LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts for Job Seekers

Thanks to the fast-paced nature of the digital world, the recruitment process is hugely different from how it was even five years ago. First impressions are now typically made long before a first meeting and while you might explore a company’s website and social media pages before applying for a job, they are just as likely to rely on your own online presence to gauge whether you’d be a suitable candidate. And with almost 90% of recruiters regularly using LinkedIn, this is undoubtedly the place a jobseeker will make a first impression.

Though the professional social network is the perfect way for employers to track down promising talent, you have over 500 million members to compete with. And since they only have to spend a few seconds judging your profile before making a decision, it has to stand out from the crowd. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do if you want to impress.


Tailor your profile to the job you want

A LinkedIn profile full of vague claims and job role descriptions will be unlikely to capture anyone’s attention. Instead of creating a generic profile geared towards no particular job, think carefully about the role you’d like, and use your page to reflect that.

There are plenty of lazy and boring LinkedIn buzzwords sure to turn off potential employers, such as “expert” and “results-driven”. It’s much more effective to include specific terms you can back up with examples where you’ve proven yourself. Even if you are qualified to do several different jobs, picking one set of job titles to focus on will help you tailor everything to the relevant specifications. That way, your profile will be far more likely to tick all the boxes and attract interest.

Leave recommendations

A well-written recommendation from a former boss, colleague or customer is the best means of demonstrating your value as an employee. The best way to obtain one is by leaving a recommendation of your own for someone else. If you’re unsure where to begin, you can use this LinkedIn recommendation generator to help you get started.

It’s especially easy to get recommendations if you’re currently in work. Whenever you accomplish something significant in your role, you could ask your colleague to share this on your LinkedIn profile. Only the most specific recommendations related to particular experiences and skills will really showcase your strengths, so don’t be afraid to remove any sub-par comments.

Show your personality

Though it’s important for your profile to look professional, it’s a good idea to show off your personality in order to make a memorable impression. Sharing your values and passions allows potential employers to get to know you, letting them instantly gauge whether you are someone they’d like to work with.

There are many areas where you can add character on your LinkedIn profile, but a summary section of about three to five short paragraphs is the best place to do start. In addition to highlighting your professional background and abilities, you can also emphasise your interests and talents, as well as what you outside of the nine-to-five. A personal touch will make this a far more interesting and engaging read, and help persuade recruiters and employers to scan the rest of your LinkedIn profile.

Customise your profile

Always try to make your profile as unique to you as possible. As you’re not bound by text alone, feel free to incorporate useful, eye-catching multimedia content wherever relevant. Proving your credentials via photos, videos, webpages, podcasts, or even slideshow presentations will probably be far more effective than a wordy description. Multimedia examples may also provide solid evidence of your creative and technical skills.

You should also customise your LinkedIn profile URL for a crisp combination you can use to help publicise your page. A neat and snappy URL can be added to business cards, your email signature, and your CV.


Forget to add a profile photo

Objectively speaking, your photo should be the least important part of your profile. After all, it’s unlikely that your looks will be a determining factor in future hiring processes. However, not including an image could look lazy and careless, and potential employers or recruiters may bypass your LinkedIn page as a result. In fact, you’re 36 times less likely to receive a message.

As well as humanising your profile, and making you instantly recognisable to recruiters, a picture also lets you represent yourself in the way you wish to be seen. There are plenty of tips for taking the perfect LinkedIn photo, but the simplest advice is to choose an image that is clear, friendly, and professional. You could take inspiration from the photos of other LinkedIn users employed in your target job or working in the sector you’re hoping to break into. This is particularly important for client facing roles such as Marketing Account Manager positions if you can’t present yourself effectively on LinkedIn, how will you fare in front of clients?,

Neglect making connections

Though LinkedIn is a great place to locate job ads and research potential employers, you want them to be able to find you too. And the only way to make yourself visible is by accumulating connections like former colleagues, family members, and friends. The more connections you have, the more likely it is your profile will appear when recruiters conduct a search on the user database.

The number of connections you have could also affect how you’re perceived by other users. While you don’t need to have hundreds, too few could suggest that you either have few real-world contacts, are reluctant to reach out to people you know, or haven’t got to grips with the platform. To avoid this, try to connect with at least 50-60 people. However, it’s best to stick to people you know, as LinkedIn can restrict your account if your connection requests are too frequently rejected.

Clutter the skills section

The skills section of your LinkedIn profile tells employers what you’re best at and what you most enjoy doing. You can show off even more by racking up endorsements from your connections, though it’s important you manage them carefully. Rather than having a haphazard list, make sure you continuously add and drop skills as your career develops. Your profile should only demonstrate those most relevant to the position you’re interested in.

You can still keep your skills section succinct without underselling yourself. Simply pepper your best qualities throughout the rest of your profile instead. Including figures, statistics, and case studies wherever possible will go some way towards supporting your accomplishments. You can also market yourself as a high achiever by mentioning any particular promotions or projects you’ve excelled in.

Leave your profile incomplete

Without the confines of a CV, it’s easy to go overboard and overwhelm your potential employers with too much detail. Similarly, you shouldn’t leave your profile looking empty and incomplete. Even if you don’t think one particular section is necessary or relevant to the job you’re looking for, fleshing everything out ensures that anyone who comes across your profile will have all the information they expect or require to judge your value as a possible employee.

Users with complete profiles are also 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities through the platform. LinkedIn helpfully measures how substantial yours is as you update it, offering suggestions on improvements you can make.

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