LinkedIn has become a one-stop-shop for many employers and jobseekers with both relying on the portal to fulfill their work-based needs. With nearly half a billion registered uses and two new members joining every second there is a vast pool of talent there ripe for the recruiter’s picking. So, as a jobseeker, how do you stand out in this extremely crowded field?
On the one hand most professionals will tell you that you need a complete profile to really compete on LinkedIn. This means you have the following:
A professional profile photo
A summary section
A work history that goes back no more than 15 years
At least 4 accomplishment for each job
A completed skills section
A handful of recommendations
Each of these pieces of information are important for their own unique reasons and you should definitely strive to represent yourself as strongly as you can in each of them. However, there is one area that is more important than all the rest and is where you need to put the most focus.
Let’s say you are a project manager. You have a complete profile with a lot of industry related keywords in your branding statement, summary and skills section, so when someone searches for “project managers” your profile shows up on the first page. Great, right? Yes, but this is only the first step in the competition to get profile views.
When our hypothetical recruiter is looking at the search results page all she sees are the profile pictures and the profile headlines. This then is your most important line on LinkedIn. You need to be sure your branding statement is dynamic enough to make the searcher click through to your actual profile page. Many jobseekers simply use the default setting which lists their most recent job title. Hopefully now you can see why that is not the best strategy. You want a line that conveys who you are and what you can deliver.
So let’s assume you pass through this first gauntlet. What’s next?
Now our recruiter is looking at your abbreviated profile page. This means she can see the first two lines in your summary right under your branding statement. In order to see the entirety of your summary and profile she’ll need to click through. This means those first two lines are the next most important lines in your profile. I’m sure at this point you can guess where this is going. Those two lines need to build on what your headline has already claimed about you. More about you and your strongest skills as a project manager. If you can hook them with those first two lines then your full profile finally has a shot to shine.
So by all means spend a lot of time getting all the parts of your profile right. But spend the most time on those all important three lines- the headline branding statement and the first two lines of your profile. Think of them as the hook and sinker of your profile as you fish for recruiter’s views.