Is Your LinkedIn Profile Hurting Your Job Search?

Job search can be overwhelming and flying blind on professional networking and job sites can add to that stress. We’ll let you in on a little secret: the key to creating a high-impact LinkedIn profile is as simple as thinking like a recruiter. Here are five key insights to help you maximize your profile, put LinkedIn’s AI to work behind the scenes, and network like a pro.

1. We Love Summaries
Your profile summary is an elevator pitch, and when done right, the perfect introduction. Tell us who you are, what you do, which industries you have experience in, and how we can reach you. It’s like handing us a business card with notes on the back. More importantly, a complete summary is filled with relevant keywords that improve your rank in search results. Include a recent photo, but make sure it is appropriate.

2. Current Title is Everything
The single biggest mistake active job seekers make on LinkedIn is putting a phrase like “unemployed” in the current job section of their profiles. Why? Because the very first field on the search form in LinkedIn Recruiter (the site we use to find candidates) is job title, and current title is the most frequently searched criteria. We assure you; we are not searching with the term “unemployed”.

If you are freshly on the market, keep your most recent job as your current position. If it’s been a while, use descriptions such as “Global Supply Chain Professional”, “Manufacturing Finance Leader”, “Strategic Human Resources Business Partner”, etc. These phrases utilize the types of keywords we use to search for related candidates.

If you want to let us know you are looking, turn on “Open to Opportunities”. Enabling this feature puts your profile in a separate “spotlight” category in LinkedIn Recruiter search results. We pay for every single InMail we send and are more likely to contact active candidates to maximize ROI. From LinkedIn.com, click your photo, then Settings & Privacy, then Job Seeking Preferences and compete the displayed sections.

3. Give us Info
Don’t stop at job title and company when listing past roles. Fill in the blanks and capitalize on the keyword opportunity. A few bullet points under each position will provide a clear snapshot of your experience and help your ranking in search results. Include keywords that indicate industry and special skills. Be sure to include education and certifications in your profile as well.

4. Skills are a Big Deal
Skills are the second most important part of your LinkedIn profile after current position. LinkedIn uses advanced AI and your selected skills to suggest jobs for you. We select must-have skills from the same list when we post jobs and run searches on LinkedIn Recruiter. The same AI suggests candidates for our jobs and places them in a showcase list. This system works behind the scenes, playing matchmaker 24/7. Review your skill selections and update as needed.

5. Make Yourself Known
LinkedIn puts you in control of your visibility, both on and offsite. You may want to keep a low profile when happily employed or confidentially looking, but you should pull out all the stops when in active job search mode. LinkedIn has multiple product options for employers, each of which comes with different tools and levels of candidate visibility (and increasing price points). You can make yourself visible to employers at all levels, both on LinkedIn and in search engine results. To control these settings from LinkedIn.com, click your photo, then Settings & Privacy, then How others see your profile and network information and complete the sections to your suit your current needs and preferences. You can always reapply higher privacy settings once you’ve settled into a new role.