Recruitment agencies and other prospective employers spend a great deal of time skimming through LinkedIn profiles.
They are looking for potential job candidates for their client (anything from a big company to a small business). Sometimes this is called ‘head-hunting’.
When they find a likely candidate who matches their client’s needs, they try and contact them – preferably directly through email, but if the email is not listed on the profile, they may contact the person through someone in their network.
The first thing to know is that if any spelling or grammar mistakes are spotted, they will skip to the next person. If the next person’s profile is too wordy, vague or arrogant, they will skip to the next one. If the next one has a crappy picture, they will again move on.
There are simply hundreds of candidates and it is all too easy to give the flick to those who don’t immediately hit the mark.
Also, recruitment agencies have special privileges and ‘tricks of the trade’ they use when they are searching for job candidates on LinkedIn.
Knowing what they are, and tailoring your profile in a way that makes you easy to find, may help you land a job more quickly.
Lesson No 1: get rid of everything you don’t want a recruitment agency to know about.
Recruitment agency privileges include accessing pretty much everything you have put on your profile – even the hidden or confidential information that you have marked as for ‘my connections only’. So, if the info is there, they will see it – unless you delete it first.
Lesson No 2: Get a good photo taken for your profile shot.
People who are thinking of offering you an interview would prefer to see a picture of you. They want to see what you look like and how you present to the world. If you have a ‘silly face’ photo, or a pic of yourself with a drink in your hand, or a pic kissing someone, you are not doing yourself any favours. It is worth paying to get a good profile picture taken. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words – it says a lot about you in a professional sense. Don’t mess with it.
Lesson No 3: Make sure the job title you put in your profile accurately reflects the role you do.
If your job title is a poor match for your skill set, ask your boss if you can change it slightly. Say your job title is ‘Project Officer’ but you really are the manager and developer of all web content projects, you might be able to call yourself ‘Web Content Development Manager’. Not only does that sound more professional, but it highlights the actual work you are capable of doing. It will also come up as a match when a recruitment agency does a search for people currently doing that role. The job title ‘Project Officer’ doesn’t sell your skills at all. You could be a project officer in an accounting firm or in a TAFE college.
Lesson No 4: If you are actively looking for work, make sure you say that you are prepared to relocate (if you are).
Assuming you have done the right thing and added your current location to your profile, make sure you add something like ‘willing to relocate for the right job’. Recruiters will often look for people already working in the city/town/region where they are looking to hire. This makes sense, as the person is already established in the location (e.g. Sydney) and is likely to be happy to stay. There are no issues with finding accommodation and schools for the children. They do not have to pay relocation fees. They will be able to start sooner if they do not need to relocate, and so on.
Lesson No 5: Highlight your qualifications
Your job is to ensure your qualifications are reflected accurately. If you have a degree/s, list them all and the institutions where you received them. Some hiring managers only wish to interview candidates with a specific degree; some are more interested in the work experience the candidate may have had since leaving School or university. In this case, it may be appropriate to explain that the trade qualification you did was the equivalent of an undergraduate degree. For example, say you did a four-year journalism cadetship with a newspaper but did not go to University. It would be perfectly acceptable to highlight your on-the-job training as equivalent to a Bachelor of Journalism. You may have a combination of trade skills and workplace experience, or a university degree with workplace experience, or simply many years of workplace experience. They are all equally valuable.