What recruiters look for in a LinkedIn profile: 8 tips

April 9, 2009

Matt Schwartz - MJS Executive Search[ Editor’s Note: This post is a part of a series on LinkedIn users sharing tips, tricks, and tweaks on getting the most from your LinkedIn usage. Today’s guest blogger, Matt Schwartz, President of MJS Executive Search, describes ways to stand out in a crowd when recruiters look for candidates to fill a job opening.]

Do not fret. There is good news out there. Contrary to public sentiment, companies are hiring. One of our largest clients is a global Fortune 100 company that laid off 3,300 people in the fall of 2008. This was a very scary development; not only to those who lost their jobs, but also for our firm. Fortunately for us this company is reinvesting more than $1 billion into their business, and along with that will surely come added hires.

This just goes to show that recruiters like us do have jobs to fill even in turbulent economic times. Social media tools such as LinkedIn make our businesses more efficient and often allow us to find job seekers more efficiently, a topic of a recent post by Boris Epstein on Mashable.

If you are an active or passive job seeker, there is no better way to cut through the clutter and get yourself noticed than LinkedIn. Nowadays, most recruiters and companies are increasingly using sites like LinkedIn to identify talent. Given my experience looking for candidates, here are some key characteristics of a LinkedIn user that grab my attention when I make my daily picks:

1. Make your LinkedIn profile 100% complete

•    Include all companies, education, and awards. These are the key items on which we recruiters search.
•    References are very important. The more we know about you the better.
•    The more robust your profile, the higher you will be in the Google search rankings.
•    The more information a recruiter has upfront, the more efficient the search process.
•    Update your LinkedIn profile here

2. Use a profile picture that you use on multiple sites

•    A picture helps to create and reinforce your online brand
•    It will help a recruiter identify you on the interview day at “Starbucks”
•    Add a profile picture here

3.  Use the “Specialties” box to fill in keywords

•    List as many keywords as possible that are relevant to your roles, capabilities, and interests that will help you turn up on LinkedIn Search
•    Update your profile summary and specialties here

4. Update your LinkedIn “Status” regularly

•    Link to articles you have written or in which you are quoted
•    Update status with your latest blog posts
•    Discuss business accomplishments
•    If you are actively looking for a job, tell people what you are looking for!
•    Update your status on other social networking sites such as Twitter. Try services like ping.fm that allow you to update your status across multiple sites.

5. Make changes to your profile after every job change or promotion

•    The recruiters you are linked to will notice these changes
•    It is harder to be found if people don’t know where you are
•    Update your LinkedIn profile as you would your change-of-address at the post office

6. Include your web site and blog links

•    Add suitable weblinks to the "Websites" section on your LinkedIn profile
•    This could range from your career blog to your Twitter profile. Alternatively, you can also link to a guest blog post you wrote recently.
•    Update your "Websites" section here

7.  Do not block incoming emails

•    No matter how popular you think you are, you will not be overwhelmed. I promise!
•    The LinkedIn community is all about participation so feel free to accept incoming communication from fellow LinkedIn users. Update your contact settings here.
•    If a recruiter reaches out to you and you are not interested, let him or her know or better yet refer a friend
•    LinkedIn actually allows you to control how you receive emails and notifications. Update your settings here.

8. Increase your number of trusted connections!

•    Use webmail importer to bring your real world professional relationships online and to find your contacts who are already on LinkedIn.
•    Depending on whether you're a browser person or an Outlook person, check out the respective toolbars that will help organize your professional relationship either while you browse or check out your Inbox.

These are just a few tips that I've gleaned from my LinkedIn usage over the past year. If you've other tips that have helped you as a job seeker reach out to appropriate hiring managers or recruiters, feel free to leave a comment. Hope this helps.