You’ve probably heard it before, but this time pay close attention:
LinkedIn in is essential in today’s competitive employment market, and can play an even more important role in international job searches.
Why is it so important?
A plethora of reasons, but let’s look at some numbers. At a recent count, LinkedIn had over 225 million members – private people, including CEOs and headhunters, and multinational businesses. That’s a lot of opportunity. According to Bryn Panee Burkhart from MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office, 85 Fortune 100 companiesuse LinkedIn for recruiting.
But, it’s not enough simply to have a LinkedIn profile. It’s also not enough to be active every now and then. With over 225 million members (and more joining every two seconds, apparently), it is a little crowded. So, you need to do everything possible to get yourself noticed. We look at some important tips to help you optimise your LinkedIn profile for local and international job searches.
There are several things you can do to make your profile stand out and increase your chances of landing a good job through the LinkedIn network. Here are four top tips.
1) Complete your profile
Burkhart cites figures from LinkedIn itself, which show that users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to appear in searches than those with incomplete profiles. One of the most important aspects of the profile is the photo. Profiles with photos are seven times more likely to appear in searches than those without, according to LinkedIn. Other important details that need to be provided include your location, industry, all of your work experience, education, skills, connections, and professional summary.
Alison Doyle provides some great advice on how to use LinkedIn for job searching and one of her top tips is to remember to make your profile public. Unless you do that, no one will be able to find you and your complete profile will be for nought.
Doyle also recommends that you include any volunteer work that you do or have done in the past. She cites a survey which revealed that 41% of recruiters value volunteer experience just as much as they do paid work experience. Furthermore, 20% of hiring managers made their final decision based on volunteer experience. Add your volunteer work to the Volunteer Experience and Causes section of your Profile (you’ll have to “Add Sections” first).
2) Seek recommendations and endorsements
Doyle says that a recommendation is like a reference in advance, especially when they come from previous employers and managers. On social media in general, you give in order to receive, so if you want to get recommendations you need to start giving them. Don’t go overboard, though. Only give recommendations that you are comfortable with.According to Cara Barone, Kforce Social Media Marketing Manager, you should aim to have at least three recommendations.
Endorsements are also important. According to Caitlin Zucal (Social Media Today), you need to complete the Skills and Expertise section of your profile before you can have any of your skills endorsed. You’re limited to 50 skills, so consider which ones are most valuable to you and your career ambitions before adding them. Endorsements are easier to give than recommendations because all you have to do is click a button. Zucal says that it’s important that you consider which endorsements you accept. They need to be accurate because you will be caught out if you overstate your skills. You need your endorsements to be a proper reflection of your skills, so don’t let your ego make the decisions.
3) Use keywords – judiciously
Arnie Fertig cites some top LinkedIn tips from an experienced recruiter named Mary Truslow, who says that one of the first things that recruiters do when using LinkedIn is a straightforward keyword search. There are several things to remember when it comes to keywords. The most important is to use keywords judiciously. You want to appear for keywords, yes, but you don’t want to stuff your profile with keywords so that it looks staged and is virtually unreadable. Pepper them throughout your profile, especially in your heading, your skills, your summary and work experience.
You can get an idea of what keywords to use from the profiles of people who are similar professions and from job openings themselves.
4) Don’t hide from unemployment
According to Truslow, recruiters are just as open to working with unemployed people as those who are employed, so you don’t need to feel like you have to hide your status. The key lies in your attitude. If you come across as positive and highly motivated, then you’re likely to attract positive attention.
Doyle cites Krista Canfield, Senior PR Manager at LinkedIn, who says that one way to be honest about your situation is to list your current position as “open to opportunities”. That way, you’re not lying, but you’re not wearing the truth on your sleeve either. What you do need to do is update your profile to let the public at large know that you are looking for a new job and new possibilities, so you can’t be too coy about it.
Whether you’re looking for a job locally or internationally, LinkedIn can play a huge role in getting you gainfully employed. Use it wisely and you could find yourself moving to greener pastures in next to no time.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jemima Winslow is a freelance writer with a view to testing the permanent employment market abroad. The change in career not only necessitates updating her LinkedIn and other social media profiles, but also requires creating complete, optimised profiles on dedicated international job boards, like Skilledmigrantjobs.com.