Take off your mask : the importance of a great LinkedIn profile

Written by Ingrid Smejkal | Blog | Candidates | Digital Technology | Posted 15/10/2015

I network every day for at least an hour. I network with at least 10 companies and I see hundreds of people before I’ve even had my coffee break. Sometimes I network on the train or when I’m heading to a meeting. How? Like thousands of other Heads of Talent, every day I use LinkedIn.

Everywhere we look we see technology transforming our lives and the way we work. LinkedIn has undoubtedly revolutionised in the way we network, how we keep in touch professionally, how we market our personal brand as well as our company. Who knows, one day the last business card may be printed and instead people heading to a networking event will simply open their LinkedIn app rather than exchange cards – perhaps you’ve experienced this already. Forbes even predicts that “In the future, there will be no job listings. Hiring managers will use their social networks and tools like LinkedIn to find the ideal candidate.” The fact is LinkedIn is vital to networking, recruitment and talent identification so you need to make sure your profile is accessible.

Time magazine estimated that in 2012, “93% of recruiters [were] using LinkedIn to discover talent” and that number has only increased in recent years. With over 364 million users, if you’re looking for work or networking opportunities, you need to ensure your profile is easy to find and as unambiguous as possible. For every candidate with no listed skills, bio or employment history, there are many more with a well written profile that provides recruiters and companies with a virtualised CV and career map.

Even if you’re not looking for a new role or to be headhunted, consider the next networking event you attend; you’re chatting to a new contact who tries to find you on LinkedIn on their way home but you have no photo, your security is so tight that they can’t discern whether it’s you, or someone completely different with the same name or title. Whilst online safety is important, LinkedIn is a platform where you need to be accessible, where you want to be found – so adding your company name, a professional contact address and a photo of yourself makes it easier for someone to connect with you.

Below are my top tips for an accessible, professional profile:

  • Have a profile picture. In my opinion, having a LinkedIn account without a picture of yourself is like going to a networking event with a mask on. Take a headshot in professional work clothes against a plain background – this isn’t the right place to have a group or holiday shot.
  • A concise but detailed summary. Lots of candidates don’t know what to write in this section – recruiters aren’t looking for a list of your life achievements since age 10. Treat your profile like a virtual CV so add in your professional overview from your most up to date CV listing skills and your current or previous roles.
  • Contact details. Whilst we’re constantly aware of the risks of putting too much personal information online, if you’re open to new roles or networking opportunities you need to be accessible. Add a professional email address or your office direct line can be useful as LinkedIn InMail is a limited service for many users.

- Ingrid Smejkal is Head of Talent at RSG, Sanderson’s parent company.

Interested in updating your LinkedIn profile even further? For a more comprehensive step-by-step guide to using LinkedIn, take a look at our blog 'How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Get a New Job' on RSGs website here.

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