If you’re thinking of moving on professionally, LinkedIn can seem like an appealingly simple way to go about it. Simply polish up your online profile, alert would-be recruiters to your availability by updating your settings and leave the internet to work its magic. Ta-da!
Except LinkedIn isn’t a magic wand. Yes, it’s a great platform for would-be candidates to shout about their skills and experience and for recruiters to find them – but it’s vital to use it with caution. A sudden flurry of activity on your account can be a sign that you’re looking to get out: a fact you don’t necessarily want your colleagues to know.
It’s also a grave mistake to assume that recruiters or headhunters are looking solely at your LinkedIn profile. Any executive search agency worth their salt – and certainly one looking for niche talent at the very top of an industry or sector – is going to take a more holistic view of the recruitment process rather than simply sitting down at their laptop and opening up LinkedIn.
So with all of those disclaimers out of the way, we’ll say this: LinkedIn can be an extremely useful weapon in your job-hunting arsenal if you use it judiciously. And so without further ado, here are Red Diamond’s top 5 tips for doing exactly that:
1) Snap happy. “As a rule of thumb, a professional headshot where you look friendly and approachable is hard to beat,” says Director Emma Robinson. “And pictures from nights out, holidays, even weddings – or photos which include your children – are a big no-no. Your photograph is your first chance to make an impression: make sure it’s a good one.”
2) Let’s Be Clear: If your official job title is a little unusual or very specific to the company you work for – think ‘People & Culture Systems’ rather than ‘HR’ – make it more mainstream for the purposes of LinkedIn. “Make sure your title will resonate with corporations and enterprises beyond your own,” says Emma. “If a time-pressured recruiter has to work to decode your label, they might just look elsewhere.”
3) It’s all About you. Use the About section of LinkedIn to sell yourself. “Three to five paragraphs is totally fine,” says Emma, “But make sure you use it as it’s intended: a punchy overview of your professional passions, skills, unique experiences and overall career achievements. Use the first person, avoid meaningless buzzwords and get to the point.”
4) Be present. Following sector news and developments? Post the links to what you’re reading. Got an opinion? Share it. Connecting with colleagues and industry leaders? Comment on their news and updates. Got questions? Ask them, tagging the people you think might be able to answer or want to engage. “Being present makes you more visible, but it’s not as obvious as directly putting it out there that you’re looking for a new job,” says Emma. “Just a couple of shorts posts a week sends out a subtle message to people who might be interested in you.’”
5) Remember: LinkedIn isn’t the be-all and end-all. The crucial thing to know about LinkedIn is that it’s only the beginning or a follow-up to a real professional relationship. It’s no substitute for attending industry and networking events, getting your face seen and talking to people in similar companies or related fields.
“I’ve just attended the Paris Air Show and made several potentially very interesting connections,” says Emma, “Of course, I’ll follow up via LinkedIn, but my first impressions have already been made on the basis of what I saw at the show. LinkedIn is the cherry on top – a chance to find out a bit more and to extend the conversation.”
Looking for your next professional challenge? We’re always open to receiving CVs from talented people: take a look at our Careers pages to find out about our latest roles, give us a call on 0845 643 2615 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org