Learn how job seekers can make the most of their LinkedIn profiles and attract recruiters.
LinkedIn is the perfect avenue for networking with recruiters, as they’re excellent tools for your job search, market and trends insights, and career development. Whether you’re looking for a full-time job, contract position, or consulting opportunity, recruiters have the inside scoop.
A group of seasoned Apex recruiters, including a team lead, application lead, enterprise software lead, and national delivery engineer, recently discussed their LinkedIn strategies. With a combined 55 years of Apex experience, they offered insight into how job seekers can attract recruiters on the platform.
How Do Recruiters Use LinkedIn?
According to Jobscan, 87% of recruiters say LinkedIn is their primary source for finding and screening job candidates. “LinkedIn is probably where you’re going to get noticed the most,” one of the recruiters says.
“We see your LinkedIn before we see your actual resume,” another recruiter points out. This is why your profile needs to be in tip-top shape, as it's often the first impression you make.
LinkedIn humanizes you and proves your credibility.
Recruiters use advanced search filters when seeking candidates on LinkedIn. They can filter results by job title, industry, education, skills, etc.
To maximize your chances of showing up in their results, include relevant keywords and details in your profile. Speaking of, when was the last time you updated your LinkedIn page? It might be time for a refresh.
Reevaluate Your Profile
First things first: turn on the Open to Work status. Take the time to fill out your job preferences (location types, start date, employment types, visibility, etc.) to help the right recruiters find you. Include your specific city and state instead of a generic location.
Next, update your profile. If it’s looking a little bare, enhance it ASAP.
Fill out each section, including job titles, timelines with months and years, and several bullets describing your job duties in each role.
“Some people will just put their jobs and dates, but that makes [their profiles] hard to find because they don't have a lot to search upon,” another recruiter says. “The more times you have a keyword in your profile, the better in terms of recruiters finding you.”
If past employers used niche titles that didn’t give the full picture of what you did, consider putting a more recognizable title under the job.
“Just clarifying the job title a little bit more can be helpful,” a recruiter mentions. “I also encourage people to put a bullet at the end of their About Me section that lists out the primary technologies you have worked the most with.”
Also, follow organizations you’re interested in interviewing with—recruiters can see if you follow their company.
Summarize Your Experience
Include as much information as possible in the summary section. “Make the most of the real estate on your profile,” one of the recruiters states.
Be clear about what you're looking for so that recruiters know what you want.
“A summary of what you have done is very helpful when looking at somebody's profile,” a recruiter states. “And then obviously update the education or certifications, because we use that quite a bit when searching, especially if it is required for the role.”
Use a Professional Headshot
Your profile picture and headline are the only aspects of your profile that recruiters see when browsing LinkedIn search results. A strong photo and headline could entice them to click on your full profile.
“First and foremost, I look for a professional photo,” a recruiter mentions. “Please don’t use a photo of you and three friends at a wedding. Crop it to just be you. This is a representation of yourself, this is what everyone’s going to see.”
Choose a headshot taken in a soft, well-lit environment with a simple background. To maintain professionalism, avoid selfies or filtered pictures. Use a high-resolution image for a clear and crisp look.
Write a Strategic Headline
In terms of the headline, fill out the section with more than just your title.
According to a LinkedIn Pulse article, “Your LinkedIn headline communicates who you are, what you do and…[if]…you have potential to be the best person for the job. This statement will determine how you are perceived by hiring managers and recruiters at any given point in your career.”
Recruiters recommend including keywords related to what you want to do. This way, people see not only your current role, but also what you’re hoping to become. For example, adding "aspiring web designer" helps recruiters and hiring managers better pinpoint your interests.
It’s also beneficial to add technologies and certifications that are in demand. This could be a PMP if you’re a Project Manager, a cloud or programming technology like Azure or Python if you’re a Cloud or Programming professional, or Power BI for data professionals.
One recruiter mentions that she compares resume and LinkedIn dates to make sure they align. Any discrepancies raise a red flag. “You'd be surprised by how many times the dates are off, whether it's a year or a few months,” she says.
Take care to avoid misspellings (especially of software and technologies), grammatical errors, date mistakes, etc. The goal is for your profile to be detail-oriented, accurate, and specific.
“It might seem picky, but you can't tell me that you're doing good documentation as a developer when you can't spell your technology right,” a recruiter explains. “If you're in a public-facing functional side of the business, you have to be a good LinkedIn profile creator.” It is an indicator of your communication skills and attention to detail.
Connections and Recommendations are Key
There’s no perfect number of connections to have, but recruiters say that more is better. Some are concerned when they see small numbers, as it could potentially signify a fake or fraudulent profile.
“If they only have 34 connections, the profile is clearly new,” a recruiter says. “If you’re in the tech space, you should be on LinkedIn and you should be networking with people. Your profile should not be a brand-new thing.”
The recruiter mentions the questions she asks herself when reviewing candidates’ connections:
Are they connected to people who worked at the companies they said they worked for?
Are they building relationships with people and connecting with them?
Recruiters also like to see recommendations on someone's page. “I personally love to see people’s LinkedIn recommendations,” one of the recruiters explains. “It goes a long way when somebody takes the time to write a recommendation, because it shows they really mean what they're saying.” It’s an instant demonstration of credibility or social proof.
Remain Positive and Proactive
If you get frustrated while using LinkedIn, remember that the power of this platform is that it humanizes you and proves your credibility. When used correctly, it’s a positive way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. It allows you to showcase your individuality instead of coming across as a faceless candidate.
“Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back from a recruiter right away,” a recruiter says as a final takeaway. “Be aware that you can do everything right and still not hear back, but try to separate the job search from your self-worth. Just do your best and keep going!”
Contributors: Jason Biser, Marissa Montgomery, Jessica Packer, Chris Rosbaugh, Erica Woods