The social media revolution changed almost every aspect of our everyday life. Today, we can advertise our businesses, share thoughts and ideas, easily communicate with each other, and find information about the organizations and people.
As social media are embracing the new solutions and functionalities (like Facebook's Libra, for example), the recruiters embraced LinkedIn as the most useful tool to seek the perfect candidates. According to CareerBuilder research, 74% of IT recruiters are using social media to look for potential candidates. Before you ask "Why should I give a single damn?", I want to mention that according to the same study, 57% of respondents admitted they discovered some content on the candidate’s social media that affected the final decision, and ultimately, they didn't hire the candidate.
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said that the only way to win an argument is to avoid it. So, avoid getting into controversial discussions or any quarrels on social media, because apart from getting angry, you might unconsciously give the recruiter a reason not to contact you.
If you are looking for a new job or are ready for the recruiter to present you opportunities to grow, your LinkedIn profile should be your well-made resume.
Keyword For Today: Keywords
Ahh, I deserve a pat on the back for this header. At the beginning of each recruitment process, the recruiters and managers are creating the perfect candidate's profile, which can be less or more formal. This profile consists of personality traits and skills required for a particular position.
You should know that most of the recruiters are using a unique tool to source the candidates - LinkedIn Recruiter. It contains quite a few filters, like job titles, skills, years of experience. Personally, I usually use two of them: location and (yeah, you guessed it) - keywords since the search engine finds them in the headline, skills, and job titles.
This is where the "perfect candidate's profile" comes in. Since I’ve specified geographical area and a set of skills required, I can go to the keywords tab and type in the skills or technologies that the perfect candidate should know. I can receive from dozens to thousands of search results depending on how precise the keywords combination is. Let's get to the useful tips which can help you stand out.
This is the best place where you can let your imagination and creativity run wild. However, the rule that says: "Don't let your resume be more than two pages long," in my opinion, applies to the personal summary as well.
I suggest creating a brief presentation of your experience and character (the less conventional way, the better), filled with keywords. Yes, I know that you can't describe your whole experience and your passion in just four sentences, and I'm not even asking you to try, because there is room to do that just below your summary.
I See What You Did There... In Your Previous Job, I Mean
"We are looking for a 20-year-old student with five years of work experience in this field." I believe that sentence became a meme already, but let's set extremes aside. Work experience is one of the most crucial factors in selecting a candidate. I know, I know, I'm your #2 HR Captain Obvious.
Fortunately, on LinkedIn, you can boost your experience appearance by adding a job description.
In my opinion, the best way to enhance your experience is to add bullet points with your key responsibilities, accomplishments, and technological stack. The last one is quite important because, again, technologies and tools are basically keywords; also, it clarifies your exact experience with specific programming languages. Furthermore, I recommend cutting industry jargon so even the beginner recruiter can understand your responsibilities and achievements.
Meeting The Formal Requirements
Apart from the experience, employers have different formal requirements depending on the company or position.
The first one is higher education. I often see job advertisements where higher education is necessary, especially in engineering, but sometimes also in web development. My advice is to state your most important diplomas. If you finished college, don't mention that you also finished elementary school. It's redundant, but believe me, I've seen people actually going there!
The second common requirement is English knowledge. Various companies have clients from abroad, and since English is considered an international language, you will be expected to present it at least at a communicative level. Besides, most of the programming documentation and learning sources are in English anyways, so yeah, it is essential to know it.
The last requirement I want to cover is localization. The organizational culture of some companies may be based on working on-site. Also, some positions are more suitable for working in the office. It's a good practice to state the locations where you are ready to work.
Showing the data written above in your profile might save you time and awkward questions about your current education or the place you live. Nevertheless, always expect the conversation in English during the recruitment process so it won't surprise you like Spanish Inquisition ;)
Devil's In The Details
See how many keywords we've got now? You're more likely to be found and contacted because you fit in the company's technological stack.
But why don't we boost the skills section just a bit more?
Do you remember the "When you lied in your resume and still got the job" meme? Well, this rarely happens in the IT industry. Still, if I am visiting someone's LinkedIn profile, I certainly appreciate the skills confirmations, as they reassure me that I'm dealing with someone who knows their stuff. This is just a detail, yet it's like a cherry on top of the perfect candidate's profile. So ask your colleagues to verify what you wrote or do a confirmation test on LinkedIn. Or, preferably, do both.
You Can Convince Me More To Contact You
When I was nine or ten years old, I went to the two-week-long martial sports camp (I was participating in Judo classes). After a week, we had an initiation ceremony where all the judokas who went on a camp for the first time had to do a series of challenging tasks and exercises. After completing the challenges, we've received certificates that confirm obtaining the "Samurai" title. If I could find this certificate somewhere, I would probably mention it on my LinkedIn profile.
Really? Samurai title? On LinkedIn? Alright, I probably went a little bit too far, but I want to say that if you finished some courses and training, you should mention your certificates in your LinkedIn profile. It makes an excellent impression, and it's another factor that assures me that I am looking at professional.
The other worth-complimenting part of your LinkedIn profile is volunteer work. If you ever took part in the volunteer project and you state that in your profile, it's like if you were telling me: "Hey, I'm an active, ambitious person, who believes in better tomorrow." Isn't that admirable?
Here Comes The Controversy
I know that at the beginning of this article, I suggested staying away from controversial topics. But this one is here for a reason.
There is a continuous debate on whether you should add your photo to your resume or LinkedIn profile. It's not an easy topic to discuss since having a profile photo (or not having one) can be a red flag in some extreme situations.
So, why do I even write about a profile photo? The goal of this article is to help you to be found on LinkedIn, and without a profile photo, LinkedIn considers your profile as incomplete. "Complete" profiles are more likely to be shown higher in search results, that is all.
Personally, I don't care much if you have a profile photo or not. If you decide to get one, please let it not be a shirtless selfie with stuck-out tongue ;)
The Different Approach On Searching For Candidates
One of the benefits of the IT industry is the popularity of remote work. When your location isn't the primary requirement, recruiters also search for candidates in LinkedIn groups. The second reason to use groups is that you have attractive potential candidates with the required knowledge in one place.
So why don't you join some groups related to your current profession? Apart from the higher chance of a recruiter finding you, you'll probably find something interesting there to develop your skills.
Don't Let Your Profile Become a Ghost Town
Sometimes I feel like I’m in a western movie. When I visit some outdated, abandoned profiles, the only thing lacking is tumbleweeds (you know, these round, grassy thingies running across the desert) and the sound of harmonica in the background.
Being active on LinkedIn in most cases is beneficial. To be clear from the beginning: I'm not suggesting that you must write a broad article every week or build a network with over 9000 contacts.
What I am suggesting, however, is to write a publication where you declare that you are looking for a new job. What should such a post include?
First of all, I recommend writing a few sentences about yourself and your work experience. Second, state what position interests you. Third, necessarily use #lookingforjob hashtag (or other job-related hashtags popular in your country), along with hashtags related to your experience, the industry you work or want to work in, and position you are applying for.
I highly recommend NOT writing such an article if your employer doesn't know that you want to quit your job ;) In that situation, browse recent publications from time to time and share these, that in your opinion, deserve to be shared.
I always wonder whether I should contact someone whose last activity or experience is from four years ago. Being 100% serious, pay some attention to your profile's history and keep it in the loop! You can only benefit from doing so. Alright, maybe unless you change your job every week (not as a freelancer).
I hope you are ready to roll up your sleeves and remodel your LinkedIn profile into a flare gun that will attract the recruiters.
Remember the keyword for today? Use keywords in every section of your profile. Insert bullet points with your fundamental responsibilities and achievements to your experience. Select your skills precisely, and make sure they are verified by your colleagues. Join LinkedIn groups related to your profession. And last but not least - keep your profile updated. I believe in you. You got this!