Do’s and Don’ts

I know, I know.  If you’re anything like me, 2020 has you left you with a little bit of social media fatigue.  And it’s understandable!  With all the highly-charged events of the year, it may seem easier to just disconnect from the chaos than to engage.

But here’s one social networking account you should not neglect – your LinkedIn profile.  Why?  With more and more frequency, recruiters like myself are turning to LinkedIn as way to find candidates for exciting and unique opportunities.  We spend hours scouring profiles for the perfect match for our clients.  And you might be that match!  But your potential as a candidate is only as good as your profile.  First impressions are literally everything when all a recruiter has is one screen’s worth of information about you.

Below are some simple Do’s and Don’ts for creating and maintaining your LinkedIn profile, so that you can catch the eye of the recruiters and make the most of the job opportunities ahead.

DO add a photo to your user profile.  Recruiters are visual people!  We like to know who we are reaching out to, and it’s comforting to see that a candidate doesn’t have horns coming out of his or her head (unless, of course, that’s what the job calls for!).

DON’T treat your profile photo as if this were a dating app.  A photo of you with your friend next to you cropped out is not sending the right message to your target audience – even if you think you “look cute.”  You don’t need a professional headshot, but the picture should certainly be business appropriate.

DO add a headline to your profile that captures the most relevant features of your marketability.  When recruiters are sifting through hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of profiles, the headline is the first bit of information we see, and it can signal immediately whether a candidate bears further scrutiny.  Instead of “Attorney,” try “Senior Patent Pharmaceutical Associate with a Chemical Engineering Background.”

DON’T ignore the “About” section of your profile.  After your headline, this is where recruiters and potential employers will go to broadly assess your relevant skill set.  Your “About” section should be a succinct summary of your background and should highlight your most marketable attributes across all parts of your career.  As recruiters, the “About” section gives us a good indication of whether we should keep reading or move on to the next profile.

DON’T skimp on details when it comes to your work experience!  This is where you get your money’s worth.  Recruiters search LinkedIn using key words, and the only way we are going to find you for that perfect job is if those buzz words appear somewhere in your profile.  If all you have is a law firm name, a title, and some dates, we are going to pass you right by.

DO update your profile regularly, even if you haven’t changed jobs.  Job responsibilities are dynamic, always shifting slightly, and that new private equity deal you just closed might be exactly the experience a recruiter is looking for.

DO make connections with other LinkedIn members.  LinkedIn makes this incredibly easy, with regular suggestions of people you may know.  A bigger network leads to better visibility.  And as recruiters, it lends immediate credibility to the candidates we are reviewing if they are connected to someone we also know.

DO get in the habit of checking your LinkedIn mail and respond promptly to all messages.  Oftentimes, LinkedIn is the only source of contact information that a recruiter or potential employer has to reach you. If you wait a week before writing us back, the opportunity may have passed you by.

With all the above said, I know what you skeptics out there are thinking:

“But I already have a job that I love and I’m not looking for a new position.  Do I still need to keep up to date with my LinkedIn profile?”

YES!!  Any recruiter worth her salt will tell you that we routinely talk to candidates who didn’t realize they were open to a new position until that special opportunity was actually laid out before them.  But if you don’t do the leg work along the way — to keep your profile fresh and relevant – recruiters and potential employers will have no way to find you.

So do yourself a favor, follow these simple tips above and new opportunities will be sure to come your way in 2021.