One of my clients is a successful and interesting recruiter. Jay recruits senior executives in the oil industry. He was incredibly adept with the LinkedIn Recruiter platform for his candidate searches but needed help with his personal brand and profile. Jay had a unique personal story and compelling employer brand. He was able to weave together his brand story for his LinkedIn profile.
I have never been a recruiter myself, but I am a life long sales person, and I have had the opportunity to work with many recruiters who happened to participate in my LinkedIn workshops. I also work with job seekers and college students and have helped them connect with recruiters.
It has always surprised me that some recruiters fail to spend time working on their online presence. According to LinkedIn, 76% of candidates want to know about the recruiter before they apply for a position. Looking at the profile is now a two-way street. Recruiters, like candidates, are now developing a personal brand on LinkedIn.
Your brand includes your experience, skills, interests, values, personality, and passions. Enhance your personal brand image by leveraging language and images from your industry, company website, career pages, and social media.
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LinkedIn says you are 14 times likely to have your profile viewed with a photo. I will add to that: Get a good one. The happier you are with your photo, the more likely you are to network. The more powerful and active your network, the easier it is to recruit. Therefore, a great photo indirectly helps you to network and recruit far more effectively.
This is your chance to tell your story and be interesting. Use first person tense. There are a lot of great companies and recruiters out there. You are not all the same. What makes you special or unique? What makes your employer brand different? Consider describing your strategic recruiting goals including types of candidates, function, geography or levels. There are 2000 characters available. I prefer to see one or two paragraphs, followed by a short list of “specialties” and contact information.
Describe the work you do and your accomplishments in your role. Add a brief statement or paragraph about your company. Use the natural language of your industry and you will automatically be using searchable keywords.
In addition to the summary, add your contact information in the “Contact Info” section at the top of your profile. Add email, phone, address, Twitter handle, and website.
Advice for Contacting
Don’t stop with just filling out your contact information. I highly recommend using the special section called “Advice for Contacting.” Advise your reader who you will be willing to connect with on LinkedIn. Mention again the type of candidates you are seeking. Suggest that candidates follow your LinkedIn and Facebook company pages and Twitter feed. Give them exact handle, URL address, phone numbers and email addresses if you wish to be contacted directly.
This is very strategic real estate. Imagine the quick glance you will get by candidates, hiring managers, and coworkers. Make your headline powerful and authentic. Your headline and photo will largely determine the number of profile views you will receive. If you work for a well-known company, I suggest you keep your title and company information in the headline but also consider adding some additional customized information about the value you offer or the functional roles you recruit.
Industry and City
At the top of your profile be sure to select your city and industry. For recruiters, I suggest the larger city geography instead of your small town. So pick “Greater New York City Area” instead of “Smithtown NY” or “Westport CT.” For industry, there is a dropdown with limited choices provided by LinkedIn. You can select “Human Resources” or “Staffing and Recruiting.” In Jay’s case, he decided to pick his specific industry known as “Oil and Energy.”
Look over all the special sections and determine which ones are right for you: Certifications, Courses, Publications, Interests, Volunteering, etc. You may have SHRM certification that would be appropriate to list under Certifications. All of these sections add to your personal brand.
Select the skills that are most strategic for the type of work you are doing. LinkedIn allows you to move them around by dragging, so display the skills in order of priority. Delete those that are not a fit. List your skills to have 13 times more profile views, according to LinkedIn.
Consider a background banner for your profile. This is a relatively new LinkedIn profile feature. If you work for a large company, ask if your employer provides a banner. If not, consider an image that reflects your personal brand or industry. Jay used an image of an oil well as a banner background image.
Consider adding a video or slide presentation if you have a suitable one available. Your career site may have videos to share, or your company may have a YouTube channel or SlideShare account. Why not leverage your company’s marketing or talent spend to make your job easier? Consider creating videos and presentations if you are on your own.
Make sure the written elements in your profile are visually attractive with proper spacing, capitalization, paragraphs, and bullet points. If I see a paragraph that includes 17 lines of straight text, I will skip the whole thing.
In addition to the profile basics described above, the groups you belong to and your online activity will impact your brand. Take the time to develop your personal brand using the LinkedIn profile. It’s also a continuous work in progress. Best of luck. I am quite sure that your updated profile will make it easier to interest and warm up potential candidates.