LinkedIn is currently the number one online tool used by professional recruiters to find candidates – before they ever post a job publicly, they are searching behind the scenes first.  However, many recruiters are not finding the candidates they need on LinkedIn – and this is because simple profile mistakes make candidates invisible. If you are not getting contacted for job opportunities by hiring managers and recruiters, here are 5 tips to improve your profile and stop missing out on great opportunities.

1. Complete every section in your profile.  This seems obvious and simple, but it is the #1 mistake made on LinkedIn. Their search engine gives preference to completed profiles, so without one, you are not going to be found by recruiters. Don’t waste your time – if you are going to sign up, go ahead and take the time to fill out every section in your profile as much as you possibly can.

2. Use industry keywords.  The infusion of keywords throughout your profile is VITAL, recruiters can only find you if your profile contains the specific words and phrases they are searching for. When a recruiter goes online to find a Sales Executive for example, he will search for terms like “sales professional” or “sales executive”, but also for specific terms such as “pipeline development”, “consultative sales” and “relationship manager”. So when you complete your profile, make sure to include the industry buzzwords used in your field, and sprinkle them throughout.

3. Be personable.  So often people just copy and paste their resume into LinkedIn, and that is a really big mistake. Your resume is a  formal document, probably written in 3rd person, (and often a bit “stuffy”) –  that style does not work well on your profile.  It is much more effective to write in 1st person (use “I”) and keep the tone professional, but more casual. Show your personality a bit, and you will have a much better chance of getting noticed, and contacted.

4.  Your photo matters. Research has shown that profiles without photos are viewed much less often than profiles that include a photo. Also, the type of photo matters. LinkedIn is not Facebook, and it’s not the place for a photo of you out partying with friends (yes, I have seen these types of profile photos – often!). Use a professional head-shot if you have one, and make sure you look friendly, confident and approachable. Just like the tone of your profile writing, it should be personable, but professional.

5. Be concise, not wordy.  LinkedIn allows 2000 characters in each profile section, but that does not mean you need to use all of them! Recruiters don’t have time to read long, involved job descriptions. Write a single, clear and concise paragraph that focuses on your accomplishments and results.  You can add a bullet point or two if desired, but keep it short. You want to engage the reader, and if they like what they see, they will contact you for a resume, which will give them all the details.

If you follow these five steps, you will begin to get contacted and see a vastly improved response rate. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy, often with several positions to fill. They view 1000’s of resumes and LinkedIn profiles each day. If your profile does not meet the five criteria above, it most likely will not be found, or will be skipped over.

Take the time to make sure your profile is the best it can be, and you will get results. If you would like professional help, contact me to discuss profile optimization options.