Candidates – Optimise your LinkedIn profile to stand out

In today’s digital age, your LinkedIn profile will be the first port of call for almost all prospective hiring managers and recruiters, sometimes even more so than your CV. This is especially true in Executive Search, a specialised method of recruitment utilised to identify top calibre talent for niche and senior level roles, where headhunting is the primary source of candidate generation. If you want to stand out to the people responsible for uniting leading global businesses with their newest talent, here are some tips:

  • 1. Customize your URL

    This is a quick and easy step to contribute towards making your profile look slick and professional. Your profile link will be automatically-generated, and might look something like: unless otherwise edited. To avoid this unsightly string of numbers and add a personalized touch, just navigate to your profile, click ‘Edit public profile & URL’, then ‘Edit your custom URL. You’ll need to make sure it’s unique in order for it to save, so if you have a common name you may need to include a middle name or something else additional.

  • 2. Don’t skip profile and banner images

    Yes, it can be tempting to re-use another photo from a special event or a night out… But please make sure you’re using a business appropriate photograph, or ideally a professional headshot for your profile picture. This will convey that you’re serious about and invested in your professional image. In terms of your banner, there are a few options. You can either update this in-line with your companies branding, use something generic, or go fully custom. If you’re going for the third option, remember the required sizing for LinkedIn banner images is 1200 x 627 pixels. You can browse royalty free images on websites like Unsplash & Pexels, and there are user friendly templates available to use on Canva.

  • 3. Write a descriptive headline to really demonstrate your value

    Your LinkedIn headline doesn’t have to be a straight forward job title. Think about the value you add, rather than just a top line description of what you do. Instead of ‘Regional Sales Leader’ try something more outside of the box based on the anticipation of your prospective audience’s needs/interests, like ‘Helping industry leaders to streamline their logistics process with innovative SaaS technology’, for example.

  • 4. Highlight your skills

    If you haven’t already, add this feature to your profile by clicking ‘Add profile section’, then selecting ‘Skills’. Or, access your existing skills list by scrolling down. You can then click the ‘+’ button to add new ones. Whilst you’ll want to feature all your skills, try to keep them as relevant as possible. If you’ve had your LinkedIn profile for a while it may be worth checking to see that the skills on your page are all still serving you. Once you’re happy with your list, reach out to friends and colleagues asking them to endorse you (and don’t forget to return the favour!).

  • 5. Earn skills badges

    A rather nifty feature on LinkedIn is the ability to take short quizzes on your featured skills, which if passed, will display on your profile and help you to appear in searches carried out by recruiters and hiring managers. You can take skill quizzes for everything from industry knowledge to application usage. You might have always included ‘Proficient in MS Excel’ on your CV, but being able to show that you’re actually in the top 5% of over 19 million LinkedIn users, for example, will add weight to your claims and help to set you apart.

  • 6. Request recommendations

    LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from anybody you’re connected with. This helps prospective employers to see that you’ve been vouched for. Be sure to make the most of this functionality by inviting colleagues and clients to share their feedback with you - and don’t forget to sweeten the deal by leaving recommendations for them in return.

  • 7. Featured Content

    Did you know that you can add featured content to show at the top of your LinkedIn profile? This is a great way to showcase professional content you’ve created or taken part in, such as articles, podcasts, videos etc. To add this to your profile click ‘Add profile section’, ‘Recommended’, ‘Add Featured’. Then, click the add icon on the featured page to select the posts you’d like to feature.

  • 8. Check your LinkedIn profile strength

    LinkedIn automatically offers a profile strength gauge so you can check your progress. It’ll let you know if you need to update a missing section. To access this feature just navigate to your profile page and scroll until you see ‘Suggested for you’.

Finally, remember that what you’ll get out of your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of what you put in. Optimising your profile isn’t a one-time investment of your energy – you’ll need to keep your page relevant as your experience and skills change, and you’ll need to remember to regularly post for the best results.

Are you looking for your next opportunity? Follow the Gillespie Manners page to join our specialist Executive Search network in Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Logistics, RFID and Retail.

Written by Daria Oborina
Daria leads the Supply Chain, logistics and RFID practice at Gillespie Manners, overseeing her team of consultants in the delivery of senior and c-level roles across the UK, EMEA, US & APAC regions.

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