So you’ve decided to join the other 225 million users worldwide that are utilising LinkedIn and create a profile.  You know it’s a great job search tool and according to the recent Kelly Services Global Index survey you’re not alone.  New Zealanders are increasingly using social media sites to look for work, with 40% saying they’ve been contacted about a potential job opportunity via a social media site.  But what do you need to do to be sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, optimised and easily found by prospective employers during recruitment searches? Here are eight must do’s!


Upload a photo

Having a professional headshot is critical.  Not only does it contribute to your profile’s overall completeness but there are recruiters out there who won’t click on your profile if you don’t have one.  Now that may seem a bit short-sighted but it’s a reality so make sure you include one.

Write your own headline You have 120 characters to play with here so make it meaningful.  Don’t simply let LinkedIn automatically populate this with your current job title.  Think about who your target audience is and what they care about most when recruiting someone with your skills.  Whatever those skills or key words might be - include them in your headline.  They’re the words employers will be searching on to find people like you so make them count.

Complete the Summary

The summary is one of the most important parts of the profile yet one of the most underutilised.  If a potential employer has got this far by clicking on your profile, then you’ll want to be sure to give them what they’re looking for.  This is your chance to demonstrate what makes you different and how you can bring value to an organisation. Again key words are important.  The more you use relevant keywords in your profile the more likely your profile will be found during a recruitment search, so it’s also a good idea to create a list of your specialities at the end of the summary.  You’ve got 2000 characters to use but make sure you stick to the facts, write in the first person and try to avoid the clichés if possible.

Include your Employment History

Unlike a CV where you don’t necessarily want to include all your work experience, on LinkedIn you can if you choose to.  Not only will former colleagues have a better chance of finding you if you do, employers might also search for people with experience at particular companies increasing your chance of being found.  Make sure your job titles match your CV to ensure consistency though and above all else remember that LinkedIn is public.  You need to be careful about confidentiality and don’t be tempted to embellish the truth – you’ll more than likely be caught out.

Join Groups

Joining groups is another way to maximise your visibility on LinkedIn.  By actively participating in discussions or by posting a relevant news article to a group you belong to, your profile is more likely to be viewed by others.   Joining groups can provide you with an opportunity to network and raise your profile.

Make Connections

One of the key benefits of LinkedIn is the networking opportunities it presents.  Once you are happy with your written profile you should be making every effort to connect with other people.  The more people you connect with the more likely your profile will come up during a search.  If you’ve identified companies you’d like to work for, connect with people who work there and don’t forget the recruiters either.  If you’re in the market for a new job then finding recruiters who specialise in your industry or profession will be an important part of your job search strategy.  Don’t just send the generic request to connect however; make sure you customise your request to make it more personal and to provide some background as to why you’d like to connect.

Get Recommendations

Recommendations are like an online reference for everyone to see and can add a lot of weight to your profile.  The general rule of thumb seems to be two recommendations for each job.  These take time to get so consider who you could ask and start the process now.

Make your Profile Public

If you’re using LinkedIn to search for a job then you need to make it easy for people to find you so make sure you edit your settings and make your profile public.

Don’t join LinkedIn then do nothing with it. Building up a strong presence will put you ahead of your competition and the more you do in there the more advantages there will be for you during your job search.