How to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in the Covid job market, according to an expert

LinkedinLinkedIn is a professional networking platform focused on keeping everyone connected in their different sectors.

When used correctly, LinkedIn can provide you with different options to network with your industry. There are many things you can do to increase the visibility of your profile. It can be all the difference between a recruiter quickly glancing at your profile to spending time reading on what you have to offer them and reaching out to you.

The current climate has resulted in a lot of casualties in the business world, leaving people struggling to cope financially. We also have those who are fresh out of University finding it hard to even climb onto the career ladder. Figures for June to August 2020 show that an estimated 1.52 million people were unemployed, up 209,000 on the year and up 138,000 on the quarter. Job searching during a pandemic can be an increasingly frustrating time, especially since the announcement of lockdown 2. You might have perfected your CV and applied to every job you can, but have you been overlooking something?

LinkedIn rolled out their story feature across the UK this summer, making now the perfect time to up your game. We’ve enlisted David James, management consultant and educational expert at The Profs. With employability skills and competencies a key subject area for David, he knows exactly how to translate your skills onto your profile and get noticed.

Make your summary interesting

Your LinkedIn summary is chance to tell your own story. Don’t waste this opportunity to list everything you’ve achieved in the past, instead offer a prospective employer a chance to match your skills to their company. You have 2,000 characters to work with so it’s best to utilise this is a way that captures you as interesting and insightful, think of it like a sales pitch. Attention spans are short these days so ideally use less than half of that and be very specific. Keep in mind that keywords are crucial and avoid any generic statements that can be tied to anyone. Do your research and use words that you want to be connected to in your field. Be creative and show who you can be as a professional.

Be up to date

With over 722 million members, LinkedIn holds steady as the world’s largest professional social platform. When your network is filled with potential clients, employers, competitors and business professionals, it’s vital to be up to date. If you’ve been in a new role for a few months and haven’t updated your profile, it can look outdated and you may miss out on networking with important connections. When you are job seeking, potential employers can sweep your profile at any given point, before or after an interview or even before reaching out to you at all. The shape of your profile can sometimes serve as a decision maker. Be organised and consistent. Even if you feel like nothing has changed in your professional career since lockdown, you can share new side projects or skills you’ve picked up.

Use the new story feature right

LinkedIn announced in June that the new stories feature is now available in the UK. Stories, like other platforms, disappear after 24 hours and consist of 10 second video or photo clips. You can add in text, GIFs, filters and music, making it unique to you. As the world has changed this year, showing who you are in the professional world is considered the new normal. LinkedIn is about showcasing your career and skills to get noticed and build connections with the right people. Use the story feature right by creating a selfie video to talk to your audience and explain any personal achievements such as starting a hobby. Job seeking in the current climate is competitive, stand out by creating a video CV. This method can highlight your enthusiasm and allow your connections to understand your personality. By being relatable, it will encourage and inspire others to do the same.

Quality not quantity

Your LinkedIn experience will improve when you focus on the type of people you want to connect with. If your sole aim at the moment is to find a job, it would be wise to link with people who have the job title of recruiter or talent acquisition professional in the companies you wish to work in. Always send a message explaining why you want to connect; this will come across personal and justifies why they should form the new connection.  You should also join LinkedIn groups applicable to you, there will be hiring managers and other individuals, your competitors, looking for advice. Once you are in suitable groups, you can check to see if a potential connection has any groups in common. Connecting with quality groups and active individuals will bring more traffic to your profile. Effective networking can position yourself to meet others in your industry, share knowledge and exchange ideas. If you send connection requests to anyone and everyone, this can attract the wrong people and lower the quality of yourself as a candidate.

Key word optimise your profile

LinkedIn is a very large database of profiles that uses key fields to order the entire collection of data. So how do people make it to the top of the list? Their profile is optimised with the right keywords, and they are most likely posting with keywords and publishing articles with keywords too. The job title is a highly indexed field so start with this, if it’s too vague then you can miss out on more traffic. For example, ‘Senior Consultant’ can be ‘Senior Consultant, IT Project Management’. The second version provides more keyword detail and a clear explanation of the job. The ‘extra’ sections on LinkedIn are often overlooked but they are great for more detail and keywords. Here, keep your wording short and keyword dense. In the awards section, you can add in accolades that begin with your desired job title, for example ‘Social Media Manager winning Increased Engagement Award for 3 years’. The terms you add into your skills & expertise are included heavily in your searchability when you are endorsed for them. Add keywords and obtain/accept endorsements for maximum results.

LinkedIn recommendations

We live in a business world in which relationships and reputation matters. LinkedIn recommendations validate your presence and skills you have listed. Recommendations helps you stand out from the competition. Many users don’t take the time for ask for recommendations as they don’t know how to, or they don’t want to bother people. Use this simple script below to ask people for a recommendation:

“Hi ____. I’m working on improving my LinkedIn profile and one of my goals is to get a couple of recommendations from colleagues that know my work well. Would you be able to write me a LinkedIn recommendation in the next couple of days to help me improve my profile? I could do the same for you if you’d like, just let me know.”

Recommendations can be tricky to write, especially if you worked in a big company. Remind the person about the specific details, skills and projects you want to be endorsed to help them be concise.

Monitor your presence

Recruiters and potential employers can take it upon themselves to Google your name after reading your resume and see what comes up. Ensure you keep an eye on what is displayed publicly, and if you find something you wouldn’t want a professional body to see, explore ways to remove it. Check your privacy settings and ensure you have full control over who sees your posts. Removing yourself from the online world altogether won’t help. Given the digital age, some employers won’t even interview candidates if they can’t find them online. Recruiters aren’t looking for content to disqualify you. Most are looking for evidence to back up your CV, so it’s important your LinkedIn profile is polished and professional to display a good online persona.

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