Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.Cynthia Ozick.
The importance of having a memorable digital first impression in our digital age cannot be overstated.
Nearly 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and review job candidates. Those who keep their LinkedIn information up to date are discovered 18x more frequently in searches by members and recruiters. As a result, before you even step foot in an interview room, recruiters are making hiring decisions and asking questions based on how you’re portrayed in the digital space. For example…
Who’s in their network?
What does this person know?
What’s their job history?
How do others view them?
So given that these digital-first impressions are so important, how can you go about optimising your digital presence to be as attractive as possible to potential recruiters? It’s clear that there is a big difference between making an impression in person than making one through a screen. Here are a few tips to bear in mind.
Get the basics right first
There are a number of go-to basics to get right when it comes to building a digital impression on LinkedIn. For example,
- Profile picture – keep it professional, easy to view and welcoming. Investing in a professional headshot will do wonders for your personal branding, as opposed to doing the opposite by relying on a blurry group photo that is out-of-date.
- Headline – getting this right is essential when it comes to showing up in the search algorithms of LinkedIn’s many recruiters. Recruiters often search for specific job titles, locations, skills or experience, so making sure you’ve covered the majority of these in your headline will help get your profile seen by those who want to see it.
- Cover photo – a vast majority of LinkedIn users fail to effectively utilise a cover photo. They can be great places to direct the visitor of your profile to any relevant websites, social media platforms or other notable awards/achievements you may have in an easy-to-read, visually appealing and simple format.
- Summary/bio – the bio section of your profile is a perfect opportunity to answer the typical interview question ‘Tell me about yourself’. It should blend elements of a covering letter and short biography, essentially encompassing an elevator pitch as to who you are, what you do and what you’re looking for from a career.
- Job/education history – ensuring these sections are up to date are again critical to making sure search algorithms can effectively mine your profile for keywords and any notable qualifications, positions or academics you may have. Revisit this frequently and describe not just your responsibilities, but how you went above and beyond them, as well.
Internet searches are driven by keywords and search engine optimisation techniques (SEO). Searches by recruiters are not different and rely on very similar principles. Accurately describing your positions, skills or experiences by using commonly-searched phrases can be the difference between your profile being higher ranked in searches and failing to generate much traction. It’s important to review your headline and job title to ensure you’ve adequately used keywords, as they carry significant weight in the search algorithm.
An easy way to leverage keywords is through the Skills section of your profile. Try to add a few that are relevant to your job experience and ask those you’ve worked with to endorse your proficiencies in those skills. Doing so will again boost your profile views and increase the likelihood that recruiters will both view your profile favourably and message you with potential opportunities.
Finalise the little things
Once you’ve covered the basic and optimised your profile for appearing in searches, there are a number of small optional tweaks you can do to make your profile look just that little bit better:
- Get a custom profile URL – especially if you are concerned with personal branding or attempting to appear in search engines for projects/companies/content you are known for. It is also much more visually appealing when forwarding on your profile to others.
- Review and reorder your recommendations – try to prioritise those with the most experience or impressive standing at the top of your recommendations list, rather than having them burrowed away under others you may have. It’s also important to ensure they’re not only accurate, but also genuinely favourable to your profile!
- Utilise articles – if you’re looking to demonstrate expertise in an area, then utilising LinkedIn’s article feature can be a great way to boost engagement with your profile and to curate content based on your industry knowledge. They also appear right at the top of your profile when recruiters view them, meaning that you can showcase your abilities as soon as they view your profile.
Creating and curating a digital impression are extremely important in the digital age. If you’re looking to get noticed by recruiters, try employing some of the tips outlined above and reviewing them every few months. Let your profile do the work for you!