Get Headhunted! 4 Tips for a Standout LinkedIn Profile

Friday 17th June, 2016

It’s no secret that executive search firms, recruitment agencies, and your future employers are using social media to find top talent. In fact, LinkedIn is now almost always utilised in search sourcing processes.

Whilst the Site’s popularity and refined search capability (key competencies, industry, location, company, and seniority to name a few) has made it a massive feeding ground upon which employers feast, it’s truly ‘survival of the fittest’ when it comes to getting noticed as an individual.

From an executive search consultant’s perspective, there is a huge difference between an insightful profile to something you’ve half-heartedly pulled together. Should we call you? A great profile, or the opposite, can be the deciding factor. Are you missing out on your dream role because you have a mediocre profile?

With so few roles at the top, the risk of having a partially completed, or average, LinkedIn profile is too high. So how do you stand out in over 430 million users*?

placeholder1. Steer clear of one-word position titles

Whilst effective for movie titles like the ‘Avengers’, a single-word title is a great way to limit your potential to come up in searches. Your title is the first thing people search and read so be specific. Say you are the Head of Digital Transformation. Listing yourself as Digital or Head will put you in a lot of searches, true, but it’s the profiles with the most relevant titles that are looked at first. One-word titles mean you rely on your summary and position description to fill in the blanks and if you haven't adequately surmised that you are personally leading a digital transformation, you are going to be tossed aside.

2. Get Specific and give your job description some serious oomph

The idea is to impress. This is your opportunity to be the one in 430 million. Saying generics like you are a ‘great leader’, or a ‘successful sales manager’ falls really flat. Using a few specific figures can be a simple and effective way to create resounding impact. For instance, if you are leading a team, then how many? What sales targets have you achieved? Consider noting your project budget, strategies you might have developed, and other successes as well as challenges you have resolved.

If discretion is essential, then skip over phrases such as ‘large budgets’ and use ‘budget <15B’; a small but super effective difference. It can also be worth mentioning who you report to as it can help illustrate if you are at the right level. Looking to progress your career? Noting that you report in to the Country CFO can help you step up. Most importantly, be succinct, clear and structured and avoid lengthy paragraphs. Brief statements and bullet points are clear and effective.

3. Make sure your summary is exactly that

Do not ramble, your profile is not a thesis. We all know someone who drones on, takes half an hour to say five minutes’ worth. It’s exhausting and often boring or annoying but with face-to-face interactions we are, mostly, polite enough to listen or excuse ourselves. It’s a different game when you’re reading. The mind wanders, skimming over dense chunks, and yes, there’s some eye-rolling over way too many unsubstantiated adjectives; ‘outstanding communicator’? Actually the evidence stands to the contrary.

Find the balance between being humble and promoting yourself – be professional but not boring. Consider your summary as a preface or blurb. Highlight key responsibilities, success stories, and goals. Bullet points make the information visually pleasing and can help break chunks of information. A short string of words emphasising your strengths and specialties help to pick you up in a keyword search.

4. Check, check, check again

Spelling, our natural enemy and greatest foe. Correct spelling and grammar is never more essential than in your career. While a slip-up in your job descriptions and summaries can be forgiven, a misspelling of your title is detrimental. A misspelled word can be the reason you don’t appear in keyword searches. An obvious mistake changes the tone of your profile to the reader, it cheapens your stock price. It is an immediate red flag, presenting you as careless at best and lazy at worst.

A potential opportunity can be lost because you couldn’t-didn’t-wouldn’t take five minutes to thoroughly read over your work or plonk it into a spell-checker. Use the tried-and-true method of reading your words out loud. It works.

In today's fast-paced, technology-driven society it only makes sense to utilise the platforms available to you. Having a comprehensive, detailed and proofread LinkedIn profile can be the reason someone reaches out to you for the opportunity you didn’t yet know you wanted.

Top Tips:

1. LinkedIn is for professionals, so put away the bathroom selfie, party animal, or tinder best photo and have a profile picture your potential employer could trust.

2. Providing a personal email address (not: piesfan1990@) makes it easier for people to contact you. When you are competing with other talented LinkedIn profiles, you want to give yourself the best possible advantages.

Remember, one of the greatest disservices you can do to your career is not talking about it.



Stephanie Tucceri is a Research Associate at Evolve Intelligence.