LinkedIn basics

When I conduct an executive search assignment for a client one of the first places I look for passive candidates is LinkedIn. Unfortunately some of the profiles I view create a bad first impression or haven’t been optimised to ensure a high ranking in search results.

Here are some quick tips on how to ensure your profile has the basics covered:


– Sign up for an account and put information in your profile. Reid Hoffman, Co- Founder of says you should be able to fill in this sentence on your profile: “Because of my [skill/experience/strength], I can do [type of professional work] better than [specific types of other professionals in my industry].”

– Optimize your profile through choice of keywords. Choose your job title carefully. LinkedIn prefers you have a four word phrase because their search engine looks for the first four words.

– Have a professional looking photo that is properly sized. Don’t use a logo or product shot. People make split second judgements on a picture; ensure nice grooming and a polished image of your best self.

– Make connections and start growing your network of contacts.

– Personalize your Web Links.

– Utilize a private email address on your resume and online profiles. Do not take the risk of using a work email address when communicating with recruiters or potential employers. It’s easy to sign up for a free internet based email address (Yahoo! Microsoft Live, Gmail).

– Ask for recommendations and give recommendations.

– Join groups. At the start of a search I will join relevant groups and start connecting with people. That way if you share a group with someone you don’t need to know their email address to send them a connection request.

– Upload presentations (that aren’t commercial or in confidence) that you have to Slide Share.

– Upload any relevant videos you appear in to YouTube. Be sure to have someone check it to make sure it is putting forward your best impression.

– Communicate your positive messages about your achievements and your career.

– Update your status at least once a week.

– Tweak and refine you keywords until you get to the first page of the search for your job category.

– Check your privacy settings on all your social media profiles. If you don’t want recruiters to see your Facebook information, for instance, be sure to set your settings so that your profile is private to only your friends. Privacy is a trade-off. If you give up some privacy limitation you will also gain some functionality on the platforms. Determine your own level of comfort around privacy and be careful what you put on the web, things can never be fully deleted from the web once they are there.

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