It is gradually becoming more common for Malaysian employers and recruiters to scout for talents to hire on LinkedIn. We have seen many cases where young professionals were headhunted by recruiters simply because they were able to stand out from the other millions of LinkedIn users across the region.
Some professionals strive to establish themselves as thought leaders in a particular field by actively participating in conversations and contributing to group discussions, while others take the effort to publish self-written articles on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. However, you do not necessarily need to go to that extent in order to be noticed by the employers of your dreams. Sometimes, even a few small improvements in the right area can make a huge difference in leaping you in front of the pack.
While there are many proven ways to distinguish yourself from the talent pool, we have handpicked the 7 most effective tips that can help take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with minimal effort.
1. Focus on Branding Your Professional Headline
Your headline will be the first thing recruiters notice from your LinkedIn profile. This is your opportunity to establish a good first impression and communicate across your personal branding, or in other words, “what you want to be known for” and “what you are most passionate about in your career”.
The common mistake is that most professionals simply describe their current title or corporate designation. While that may be reflective of your current role, it may be more insightful for you to add another attribute to help you stand out. For example, “Finance Executive” can be refined to become “Trilingual Finance Professional – 3 years of experience supporting Directors and other Business Leaders”
LinkedIn provides us 110 characters to craft our headline – make it count!
2. Develop a Holistic and Meaningful Summary
According to LinkedIn’s career expert, Catherine Fisher, your summary section is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on your LinkedIn profile. It’s the place where you can showcase your authentic self and give recruiters an appropriate call to action to differentiate yourself from the rest of the talent pool.
You are going to want to cover your bases and communicate 3 main things in your summary section:
- Who you are (include your field of work, current role description, and expertise)
- What you have done (highlight your top projects or achievements)
- What you can do or what you are looking to accomplish (spell out your passions or how you envision your career in the near future)
3. Strategically Choose and Prioritise Your Endorsed Skills
Managing your skills and endorsements is one of the most important things to ensure you are searchable by recruiters utilising LinkedIn for building their talent pipeline. It is common for professionals to have up to 20+ types of endorsed skills on their LinkedIn profile. While you may think it is good to be endorsed at many skills, it can sometimes backfire as recruiters are unable to figure out what you are truly good at from your profile.
In order to make yourself more searchable and to reinforce how you communicate the story of who you are and what you can do, it is important that you:
- Remove any unrelated or irrelevant skills (e.g. having “Sports Coaching” or “Legal Research” on your list when you looking to build a career in the finance role)
- Research and add skills that are essential for someone in your industry and role
- Reorder the list to ensure the 3 most important skills are at the top and prioritise the remaining skills in a strategic arrangement
4. Ensure You Have a Professional Profile Picture
A LinkedIn research has shown that simply having a clear profile picture with headshot makes LinkedIn profile 14 times more likely to be viewed compared to those without one. Coupled with your professional headline, this will form the first real impression to recruiters and other professionals searching for your profile. As such, it is crucial that your picture used must be clear, professional, and feature only you alone (not with your family or friends – this is not Facebook or Instagram!).
Some rule of thumbs for selecting the ideal LinkedIn profile picture include:
- Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the photo frame
- Keep the photo background simple so you are the focal point
- Exude approachability through a warm and genuine smile
5. Request for Recommendations from People Who Matters
Similarly to how consumers always look at the online reviews before visiting a new restaurant, having a personalised recommendation can go a long way. It may not be common practice in your workplace, but do not be afraid to approach your colleagues, supervisors, or managers to provide a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile – especially if you have been putting in all the extra hours and late night shifts!
Depending on the nature of your employment and career timeline, a good guideline is to aim to have at least one recommendation at every role, project, or company.
6. Create a Customized Profile URL
Instead of having a default profile URL like linkedin.com/in/john-smith-5a8z4b20/, it is much better to have a customized profile URL like linkedin.com/in/john-smith.
Not only does a custom URL portrays a higher degree of professionalism, it also makes it easier for you to share your profile link to people and for them to search you using the URL. You should bear in mind that sometimes there are hundreds of other people who share the same name as you on the network, especially if you have a relatively common name like “John Smith” or “Muhammad Ali”.
7. Add (or Update) Your Contact Information
While this may seem like a no-brainer, you will be surprised to learn how many professionals do not include or update their contact details. If you have not, make sure you have your personal email, phone number (if you feel comfortable), personal blog/website (if you have one), and other relevant social media platforms (such as Twitter, if you actively tweet professionally) listed on your LinkedIn profile. It is worth nothing that as the LinkedIn InMail is only available for Premium users, providing your contact information is useful to ensure anyone can contact you about great opportunities.
Now that you have updated your LinkedIn profile in all the right places, you have taken the first crucial step to positioning yourself well ahead of most of your peers who are relatively inactive on the world’s largest professional network. While it is not necessary to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, an easy way to remain sufficiently active and maintain your visibility is to aim to take one action per day, Monday to Friday. This will gradually build on your efforts to ensure your profile is searchable by your preferred employers based on how you have crafted your personal experience and demonstrate your career aspirations.
Written by: Lucas Khoo
Lucas is the Founding Partner at ProspectsASEAN, a human capital development organisation that is leading the movement to transform the region’s economic and social landscape and aspires to shape the future of Southeast Asia. Prior to ProspectsASEAN, Lucas was a management consultant in Accenture, focusing in the area of Project Management and Talent & Organisation (T&O). He graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham.