Over the past year I’ve been actively looking for new opportunities and sent dozens of applications to several companies, many times I’ve got through to the interview and maybe even to a second one, but still didn’t get the position.
Today, professionals are being headhunted online, mostly through LinkedIn. If you are a professional in your trade, graduated or still studying, I highly recommend you to make a profile and really spend time making it stand out of the crowd.
In the past four months, I have been contacted by several headhunters around Finland, and even one from Germany wishing to invite me to an interview without even applying for a job and two of these went all the way through and offered me a position of which one I started working in from the beginning of the year.
This was all because I have spent several hours working on my LinkedIn profile and trying to make it really stand out. It seems like I succeeded. Now I will tell you a few tips on how to manage in the crowd.
First advice: write your profile in English. It shows your writing skills and it also broadens your audience.
A professional headline is what LinkedIn calls the small information bar below your name. This is one key object in making your profile visible and stand out from others.
This is what my profile looks like at the moment in LinkedIn quick search results. The ‘Junior Full Stack Software Developer at CGI’ line is your professional headline.
many headhunters are looking for good and genuine people, not just skills, because skills can be taught later
This is the part that welcomes visitors to your profile. Make sure the first few sentences are well thought through and will keep the visitor on your profile longer. The rest of the summary should be about your personally, be sure to answer the questions ‘What have you done?’, ‘What are you doing now?’ and ‘What would you like to do?’. These are the questions that a headhunter told me to learn to answer in my profile and also in an interview. Get personal, tell about yourself, many headhunters are looking for good and genuine people, not just skills, because skills can be taught later.
The more time a recruiter spends on your page, the more likely it is that they will contact you. So basically, the more content you have means you will be more likely to receive job offers.
I didn’t have any real job experience before I got recruited for my first job last fall, but still I had a lot to say on my profile. A recruiter who was interviewing me to a job for SAP gave me good advice, she said that I should get rid of, or at least minimize the data about irrelevant jobs, such as a salesman or a cashier because that isn’t the required skillset for the job I’m after and the people searching for you don’t give any attention to them if they aren’t relevant to the position they’re trying to fill.
So basically what you’ll need to do is build a profile that matches the job you want to be found for.
What this meant for my LinkedIn profile, I added every last bit of data I had to give on my internships that are relevant for the job and minimized the data on my job experience as a salesman. Also, I moved the job experience block down on my profile so that my projects and school information are shown first.
To get more content you must think everything you have done that might boost your appearance online. For example, I didn’t realize before, that my participation in the ‘Taitaja 2012’ -competition would boost my profile’s appearance, but it really does, even though I didn’t reach any award winning positions.
It’s hard to find content to add to your profile when you’re a student, because you really don’t have much to show.
That’s where the projects come in. Try to think the most rewarding projects that you’ve participated in your school or on your free time or elsewhere. They are very good examples of content that will boost your profile’s overall appearance. My projects section is located right after my summary, because I have the most content there and it’s the most important information the headhunter needs to see if I’m suitable for the job.
Skills and endorsements
Skills are one way to be found on LinkedIn, and endorsements are a very good way to get these sort of mini-recommendations from real people. Add every skill you think you’re good at, this is easy for software developers like me, because you can add the programming languages you know best and arrange them in the order you prefer.
Skills look a lot better if they have endorsements backing them up. This is where you need your connections and you usually get them via quid-pro-quo, if you endorse someone, they most likely will endorse you back.
Connections in LinkedIn are not like friends in Facebook. You really don’t have to know the people you add as your connections. The more connections you have, the better you will be found. I would suggest you add everyone you know and meet to your connections and if you feel like it, go on and endorse them!
Groups and Followed companies
This might seem like an unnecessary thing to do, but these are also shown on your profile. You can also be found for a job through different groups and a recruiter will be sure to see what kind of companies are you interested in! Groups are also a good way to build your network.
Now you probably have a more attractive profile on LinkedIn, keep in mind that the more you work on it, the better it will be and it will eventually be all worth it. Keep adding connections and skills, endorse people and use it as a social media! Thank you for reading and I hope that this will help you go ahead on your career.