LinkedIn has become one of the first ports of call for professionals looking for a new role as well as recruiters looking for potential candidates – but how can you, as a candidate, effectively present your profile to avoid missing out on your perfect job?
The growth of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has grown rapidly since its inception in 2002 with Business Insider (2016) recently stating that LinkedIn has nearly tripled its amount of members (433 million in 2016) since 2012. This growth has lead more and more recruitment and search agencies to utilise this social media boom when looking for potential candidates – with 92% of agencies using LinkedIn to interview and vet candidates. LinkedIn is a particularly applicable platform in the IT sales sector as when looking at ’LinkedIn members by industry’, the technology industry has the highest proportion of members globally – 20% more than the finance industry (2nd in the study).
The value of having a proper profile
With so many recruiters using LinkedIn, having a stand out profile has become essential if you want to be considered for your dream role!
I know the majority of IT sales people are very comfortable selling a product or service however LinkedIn is the main platform to sell yourself, a ’virtual CV’ as it were, and without a knockout profile you may never be noticed by a recruiter or potential employer.
Common errors on LinkedIn profiles
Unexplained gaps or absences between jobs – always make sure that if you have had a gap in employment (e.g. travelling or sabbatical) that this is clearly articulated on your LinkedIn profile!
Poor Formatting – overkill of information or any grammatical errors is a big no no!
Subjective, unsubstantiated or plainly unfeasible claims – I know sales people like to ’blow their own trumpet’ however try to steer clear of any impossible or farcical boasts!
No photo… and conversely, terrible photos – reports show that you’re 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn with a photo but please keep the photo’s professional, avoiding holiday snaps with a stein of beer in hand!
Hard-to-find contact details – or no contact details at all!
Finally, make sure that you’re LinkedIn profile matches your CV – any dates which don’t correlate or missing jobs will always raise suspicions straight away with a recruiter!
Marc Sumner, Robertson Sumner MD, is particularly pernickety on this, stating:
I see so many LinkedIn profiles which aren’t slick and have formatting issues. This, for me, straight away raises warning signals as if a sales professional can’t present themselves on paper then are they going to present themselves professionally in front of one of our clients?
How can you make your profile more desirable?
Endorsements and recommendations – the IT world is very incestuous, a recruiter or potential employer are likely to know someone who has either worked or done business with you. Therefore the power of a recommendation on your profile is vital – this can either be from someone who you have done business with (i.e. a channel partner) or alternately a past employer. Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation from anyone who you’ve worked closely with as this could be a real door opener for you and help you progress your career.
The only thing that I would recommend steering clear of when it comes to LinkedIn recommendations is obtaining one from a current colleague or friend as this can come across as needy and unprofessional.
Are you in the right groups? – make sure that you join groups and network with people who will help you progress both yourself and your career! Groups are also a great place for you to be noticed by relevant recruiters therefore make sure that you are joining groups but also being selective about the ’right groups to join’.
Be open to expressing activities and interests outside of the workplace – as the hiring process becomes more ’culturally focussed’ for many employers it is important to share your personal interests on LinkedIn. Don’t go overboard however feel free to like your football teams’ page or share any details about a passion of yours.
LinkedIn is only going to continue growing, therefore don’t let yourself fall at the first hurdle when it comes to looking for a new position by have a poorly put together profile.
Be proud of your career and LinkedIn profile – it could open doors…