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When used effectively, LinkedIn is an incredibly strong tool for jobseekers. The leading professional networking site allows those looking for a new challenge to showcase their strengths and achievements and target their ideal organisations and positions.

Recruiters and HR managers routinely trawl social media sites looking for new talent, so it pays to make sure your profile is as strong as possible and designed to attract the attention of people in the right sector. Once your LinkedIn page has been perfected you can also use the platform to search for positions.

1.     Headline and photo

These are the first things a potential employer will see when they look at your profile. Your headline, which appears below your name, should clearly state your position and include keywords relating to your niche, for example, Head of IT or Chief Operations Officer. You can add a few words of explanation if your job is less well known or if you feel it adds to the headline. Your photo should be clear and professional and in a similar style to that of others in your industry.

2.     Update your profile

Pay particular attention to the ‘About’ section near the top of your profile. This should give details of your skills, strengths and accomplishments. Try and explain what you’ll bring to an organisation and why you’ll be a great team member.

Keep the information factual, focusing more on hard skills such as qualifications and experience, rather than soft skills such as being creative and motivated.

Include specific notable achievements, for example, if you have led a particularly big project or pushed through a lucrative deal for your current employer. You can also include facts and figures here, for instance, if you grew sales or engagement by a large percentage.

Remember that only the first couple of lines of your ‘About’ section are visible initially, so concentrate on making them engaging so that the reader clicks ‘see more’ to read the rest.

3.     Include keywords

Using the right keywords can not only help recruiters to find you but will also let potential employers know they are looking at someone working in the right area.

Have a look at well-written job adverts for the sort of position you are seeking and make a note of the main keywords they contain.

Include some of these in your ‘Skills’ section as well as in the ‘About’ section, although be careful to make sure they sound natural and not forced. Those in your ‘Skills’ section will show up when recruiters search, while those in the ‘About’ section will help potential employers understand that you are working in their area. Keywords should also be included in your list of skills and endorsements to help recruiters find you.

4.     Past jobs

This is your opportunity to really go into detail about your accomplishments on behalf of your current and former employers. Again, include facts and figures if you can, and demonstrate the value that you brought to their organisation. Ideally, you want the reader to imagine you bringing the same benefits to their company.

Focus in particular on your most recent positions, especially if they are the same or similar to the new job that you’re seeking. Talk about your responsibilities and what you were in charge of as well as any particular projects that you undertook.

5.     Recommendations

Other’s people’s recommendations are a powerfully persuasive tool. Have a look through those you already have to make sure they are appropriate to the new position you’re seeking and then make a list of people you can ask to provide a relevant recommendation now.

You don’t need dozens of them, but a handful of strong, positive references will make you more attractive to potential employers than someone who doesn’t have any.

6.     Portfolio

If your job includes producing articles, papers, reports or research, make sure they are included in your portfolio if they’re in the same field as the job you are seeking.

7.     Skills, endorsements and qualifications

If you’re including skills, endorsements and qualifications on your page, make sure they are relevant. It is easy for this section to get out of hand, with every single thing you’ve ever tried or achieved included. However, by focusing only on the attributes which are likely to be important to your new employer, you make it easier for them to see you as an expert.

8.     Focus

This applies across your LinkedIn profile as well as in the skills and other bottom sections. Try to show a potential employer what you have to offer them and how you will solve their problems and bring exactly the right skills. They need to see you as a specialist rather than a generalist. This might mean leaving out some less relevant information or minimising the amount you say about previous positions in different areas.

Remember that potential employers won’t necessarily read everything if your profile is lengthy, so keep it concise and make every word count.

9.     Ask for a second opinion

Once you’re satisfied that your profile is as good as it can be, ask a friend in a similar area of work to proofread it for you and give you their feedback. They are likely to pick up on any little errors you may have made and might have good suggestions about the presentation of your skills and experience.

Someone who knows your work well may also have insights to add about your strengths and achievements that you hadn’t thought to include.

10. Keep in the loop

Make sure you stay up to date with events in the industry you are in and follow the companies that you would most like to work for. This will ensure that you don’t miss any jobs if they happen to arise and might also put you in the way of opportunities and beneficial connections.

11. Reaching out

As well as searching for jobs that are being advertised on LinkedIn, finding the right position will involve reaching out to those who might be able to help you. If you’re connected with someone at the company where you want to work, sound them out about potential openings and ask them if they will refer you.

If you aren’t linked to anyone at the places where you would like to work, ask your connections for introductions if you can. Engage with posts and content from the company and relevant team members and start to build relationships.

If you don’t have a connection you can ask, try contacting someone who is in a common group with you. Keep your communication brief, polite and to the point.

Recruiters can also be hugely helpful in finding the right job. Search for those who specialise in employment in your area and make sure that your skills and endorsements contain the right keywords so that recruitment consultants can find you too.

12. Professional help

Finding the right job can be life-changing. Using professional help to perfect your LinkedIn profile can help you target the exact position you want and impress potential employers. At Links2Leads we specialise in showcasing your talents and strengths to demonstrate to your potential employers your value to their business.

We offer a profile writing service as well as a review service. For more information, see our Profile Writing Service page.

Links2Leads also offers tailored and flexible one-to-one LinkedIn coaching to help you make the most of your LinkedIn membership. Those who have gone through coaching with Rachel Tombs and her team members confirm that their targeted approach has helped them achieve their business goals. Find out more here, speak to Rachel/Links2Leads on 0118 380 5980 or fill out our Contact Form