eye catcher’” says Jerome Knyszewski, founder of Linked BluePrint. “If you have no picture, the odds of getting a profile view are lower than if you had a nice professional picture with a smile.”

If you don’t have a professional headshot, have a friend take a simple headshot of you smiling in business attire. This is not the place for weird angles, dog-earred Snapchat filters, or photos from spring break.

2. Use keywords.

Having a well-written profile won’t help you if LinkedIn’s algorithms bury it so far down on the list that no recruiter ever sees it. Peppering your profile with relevant keywords, so that you show up high enough in recruiters’ boolean searches for potential candidates, is essential. “If you’re unsure what keywords to use, consult a job description and select your relevant skills” says Maureen Farmer, owner of Word Right Career & HR Consulting. “If you have a unique skill or body of knowledge, ensure you include it in your profile, including your headline and summary.”

Your headline should include 3 to 5 of the top keywords for your position, according to Ibro Palic, SEO Consultant. Your summary should also contain several keywords, recommends Shahid Wazed, founder of Top Talent Summit. Bear in mind, however, that while the keywords will persuade the algorithm to display your profile higher up on the list, a real person will ultimately be the one reviewing it. Make sure that the keyword use feels organic and that your profile still makes sense and reads well.

3. Write a strong summary.

In addition to being keyword-rich, your summary should be at least 40 words long in order to increase your profile views, according to a LinkHumans study. Results from their study also suggest that writing the summary in the first person, adding media links and rich media, and including some contact information is beneficial.

While recruiters who are not connected to you within three degrees of connection can still contact you through LinkedIn, it will cost them to do so. Make it cheaper and easier for recruiters to reach out to you by including an email address or phone number in your summary.

4. Include your skills.

According to the aforementioned LinkHumans study, filling out the skills section on your profile can increase your views 13x. The skills section is also another great place to work in some more keywords. Include areas of expertise, software that you are familiar with, and any hot-button skills in your industry, whether that’s consultative sales or fluency in PHP.

5. List your volunteer work.

Being a do-gooder can do more than just give you good karma. 42% of hiring managers surveyed by LinkedIn said they considered volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience. More than 1 million LinkedIn members have taken notice and added the Volunteer Experience & Causes section to their profiles. 62% of those with are millennials, who are new to the workforce, but eager to push past entry-level jobs. Especially if you don’t have very much official work experience, LinkedIn’s Career Expert Nicole Williams says that including volunteer experience in your profile can help you land the job.

6. Add your industry.

Adding industry to your profile can result in receiving 15x as many views, according to a LinkHumans study. Especially for recruiters trying to fill a particular position, it is helpful to be able to quickly see whether their position is in the industry in which you have the most experience and interest.

7. Talk about your projects.

Don’t be complacent about the often neglected sections of a LinkedIn profile. Those are opportunities to set yourself apart from the pack! According to Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s Director of Management, adding compelling projects to your profile can demonstrate experience relevant to your professional goals. Projects provide examples of the sort of work that you are able to do and have done in the past, making it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to imagine you doing similar work in their open positions.

8. Join groups.

LinkedIn groups provide a great opportunity to grow your industry-specific network beyond your real life contacts. Share posts, comment on others’ posts, and be an active participant in the groups to benefit the most. If you choose your groups wisely, you will encounter recruiters working on filling positions in your industry. Engage organically with recruiters in the groups and, after a few engagements within the group, you can send a connection request.

9. Establish thought leadership.

Set yourself apart as an articulate, thoughtful, and self-motivated candidate by creating high quality content that will benefit your industry peers now. “Start writing articles on your topic of expertise through Linkedin's publishing platform.” advises Wazed. You will attract the attention of possible future connections, as well as earn the esteem of those hiring in your field. That respect could turn into a job offer down the line.

10. Be well connected.

Being popular could get you more party invites in high school, but now it can get you more hiring manager introductions and ultimately more job offers. “Multiply your age by 10; this is the minimum number of connections you should have” says Farmer. The larger your network, the more visible you are.

That said, not everyone will respond positively to connection requests from a complete stranger. Instead of banking on having a large network of artificial connections, make a conscious effort to connect digitally with all of your real-life contacts. Add friends, family, employers, colleagues, former colleagues, etc. Whenever you meet or work with new people, add them!

The search for a new job can be daunting, but leveraging the power of an attractive LinkedIn profile can make it much easier to be noticed by the right people and get that much closer to landing the job of your dreams!

Was this helpful? Tweet itTweet it!

Danai Kadzere

Danai Kadzere

Danai is a Content Marketer at Happie. Before Happie, she worked as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and children's book author, after graduating from Harvard University with a BS in Human Evolutionary Biology. If she's not working, she's probably reading, baking, or getting lost.