LinkedIn has revolutionized the way recruiters and hiring managers are able to interact with IT consultants. The Clash may have been talking about a relationship dilemma in their hit song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” but with so many profiles on LinkedIn and limited time to look through them, IT recruiters can’t help but ask themselves that question in the first few seconds of viewing a LinkedIn profile. While this has ultimately been a positive change for all parties, the expectations that come along with an online presence can lead recruiters to feeling that an otherwise qualified IT pro will be “double trouble”. The ESP IT recruiting team is here to “let you know” what you can do with your photo and summary to make them “stay” on your page and consider you a viable candidate for your dream IT gig.
Show, Don’t Tell: Your Profile Photo Matters
“If I don’t see a picture, it’s a red flag.”
ESP IT Recruiters are all in agreement when it comes to the importance of your LinkedIn photo. It’s a necessity, and the photo should be a good one.
1. First Things First: HAVE a Photo.
In fact, photos are so important to recruiters that the absence of one may automatically disqualify you for a great position. But why does such a small detail make a large impact on recruiters? When a potential consultant does not include a photo, it tells the recruiter that there is a reason the consultant does not want to market him or herself.
“No picture makes me pass a profile up because I don’t get an idea of who they are. A picture can showcase the type of energy a potential consultant or employee will bring to a gig.”
2. Market Yourself as a Professional
Merely having a photo is not enough. A picture that makes you look like a professional is key.
“Unprofessional photographs make me wonder about the quality of work a consultant will put forth.”
While these photos do not need to be professionally taken, you need to dress and pose for your LinkedIn profile photo as you would for a job interview. If you have any doubts about a photo’s professionalism, play it safe and take another.
Your Summary is As Important As a Well-Drafted Cover Letter
“Your summary tells recruiters what they can expect from you as a potential consultant.”
Including a brief explanation about what excites you about IT, where you have been in your career, and what your professional ambitions are, will tell a recruiter who you are as an employee.
1. Share What Makes You Unique
“It usually leads to a warmer initial conversation if we know a bit about them.”
Think of using your summary to showcase your personality in terms of your “Tell Me About Yourself” opener to an interview. This is a great opportunity to include information about yourself that may otherwise not come across to a recruiter. Including a short narrative of your non-IT life, passions, and hobbies (without divulging your life story) will make you stand out, and allows recruiters to get a better sense of who you are when they are first reaching out.
2. Use Your Summary to Get Found and Contacted
In addition to showcasing your personality, this opening section of your profile is an opportunity to use key-words that recruiters will look for when hoping to fill a gig.
“If you include ‘available’ or ‘seeking’ in your summary, it helps us find you and we know that you are interested in a new role.”
Furthermore, a summary provides you with the opportunity to address anything abnormal about your work history, including the reason for gaps in employment. Adding such information will show a recruiter that you are a proactive candidate, and put you at the top of their list.
No matter what kind of IT contract or direct hire position a recruiter may be looking to fill, it’s safe to assume that the rules you follow when constructing your printed resume or cover letter all apply to your LinkedIn profile. As much as you might want to embrace being “exactly who you’re supposed to be,” straying from professionalism on LinkedIn is going to make recruiters “go now” away from your page. Just remember: unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is designed to be a strictly professional social media platform. Create your presence on it accordingly, and you’ll be catching a recruiter’s interest in no time.
Read more from this series:
Your Work History on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations
Stay tuned for the final blog in this three part series for additional ideas to best maximize the LinkedIn opportunity to market yourself as the IT pro that you are.