Online professional networking sites are an increasingly important way for employers to look for and screen potential candidates. By one measure, 84 per cent of employers use social media to recruit candidates who might not apply otherwise, while 52 per cent use it to target candidates with specific sets of skills.
LinkedIn is just one of the tools that can allow you to professionally network, and showcase your skills and experiences to a wide audience. But how can you get noticed?
First, it’s important to understand how LinkedIn operates– and how employers might use it to find you for their position. LinkedIn’s search algorithm works by prioritising profiles containing a high density of the keywords being searched for, a close degree of connection between you and the person searching, and 100 per cent profile completeness. Don’t worry if this all looks like jargon – the implications are relatively simple.
Profile completeness is one of the easiest ways of increasing your visibility. It is also one of the most effective – a profile that is 100 per cent complete is 40 times more likely to show up in a search than one that is 90 per cent complete. To achieve 100 per cent profile completion, you need a summary, a photo, a list of specialities and skills, a minimum of three work experience positions, an education history, and a minimum of 50 connections.
Keywords are words that employers enter when searching for candidates on the networking site, and are how you describe your job position on your profile. These should reflect both your career situation and aspirations; for example “tax consultant” or “quant analyst”. General keywords like this are important, but be specific about any specialist knowledge. For example, your field may be financial compliance, but your specialism might be “anti-money laundering”, and your sub-specialism “monitoring and surveillance”.
Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears on your profile. While a high keyword density increases your visibility, overuse makes you look unprofessional. Maximise the character limit for every section to integrate as many as possible into your profile, without making it unreadable.
The degree of connection between your profile and another indicates how many people you would have to go through to find the other. All of your direct connections are regarded as “first-degree”. Any connections that these people have are regarded as “second-degree” to you, and their connections “third-degree”, and so on. The more closely-connected you are to someone, the more likely you are to show up in their search. The easiest way to build up your visibility, therefore, is to network with lots of people in your industry and add them to your LinkedIn connections.
You can also build up your connections by networking virtually. Joining industry groups is a useful way to meet people, and recruiters sometimes use them to search for candidates. But be selective. Consider joining those that the top men and women in your industry are members of. Once in a group, you can build connections and a reputation by answering questions and fuelling constructive debates.
You should also consider uploading a short video around a minute long, outlining your objectives, what you’re most proud of, and the most challenging thing you have overcome in your career. Candidates that have taken this approach have received a great deal of interest from potential employers and have been more successful in securing their next role.
Finally, obtaining recommendations from contacts is an excellent way of padding out your profile and adding some credibility. You can add to these throughout your career, even when not actively job seeking. But remember that the quality of your recommendations is far more important than the quantity.
Remember, you can use your LinkedIn profile to create a HIJOBS account and apply for positions – find out more and get started now!