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How to optimise your LinkedIn profile

By Akash Marwaha, Managing Director, Hays Scotland

LinkedIn is a great place to grow your professional status, discover new opportunities and network, and optimising your profile is the first step to help maximise these benefits.

LinkedIn gives members a range of options for making sure their profile is the best reflection of their professional skills and experience.

Understanding all the ways you can personalise your profile is the best way to develop your brand and get noticed. So here they are:

Spruce up your profile

Presentation is paramount, so start your profile overhaul with a tidy-up.

A smart profile photo is the first thing that’s expected of you. Your profile is as much as 21x more times more likely to be viewed if you’ve included a professional looking profile picture. You will also receive 9x more connection requests and 36x more messages.

Customising your profile URL is another way to smarten up your profile. It’s all about making yourself more memorable; a succinct photo and a condensed profile URL will help you achieve this.

Your LinkedIn profile should give the reader a quick overview of your strengths, skills and unique attributes at a glance. So, include a couple of paragraphs in your profile summary, using keywords such as ‘skilled’ and ‘passionate’ to help describe your performance and help you stand out while re-considering using some of so-called buzzwords.

Also, include salient facts and figures that detail recent accomplishments. If you’re a little short on these then elevate your profile with endorsements and recommendations from others. A few kind words from a respected and successful individual can go a long way in validating your employability.

Let your personality shine through

Your LinkedIn profile gives you the ability to show off your personality. Make your profile interactive and vibrant by including rich media (presentations and professionally-relevant videos) detailing past projects. You can also add a personalised LinkedIn profile banner to add further personality.

When completing the summary and experience sections of your profile, we recommend referring to yourself in the first person, doing otherwise can often seem impersonal and insincere.

Give a clear insight into your personality by being very clear about what it is that you’re interested in and what drives you. A pithy headline at the top of your page is a good place to start.

Get noticed

Remember that, as well as being a professional social network, LinkedIn is a powerful people search engine. Searching for and connecting with new contacts is one of the most popular activities on the site, and this includes employers and recruiters searching for prospective candidates.

Use relevant key words

Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or your desired employer. What keywords might they be searching for and how? Google Keywords is useful if you are trying to understand what terms employers might be using to locate candidates. Incorporate these words into the summary, experience and skills sections of your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of being found by the right people.

Let employers know you’re an Open Candidate

A feature called ‘Open Candidates’ makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signalling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in, and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent. Our data shows that members who have switched on their ‘Open Candidates’ setting are twice as likely to receive relevant opportunities from recruiters.

Be engaged

Keep a regular eye on your InMail on LinkedIn for any messages. Responding to any potential opportunities promptly is important for managing those all-important first impressions.

Be as active on LinkedIn as makes sense for you – be it hourly, or daily – but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Active members of the LinkedIn community sharing relevant updates and insights are more likely to get noticed by recruiters and other professionals looking to expand their network.

Share articles and engage in debates regularly. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 different groups, so join as many relevant groups as you can effectively engage in. Publishing posts is another good way to get noticed, but make sure the content is pertinent and provocative to the people that you have connected with. Bland posts are more harmful to your brand than not posting at all.

The more active you are on LinkedIn the more likely you are to benefit from it. Build a strong personal brand and then make sure you’re sharing relevant content, continuing to build out your network, and actively engaging in the relevant LinkedIn Groups.

About this author

Akash joined Hays in 1997 as a trainee recruitment consultant with Hays Construction and Property. Akash progressed his career to then become Director within Hays Construction and Property before then taking on the role of Operations Director for Hays Scotland in 2009. Akash was appointed Managing Director of Hays Scotland in 2014 where he works with the Scottish senior management team to ensure delivery against the UK and scottish strategic priorities.

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