Alex Staff Agency

LinkedIn: how to make a profile that recruiters can't ignore

July 2023: Making sure your LinkedIn profile is spot-on is a smart move. Doing it right just once can lead to some excellent job offers!
Based on LinkedIn's statistics, this social media platform has more than 930 million users across 200+ countries in 2023. With over 200 million job openings each month and 8 people getting hired every minute, LinkedIn consistently stands out as the leading social networking site for job seekers.

The IT sector has lots of jobseekers, and recruiters sift through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles every day looking for the perfect fit. To increase the likelihood of job opportunities finding you in such circumstances, it's not just sufficient to possess a profile – you must also ensure that all sections are accurately completed, setting yourself apart from the competition. This is when questions commonly arise about what to write and how to present yourself effectively.
Alena Sultanova, the Lead IT Recruiter at Alex Staff Agency, along with Diana Bolat, a Senior Recruiter, have shared their insights. They talk about the parts of a LinkedIn profile that people notice the most, the traits that make you a better candidate, and the best way to show these qualities to get recruiters' attention.


How does the filled-out page look like?

After you read this guide and follow all our tips, your LinkedIn profile will look like this (click on the images to view the full profile):
Following the "About" section, you'll find the "Activity" block encompassing your publications, posts, reposts, and likes, visible to other network members. Under "Achievements" at the profile's bottom, you can show your projects, accomplished courses, language proficiency, and more. The concluding "Interests" section reveals the accounts you follow and the groups you're part of.


Quality Over Quantity

Some candidates face this issue: even with a complete profile, they don't get relevant job offers. When recruiters do reach out, they often suggest unrelated roles – isn't it frustrating? To prevent this, it's important to improve your page info.

LinkedIn differs from Instagram or Facebook – it's more direct and professional. Recruiters quickly review many profiles, spending only 1-2 minutes per candidate. In that short time, they want to understand who you are, your skills, experience, and how well you fit the job.


Where do the experts look first?

Every field on LinkedIn serves a purpose – none are accidental. However, based on insights from Alex Staff Agency recruiters, the "Header", "Work experience", and "About" sections are particularly crucial.

Headline

In a small text line beneath your name (usually filled with a job title). However, leaving this space empty is a bad idea. To ensure you're not bombarded with irrelevant offers and to attract fitting opportunities, you must refine your professional focus and provide recruiters with more insights.

With a limit of 220 characters, it's wiser to use them for your latest role, company, and essential keywords that identify your specialization (like programming languages, frameworks, etc.). Here are some great headline examples:
The emphasis here is on precise specializations, moving beyond a general "developer" label to specific languages, frameworks, and technologies.
Make sure your header matches your latest role. If you've moved from a Tester to a Python Developer, update it accordingly.
Diana Bolat
Senior Recruiter at Alex Staff Agency
Lieven Buyse from Expert Academy suggests including a "Zing-factor" in your headline. This is a brief, impactful statement that helps you stand out and immediately conveys your value and how you can be useful:
In this example, the user highlights their specialization and adds eye-catching interesting details.
You can also include non-technical aspects. For instance, if you happen to enjoy being in the spotlight and speaking at conferences, consider adding "speaker" at the end.

However, remember that this field is different from status updates on other social platforms. Your header is a tool to catch recruiters' attention and encourage them to explore your profile. Quotes, irrelevant emojis, casual greetings, and unrelated experiences waste precious space and offer no value.
The header from the left profile shows what engine the developer uses. However, it would be better to also add the framework and the programming language. As seen in the right example, a user opted for a very general professional title, "Backend Developer." It would be more effective to add specific details (languages/frameworks, etc.).
Avoid overloading your header with excessive keywords. Quantity only matters if you genuinely have professional expertise in the areas mentioned. For instance, if you're a PHP Backend Developer, it's best to exclude other languages you've studied but don't actively use in your work.
Alena Sultanova
Lead IT Recruiter at Alex Staff Agency
About

This section comes right after the header and usually contains work experience, industries, and skills. This means it covers things you have or haven't mentioned elsewhere (look below for why repeating information can be useful). However, there are tricks that help you stand out:

1) Structure the text. Large chunks of text are harder to read, so try to make it look more reader-friendly. You can do this by using spaces, short sentences, subheadings, and lists.

2) Highlight your strengths smartly. Skip general words like "productive" or "communicative" – everyone uses those. Be specific by sharing achievements like "helped develop an educational B2C project" or "improved web API response rate." Make your profile vibrant with real experiences!

3) Demonstrate your development path. If you work with PHP but aim to specialize in Python, mention it, but only if you're actively moving in that direction and not just sharing your dreams.

4) Provide contact info (phone, email, Viber/WhatsApp, Telegram). This streamlines communication – if you're a match, you'll be contacted directly.

5) Add more details. Including social media (Facebook, Instagram), links to your own promo site, portfolio, and YouTube publications can provide deeper insights. These also validate you as a real person rather than a bot.

Compare these two profiles. The first one shows the facts, the second one doesn't give us anything useful:

Experience

LinkedIn sets basic requirements for this section: "Job title", "Employment type", "Company name", and "Start/end dates". Many people believe fulfilling these fields is enough and often overlook the "Description".

This field doesn’t demand much of you. Simply add a sentence or two outlining your tasks, achievements, or reasons for job changes. Provide particular insights about your current role as it indicates your present skill set.
Frequent job changes might raise concerns, especially for experienced individuals. If you've spent significant time in the industry but your job durations are short, add a comment explaining why. Otherwise, employers might perceive you as an unstable specialist, lacking in soft skills or commitment. Was it beyond your control? For instance, a project was unexpectedly closed. Then write this info down.
Diana Bolat
Remote work experience is important nowadays. If you've done remote work, add it here or in the "About" section. This proves that you know how to organize yourself 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 offers a list of profiles that match the best. This is why you'll need right keywords to be at the top, rather than 100th. So, don't forget to:

  1. Fill in all fields.
  2. Choose skills that most accurately portray your professional work.
  3. Include them in the "Skills" section and as keywords across different parts of your profile (even if it means repeating them). This strategy works in your favor.

The algorithms used for screening pages remain undisclosed by LinkedIn and are consistently changing. Currently, the headline holds weight, but this could change to skills or work experience in the future. Therefore, it's crucial to incorporate keywords throughout your profile to ensure comprehensive coverage.
How to fill in a LinkedIn profile: additional aspects

Photo

Most LinkedIn guides kick off with a photo, and it's indeed attention-grabbing. However, we've chosen not to prioritize it for two main reasons:

1) Drawing from insights shared by our recruiters, candidates are rarely dismissed solely due to their photo. The main thing remains skills. While appearance might hold significance when a company seeks specific roles like a photographer or model, the IT sector predominantly values expertise above all.

2) LinkedIn uses a system of connections. The first level is your contacts, the second is your contacts' contacts, and so on. Recruiters often can't see profiles beyond the second level due to privacy settings. So, they don't focus on photos.

However, having a profile picture is essential. In brief, an ideal avatar photo features a plain background, direct eye contact with the camera, and captures you from the shoulders up. An example is shown below:
Avoid using photos where you're wearing sunglasses, a head covering, looking in a different direction, holding a cat, etc. Here are examples of less effective avatars:
You can use the Photofeeler service to assess your profile picture and receive feedback on three aspects: Competence, Likability, and Influence.
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.
Diana Bolat
Education

Some companies insist on candidates having a degree, especially when it's field-related. Additionally, for work visa purposes in relocation cases, a degree is often necessary.

Our rectuiters recall cases when a strong degree would outweigh weaker skills and experience. This doesn't guarantee you'll be hired, but such candidates have more chances of getting into the pool for review, potentially leading to interviews and test assignments.

On the flip side, some employers focus solely on skills and experience, disregarding degrees. Nonetheless, if you have a degree and don't mention 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 relocation. This means they might still reach out.

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 skills. If 20-30 people confirm them, that's a great advantage.

Recommendations
This block contains feedback about working with you: from colleagues, managers, etc. It is important not so much to recruiters as to hiring managers, especially when they're looking for 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've been doing in your position. The more recommendations you get, the better your profile and the better your chances of getting invited to an interview.


Extra Tips

A job posting is a set of requirements. If a well-filled LinkedIn profile meets them all, it reduces the duration between initial contact and interviews. And while recruiters reach out to you to clarify some things, another candidate may be hired.

If you want to get a steady flow of offers, set your status to Open to Work. To activate it, click on "Open to Work" (below the photo), choose "Finding 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 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 phone 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 other countries.


We've discussed the minimum 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.

We hope we have been helpful to you. If you want more useful tips, try our career counseling. An experienced account manager or Alex Sukhorukov (co-founder of the company) himself will help you fill in your profile, prepare your CV and search for vacancies. Simply submit your request to embark on a career journey with skilled professionals!
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