10 min

How to create a powerful LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the major international professional networking platform. Being present in this service boosts your chance to find a job, even if you are not looking for one right now.

Senior Recruiter and Talents Operations Manager at British HR-tech Beamery Maria Riabukhina told StudyFree how to create a powerful LinkedIn profile and attract the attention of potential employers.

How good is LinkedIn for job search? 

LinkedIn is one of the most efficient instruments for job searching worldwide. Nevertheless, you must always bear in mind the particular nature of the local market. To ensure your search is successful, it pays to diversify the instruments you employ, and use LinkedIn along with local job search websites. For example, it would be in Russia, Glassdoor in the UK, in Poland, and Indeed and Glassdoor worldwide.

Why should a job seeker pay attention to this site?

LinkedIn became the essential tool for networking and searching for professional contacts in the Western job market. Most companies, especially foreign ones, use LinkedIn to look for employees. This is the most (and quite often the sole) instrument that a recruiter uses to search for prospective candidates. The stronger your profile is, the higher your chances to receive an employment request.

How to search for a job at LinkedIn?

I would identify two methods: the first is to look for openings and to send job applications for particular positions; the second is to enhance your networking reach and to use it to seek opportunities.

The first method means searching for open positions in the Jobs section using the search function and available filters (location, position name, etc.). LinkedIn recommends open positions based on your profile and activity: what you have searched for, what positions you looked at and saved. You can also set up notifications about new openings based on your search parameters.

Sometimes a position description contains information on the searching recruiter. Be proactive: add this person to your contact list and send them a brief message describing why you are interested in this particular position and how you are planning to address the problem that the hiring manager aims to solve. To do this, you should analyze not only the position description, but also other company sources (blog, web site) in order to grasp the goals of this particular business, and understand how they plan to reach these goals by hiring an employee for this position.

In the second case, your strategy should be to enhance your networking reach in the companies you are interested in. This may be a more long-term approach to seeking for employment, preferably to be applied continuously throughout your career, but not during the active phase of the job search. This is a long-term effort. Stick to the following procedure:

  1. Perform a research and draw up a list of companies you are potentially interested in.
  2. Search for recruiters, add them to your contact list, say that you are interested in joining their company and would like to be in touch for future reference. 
  3. Find the hiring managers. For example, if you are a Product Manager / Product Owner, you should seek out the Head of Product of the particular company, study this person’s profile, sign up for updates. Consider what position a future manager may take up in the company. If you operate in sales, indicate Head of Sales, if it is marketing — Head of Marketing, if HR — Head of HR or Chief People Officer. I think the pattern is clear. It is a usual practice for hiring managers to look for candidates and post open positions in their network. Subscribe to their updates: you will get both useful information and a good reason for adding them to your contact list. 

Avoid sending a request to be added to a contact list to a large number of people at LinkedIn you do not actually know without any comment, or your account may be blocked. When enhancing your networking circle, take time to explain why and for what reason you want to be included in a person’s contacts, and how you plan to add value to the business. This will increase your chances to make a meaningful contact.

Develop a habit of adding everyone you run into in your professional life. Conferences, business meetings, meetups, events - anything may be a resource for expanding your social network. Soon it will not be you looking for a job, but a job looking for you instead.

If a candidate has no LinkedIn profile (or a bad one), does it lower their chances to get an offer? Do you use this platform often? 

I wouldn’t say that no profile or a bad profile lowers one’s chances to get an offer. What does, though, is if your CV does not match your LinkedIn profile data. By the way, don’t think that if you don’t put a link to your profile in your CV, no one will find you on LinkedIn. They sure will!

LinkedIn is just the place where most recruiters would search for a candidate. First, it helps to compare how job-seekers describe themselves on different platforms.  Second, it saves the recruiter’s time: all CVs are different, thus, hard to compare - and all LinkedIn profiles are built to the same pattern.

I as a recruiter log in to this platform daily to keep track of my network’s developments, talking with applicants, and searching for new candidates.

What does an HR manager look at in the first place when visiting a profile of a potential candidate at LinkedIn?

It depends. 

If a person wants to add me as a contact, the first thing to look at is the headline — the line just below the name. Generally speaking, this is your business card: your name, your photo, your headline.

When searching for candidates, I visit a profile to look up keywords that I entered in my search: usually these are taken from the position description. I also pay attention to the overall career path, i.e. the education and the job experience. Then I look up whether a candidate is currently available for offers, and if yes, whether the particular criteria are mentioned (position, location, schedule - full-time or part-time, etc.) Then I read the description of a particular position or company experience I'm interested in, paying particular attention to the Skills section.

If I am preparing for an interview or a СМ evaluation, I look at whether the CV matches the LinkedIn profile, request clarification on discrepancies, and enquire about overall job experience.

How to create a powerful profile?

Pick a professional-looking photo. I advise not to use a full-length picture: the most important thing is your face, it must be in the focus. If you are engaged in the creative industry, you may use a picture instead. Having no photo at all is not a disaster, it is even better than having a bad one: but your profile will surely look more professional with a photo in it.

Think over the headline. By default, LinkedIn shows here your position and the company you are currently working for, but you may change the headline depending on your current situation, mentioning your current project or other important things. This is the phrase that people will look at before opening your profile, deciding whether they should add you to their contacts - or not.

Add a background image. It will make your profile look finished. You may find out how to do it here.

Edit the link to your profile. If you use the same nickname on other social media, add it to your personal URL. Some recruiters would use it to find a person on Telegram or Facebook. A personalized URL address looks more professional, especially if your profile is in Russian, because Cyrillic lengthens the copied links. You don't need to think up anything fancy, your name in Latin alphabet would suffice. You can read about it here.

Fill in your profile. State your education level, job experience, add your skills description. Remember that recruiters perform search by keywords: think what these keywords may be, and try to include them in your profile. 

Set up a profile in English. If your English is good, it may drastically enhance your options. Visit LinkedIn for more useful advice on creating an efficient profile.