Looking to change roles? Here’s how to use LinkedIn to your advantage

By Aseel Ibrahim, Head of HR Recruitment, Tiger Recruitment

LinkedinIf you’re one of the 22 million Brits gearing up to change jobs this year, polishing your LinkedIn profile is highly recommended.

It’s not only the perfect place to find new roles, but it’s also a go-to resource for recruiters and employers looking to identify potential talent or research applicant backgrounds.

If you’re looking for pointers on what to include in your profile and how to stand out from the competition, here’s my advice based on reviewing thousands of LinkedIn profiles over the years.

Up-to-date and authentic

At the very least, your LinkedIn profile should be complete and up to date with brief descriptions of your past roles and not simply a list of job titles.

Your headline deserves careful attention. It’s the most visible part of your LinkedIn profile – it’s how you’ll appear in searches – so choose your words wisely to convey your expertise and create a memorable first impression.

Your bio, or the About section, is also a chance to shine; use it as an opportunity to give an insight into who you are and what’s important to you. Your aim should be to build up a picture of a three-dimensional person. Too many profiles I see are generic and lack any real personality.

Professional but you

A profile picture is a must, with data showing that LinkedIn members with a profile photo have 21 times more views and nine times more connection requests than those without. The photo you use should be high quality and accurately represent who you are and the job you’re looking for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a suited and booted corporate shot. For example, if your ideal role is a social media manager for a music promoter, a relaxed (but work-appropriate) picture of you at a festival would be acceptable. In a sea of identikit profiles, being your natural self can give you an edge.

Detailed not exhaustive

As for how detailed your LinkedIn profile should be, my advice is to treat it as your digital CV. It merits the same attention and should provide a clear and accurate overview of your experience, without going into exhaustive detail.

I’m seeing more and more candidates include their pronouns on their profile. Whether you follow suit is a matter of preference, but it’s something I fully support. Even if your pronoun seems obvious in your mind, it’s a way to show solidarity and allyship with people who may have faced prejudice and discrimination over their gender identity. Not using pronouns won’t put you at a disadvantage but including them can help you come across as more open-minded.

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Engage but consider how you might come across

There’s more to LinkedIn than creating an attention-grabbing profile. It’s also important to establish yourself and your credibility by sharing your views on important issues in your industry. But be respectful when you do. People often forget that everything they like and comment on will be visible to their network and available on their profile page for recruiters and hiring managers to see. So, avoid ranting, and if you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing something with a future employer or professional connection, don’t post it on LinkedIn. Engage with topics you’re genuinely passionate about – but be professional.

People often ask me if it’s OK to share personal experiences on LinkedIn, perhaps a hardship they’ve overcome or a cancer diagnosis. Some may see this as oversharing, but I think being open is acceptable if it’s consistent with the person you’d like to present to a potential employer, client, or business contact. Showing that you’re an individual and not a 9-to-5 robot is refreshing.

Build your network, boost your credibility

The number of connections you have also speaks volumes about your credibility. Achieving more than 500 is recommended. Anything below that and LinkedIn lists your connections as an exact number, say 98, which is much less impressive. Aim for quality connections; you don’t need to know every contact personally, but they should be relevant. For example, they could be an influencer in your industry or work for a company you admire.

Used in the right way, LinkedIn can help you showcase your skills and what sets you apart as a job candidate. It can also help you network, keep abreast of topical issues in your industry and build your professional reputation. So, once you’ve perfected your profile, keep it up to date and fully engage with the platform. Your career will thank you.  

About the author

Aseel IbrahimAseel started her career in luxury retail, managing teams within some of the most sought-after brand names. While she was Head of Womenswear at Harvey Nichols, she undertook her CIPD level 5 qualification after considering a move into HR. It was through studying HR in depth that she discovered a love and natural flair for recruitment, and she has never looked back!

Aseel heads up Tiger Recruitment’s HR division, where she recruits HR professionals for a variety of businesses. A great listener, she believes that being transparent sets her apart from many of her competitors. She spent a month in Costa Rica training to be a yoga teacher where she learned to incorporate certain values into her day-to-day life, namely being kind, compassionate and operating with integrity.

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