With 900,000,000 registered users, 59,000,000 companies, and 8 new hires every minute, LinkedIn is the world's largest (and arguably the most effective) professional social network. Many recruiters use it to scout for IT professionals of all levels, from beginners to managers and directors.
Yehor Bozhok, a training programs expert at EPAM, has shared with us how to fill out your profile to make it searchable, how to present yourself in a way that appeals to potential employers, how to build your own brand and establish valuable business connections and a few other life hacks for developing a LinkedIn profile.
First steps on the platform
If you're actively looking for new career opportunities, you need to get the attention of recruiters at the stage of previewing your page. Therefore:
- Fill out your profile to the fullest extent possible. To reach the highest level (All-Star), you must provide information in 7 different sections. Your efforts will pay off, as All-Star candidates have 40 times greater chances of landing a job than those at the entry and intermediate levels.
- Pay attention to your profile photo — it is your business card. Make sure to use a current portrait shot that leaves a positive impression. Here’s a hint: consider using a resource like photofeeler.com where other users can provide feedback to help you choose the best photo from several options.
- Choose a background according to your field of study, current job, or competence.
- Avoid using obscure internal titles of your positions and roles in the short description. Instead, include relevant keywords that recruiters would use while searching for candidates in your industry.
Networking and developing a LinkedIn profile
No, you can't just fill out a profile, sit back and wait for the grass to grow. LinkedIn is a social network, so it is all about interaction!
- First, decide what you want to achieve. If you plan on using LinkedIn to get a job, now or in the future, connect with recruiters or hiring managers.
- Aim to make at least 500 contacts, but don't get carried away. Develop your network with your main objective in mind and add professionals who are relevant to it.
- You can send a maximum of 100 requests per week. The limit resets every Friday. However, not all requests may be accepted. Allow for 3 to 4 months, at least, to expand your network of contacts.
- Add personalized messages (up to 300 characters) to your contact requests.
- Delete requests that go unanswered for 2-3 weeks to prevent the platform's algorithm from suspecting you of spam.
- Be proactive when it comes to collecting references. If you have no prior work experience, you can ask your mentor or supervisor from a student project to give you feedback on your work. The good news is that any feedback you receive won't automatically appear on your profile. You get to review and approve it first.
Active job search on LinkedIn
Once you've taken your first steps on the platform and expanded your network of contacts, what should you do to search for a job more effectively?
- Make your profile visible for recruiters: click the "Open to" button on the profile page and select the "Finding a new job" option.
- If you reach out to recruiters, make it easier for them and provide them with a clear and concise summary of your skills and your CV in PDF format.
- List only qualifications and experience pertinent to the position you are seeking. Remember that you can "pin" 3 key skills on your LinkedIn profile. Consider asking former colleagues for confirmation.
- Add courses and training gradually; this will demonstrate your continuous personal growth. The value of training is in getting knowledge, not just certificates.
- Pay attention to LinkedIn reports containing the keywords that lead to your profile so that you can analyze and improve it.
And remember that you cannot complete a LinkedIn profile once and for all. It is a work in progress; you need to add current updates and develop your network of contacts.