Alex Staff Agency
LinkedIn: how to fill in a profile to attract the attention of recruiters
Completing your LinkedIn profile correctly is a smart move. Do it right once and get great offers for professional and salary growth.
According to statistics from LinkedIn, in 2022 there will be 800 million members in more than 200 countries. There are 200+ million job openings per month, with four people hired every minute. Take any ranking of top social networking sites for job searching: LinkedIn consistently tops the list.

There are a lot of candidates from the IT field. Recruiters look through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles looking for the perfect fit. In order for a job to find you on its own, you not only need to have a profile, but also to fill out all the fields correctly, and to stand out from the competition. This is where the questions often arise. What should I write and how?
Diana Bolat, Head of Recruitment of Alex Staff Agency, and the senior specialist Alena Sultanova shared their experience and told what sections get more attention, what makes a candidate more promising and what is the best way to show them, so that you will definitely be noticed.



How does the filled out page look like

After you read this guide, your LinkedIn profile will look like this (click on the images to view the full profile):
After "About" comes the "Activity" block, i.e. your publications, posts, reposts, likes, etc. They are not displayed to you but are visible to other network members. In the "Achievements" (in the bottom of the profile), you can add finished projects, completed courses, language skills, etc. The last section "Interests" shows you who you follow and which groups you're included in. We will review the rest of the blocks in detail in the article.



Quality over quantity

Some candidates are faced with this problem: even with all the fields filled in, for unknown reasons, they do not get interesting offers. And if there are offers from recruiters, they offer irrelevant jobs, which often annoy developers (and not just them). To avoid this, filter the information on the page.

LinkedIn is not Instagram or Facebook: here everything is more formal and to the point. Recruiters/employers often look at dozens of profiles an hour and can spend 1-2 minutes on a candidate. During this time, they want to quickly understand who you are, what you can do, what experience you have, and how well suited you are for the open position.

Where do the experts look first of all

Each field on LinkedIn is not added by accident; all are important. But according to recruiters at Alex Staff Agency, the key sections are the header, work experience, and About section.

Headline

It is a small text line under the name. As standard, the name of the profession is listed there, but you can't leave it that way. You should narrow down the professional field and give recruiters more information so that you don't get irrelevant and attract relevant offers.

Available max. 220 characters are better spent on the last position, company name and keywords by which you can be found as a specialist (programming language/framework/engine). Here are examples of good headlines:
Narrow specializations are spelled out here: not just an abstract developer who can actually do anything, but a specific language/framework/technology.
It's important that the header coincides with your last job. If you were a tester but have progressed to Python-developer, update the information.
Diana Bolat
Head of Recruitment в Alex Staff Agency
Lieven Buyse of the coaching company Expert Academy also advises adding a so-called Zing-factor to the headline.  This is a short and clear message that allows you to stand out from your competitors and tells you at once how you can be useful:
Here the user has indicated that he works with the Full-stack team and is open to offers.
You can also add something outside of technical knowledge. For example, if you like to speak at conferences, put "speaker" at the very last position.

However, this field should not be mistaken for status on other social networking sites. A header is a tool you can set up to intercept signals from recruiters/employers and show your page for inquiries. Quotes, pointless emojis, good day wishes, out-of-work experiences, etc. take up limited space with no use.
The top page lists the engine in the header, but it would be better to add the programming language as well. The following user wrote an overly broad professional title: backend-developer. You should add some specifics.
It's important not to use too many keywords. More is better only if you are really professionally involved in what you are talking about in the header. If you're a PHP backend developer, don't list other languages that you studied but don't use in your work.
Alena Sultanova
Senior Recruiter в Alex Staff Agency
About

This section comes right after the header and usually contains work experience, industries, and skills. That is, everything you haven't or have already written in other sections (see below for the utility of repetition). But there are tricks that help you stand out:

1) Structure the text. Continuous text is more difficult to read, so make it visually readable (at least with indents, short sentences, subheadings, enumeration, etc.).

2) Highlight your strengths. Tip: No clichés like "productive," "communicative," or any other empty words. These words don't mean anything, because that's what everyone lists. The abstract is boring, so talk about yourself through achievements/experiences. For example, "participated in the development of an educational B2C project", "increased web API response rate".

3) Show the direction of development. If you are a PHP developer but want to become a Python specialist, say so. But only if you're actually taking steps in that direction, not just sharing dreams.

4) Add contact information (phone, email, Viber/WhatsApp, Telegram). This will save time: if you fit all the criteria, you will be contacted directly, not through LinkedIn messages.

5) Specify additional information. Social media (Facebook, Instagram), links to your business card site, portfolio, your publications on YouTube say a lot about you, and also prove that you are a real person, not a bot.

Compare these two profiles. The first one shows the facts, the second one doesn't give us anything useful:
Experience
LinkedIn has minimum requirements for this section: job title, type of employment, company name, start/end date. Many people think the required fields are sufficient and rarely go all the way down to the "Description" field.

It doesn't take much. Add a sentence or two: what exactly have you done/what have you accomplished/why have you decided to change jobs. Be especially detailed about what you have been doing in your current position, as this reflects what skills you are practicing right now.
Frequent job changes can arouse suspicion (except for young professionals). If you have been in the field for a long time and do not stay with the company for more than a few months, add a comment. Otherwise, employers will think that you're an unreliable specialist, you have problems with soft skills, you don't take your job seriously, etc. And in fact, the circumstances were not dependent on you. For example, the project was unexpectedly closed, etc.
Diana Bolat
Recently, remote work experience has been valued. If you have worked in this way, add it here or in the About section. This proves that you know how to organize your workflow from home.
Alena Sultanova
The importance of keywords
You can probably imagine how recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn: they type in keywords. The platform processes them and gives you a list with the profiles with the best matches. That's what you should do to be at the top, not at the 100th position:

  1. Fill in all fields.
  2. Select the skills that best describe your professional activities.
  3. Add them to the Featured skills section, and use them as keywords in different sections of the page (it's okay if you duplicated the information somewhere, it's only good for you).
No one knows what algorithms are used to screen pages. What is known is that they are constantly changing. Today LinkedIn prioritizes the headline, in a month it will prioritize skills or work experience. So you have to make sure you include keywords everywhere.



How to fill in a LinkedIn profile: additional aspects

Photo

Any LinkedIn design guide starts with a photo. Yes, it's eye-catching. But we didn't give it first place for two reasons:

1) Based on the experience of recruiters from Alex Staff Agency, no one ever rejects a candidate just because of a photo, the main thing is skills. Perhaps if a company is looking for a great photographer/model, etc., appearance may play a key role. But in IT, skills are valued the most.

2) LinkedIn has a system of degrees. The 1st is your contacts, the 2nd is your contacts' friends, etc. Sometimes recruiters don't see those on the 3rd and beyond because of user settings, so they don't rely on photos.

But you can't leave your profile without a face. In short, the ideal picture avatar is a neutral background, looking into the camera and a photo above your shoulders. For example, like this:
Don't post a photo where you're wearing sunglasses, wearing a headdress, looking away, holding a cat, etc. Here are the ineffective photo avatars:
The Photofeeler service allows you to rate your profile avatar and get feedback on the Competent, Likeable, and Influential criteria.
Alena Sultanova
Behind the photo, there is an area called the background. This is usually the standard gray/blue, but you can add any picture you like. Add your company logo/ caption/image to make the profile stand out. The example is below.
Diana Bolat
Education

There are companies that fundamentally do not accept candidates without a degree. Such employers are especially fond of field-specific education. Also, in the case of relocation, a degree is often needed to obtain a work visa. There were cases in the history of Alex Staff Agency when the existence of a top university degree beat out the poorly written skills and experience. This does not mean that such a candidate will be 100% taken without an interview and a test assignment. But he will definitely get into the pool for a review.

And there are employers who do not require a degree and only look at skills and experience. Anyway, if you have it and don't specify it, it's a mistake.

Foreign languages

If you speak a foreign language, be sure to mention it. Even if you have basic knowledge. Yes, it will not be enough for a foreign company. But some employers take into account that the candidate can improve the language before the relocation. So they can still text you, because technical knowledge is still a priority.

Featured skills
This section is at the bottom of the page. It's not enough to just select a skill from the list. Ask your colleagues to help you fill in your LinkedIn profile, just by confirming your skill. If 20-30 people confirm that you really have this skill, that's a great advantage.

Recommendations
This block contains feedback about working with you: from colleagues, managers, etc. This section is important not so much to recruiters as to hiring managers. This section is of particular importance when hiring a specialist for a responsible position: team leaders, department directors, business developers, IT sales managers, etc. The opinion of your colleagues becomes one of the first ways to find out how well you are doing in your position. The more recommendations you get, the better your profile and the better your chances of getting invited to an interview.



Little Tips

A job posting is a set of requirements. If a well-filled LinkedIn profile answers all the questions, it shortens the time from first contact to interview. And while you're being asked more questions, another candidate may be hired.

If you want to get steady offers, set your status to Open to Work. To activate it, click on Add profile section (below the photo), click on Looking for a new job in the dropdown box, and specify your preferences (position, job format, etc.).  A green bar will appear next to your photo avatar, which will attract the recruiter's attention:
LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to make a profile in a foreign language. You won't have to create 2 separate pages: both will be linked to your number, email, etc. If you change something in one, the system will offer to correct the other as well. This is convenient and useful if you are considering employment in Europe, the USA, Asia, etc.

We've discussed the minimums for a competent LinkedIn profile. Make it noticeable and informative so you can attract employers/recruiters and get interesting offers without any effort on your part.

I hope we have been helpful to you. If you want more useful tips, try Alex Staff Agency's career advice. Depending on the price, an experienced account manager or Alex Sukhorukov (co-founder of the company) himself will tell you how to fill in your profile, prepare your CV and search for vacancies. Leave your request and start to build your career with professionals!
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