6 Things Every Candidate Could Add to Their Profile Now
Like all of us at SkyWater Search Partners, I get a lot of questions from candidates about their LinkedIn profile. What works? What doesn’t? How can you get the most out of your profile? In my recent conversation with Ben Lehmann, Director of Sales Recruiting at SkyWater Search Partners, we talked about makes a profile really stand out, especially for sales leaders.
Here are the 6 most important – but often misused – profile sections, along with our tips for improving them.
Add a recent profile picture
It may sound silly but adding your picture is a really important part of creating a memorable profile. Without it, your profile is just a list of words – no matter how well you’ve written them. But with a photo, employers and recruiters are able to connect a face with a name, forming a positive first impression of you. You’ll need one that’s up-to-date and high quality. If you’re going the selfie route (an entirely reasonable approach), there are plenty of tips you can find online but at the very least, follow these 3 rules:
- Dress and groom the way you would for the job interview.
- Use natural lighting if at all possible.
- Follow the “rule of thirds” (your eyes should be about 1/3 down from the top of the picture).
Add clubs, associations, and volunteer work
I don’t know why we don’t see this more often, but sharing this information is incredibly helpful. The organizations you join are a reflection of who you are and how you invest your abilities, priorities, and time. It can also serve as a wonderful ice breaker and bridge builder when a hiring manager sees that you’re involved in a professional organization.
A quick reminder: there is a difference between these kinds of affiliations versus talking about your personal, leisure time activities. Keep in mind, hiring managers and recruiters are trying to quickly scan your professional profile. Things like hobbies or personal interests are usually more of a distraction, taking up precious profile real estate.
Include continued education & certifications
We’ll often see the 4-year degree or master’s noted but too many candidates neglect to add the certifications or other achievements they’ve racked up through continuing education. We want to see those because they can be big differentiators, demonstrating commitment to your career growth and specific achievements you’ve earned.
Fill in the description fields for each position
Don't skip these. We’re looking at these fields to get an idea of the specific experiences you’ve had, the skills you used, and the abilities you developed. When you leave them blank, we take away two negative messages: your job experiences and growth weren’t worth writing about and/or you couldn’t be bothered to write them. That said, please also be strategic about the details you place there. Under the title and name of the company you worked for, I’m looking for you to flesh out your experience. In just 2-3 bullet points, tell us a little bit about the company and specifically, your area of focus while there and where you excelled or grew. For positions within large companies, include the name of the division where you worked.
Describe your industry or the type of customer you work with
The LinkedIn profile is where you can help the hiring manager get an idea of where – and with whom – you do your best work. This is especially important for sales people. If you have built up expertise and technical knowledge in a particular industry, we really want to know that. If, conversely, you’re not married to a particular industry – but you excel with a certain type of buyer role or market segment, describe those and your successes with them.
Highlight whether your sales position was focused on B2C or B2B
If you’re in sales, you already know this (but you’d be surprised how many sales people don’t share it on their profiles): business to consumer (B2C) sales positions draw on a different set of skills than business to business (B2B). If you’ve done both, great, but do highlight which kind of selling you were doing in each position.
Adding these 6 components will instantly place you above most of your peers
If your profile is missing some of these pieces, you’re in good company. Not that long ago, the LinkedIn profile was seen as more of an ancillary tool for job seekers. So, unfortunately, a lot of candidates haven’t figured out how to take full advantage of their profile. Today, your presence and profile on LinkedIn are just as important – if not more important – than your resume. So invest the time to add these elements and get yourself noticed.
If you haven't already connected with SkyWater Search Partners on LinkedIn, do so right now. Our firm regularly posts tips for putting your best foot forward on the platform.