Recruiters look at a lot of LinkedIN profiles so, whether you're looking for work or just open to new opportunities, investing some time in your profile is a worthwhile endeavour. You'll probably be logging in to change your password in the wake of the massive password leak, so why not take this opportunity to increase your odds of appearing on our radar?
Resume Rules Apply
For many people LinkedIN is an online resume more than a social network, which is why it's so surprising that those same people frequently have terrible LinkedIN profiles. Whether it's incomplete work histories, a complete lack of job descriptions or the absence of a picture, they fail to present themselves well in the one arena every modern employer is almost guaranteed to check. Even if you never post a status update, apply the same rules to your profile that you apply to your resume.
Skills Show Up In Search
A resume is a place to show off your skills, but you can do more than just include them in your job description with LinkedIN. Under the 'Skills & Expertise' you can tag your account with keywords and skills related to your industry. These are tags that help you show up in search results so, if we're looking for "software sales Toronto", having "software" and "sales" is a good first step to getting noticed.
There are a lot of different tags you can apply to your profile, so don't be afraid of a little overlap. "Marketing" and "Web Marketing" are going to attract different audiences and the more specific you can be, the better.
Nothing will replace a reference check, but a recommendation is a good way to establish that everything on your profile isn't a complete fabrication. If you work directly with clients, they may take it upon themselves to recommend the work you've done but in any other situation you'll probably have to ask. When you do, try to get someone senior to vouch for you. It carries more weight than swapping recommendations with the guy in the cubicle next to you.
Be There Or Beware
This isn't equally true for every industry, but LinkedIN is the go-to resource for recruiters in technology, finance, manufacturing and a host of other sectors. If, for whatever reason, you've decided to avoid LinkedIN you're on the verge of falling into a black hole. There are still ways you can come across our desk (recommendations, applications, etc.), but we might not even bother if someone else's well manicured LinkedIN account has given us everything we need before we had to ask for it.
For the most part LinkedIN is a "set it and forget it" social network, which is good for people who might not be social media savvy. These are the basics you can do to make sure your profile is informative and easy to find. Of course, connecting with your colleagues, joining groups and following a recruiter also increases your odds of getting head hunted, but start with the basics and go from there.