LinkedIn currently has more than 25 million members in the MENA region, including Lebanon, and over 1.000 local companies are directly using its platform to outsource candidates, according to its regional head office in Dubai, contacted by Zabetne la Zabtak. Not to mention recruiters radomly landing on candidates’ profiles by googling their names.
Thus learning how to take good advantage of this professional social network is a must. Here are five steps – devised from recommendations from the company – to build an efficient profile and get noticed.
Make a good first impression with the “introduction card”
The introduction card includes, among other things, a profile picture and a caption called “headline”. Those will be the first things the recruiter sees, after typing your name in LinkedIn’s search bar. From here, he will decide whether to click or not on your profile. So take a bit of time to chose them.
Your headline can either be the name of your university, your current work position or the kind of job you’re looking for. Use a specific title rather than a generic one. For instance, prefer “Digital content writer and social media manager at Zabetne la Zabtak” over a too evasive “Blogger at Zabetne la Zabtak”. If you’re a student, write down the name of your bachelor/master.
Then, add a profile picture. According to Marwan Zeineddine (a former AUB graduate), in charge of key accounts and emerging markets for LinkedIn MENA’s Talent Solutions division, “members with a professional profile photo receive up to 21 times more profile views, up to 36 times more messages and up to 9 times more connection requests”.
A picture, yes, but a professional one
Small aside… Photos at the beach with your sunglasses and at the wedding of the cousin after cropping the rest of the family are a no-go. “The lack of a picture or the use of a non-professional photo” is the first mistake made by candidates on the platform, warns Marwan Zeineddine.
Use all available tools to describe your past experiences
Then, continue by filling the bulk of your profile: your “Experience” and “Education” fields. Adding your current work position can bring you up to 8 times more profile views, according to LinkedIn. And if you’re just looking for an internship, adding your current education can help you getting 17 times more messages from recruiters.
For both of them, without being too talkative, use the available tools. Make sure you are linked to your company and university page on LinkedIn. If you did this correctly, a logo should appear next to your experience.
Use the “description” section to list your responsibilities and achievements using keywords, in order that your profile gets caught by LinkedIn’s search engine.
Don’t be too greedy on skills
Out of generosity, LinkedIn allows you to select up to 50 skills that will reflect what you learned during your studies and first jobs, or the abilities you are willing to improve in your near future job. You could be tempted to use them all. But don’t fall in that trap !
Endorsements are another parameter to take into account. The more recommendations you get from first-degree relationships for a specific skill, the higher you rank in the search engine for that specific skill. Thus, to avoid diluting endorsements, limit yourself to 5 to 10 relevant skills.
Last but not least, remember that only the first three skills will appear automatically on your profile. So put them in the right order.
It’s a social NETWORK, so don’t forget to… network
You’ve added new contacts, great. But don’t forget to nurture these virtual relationships. One way to network is simply through being an active user, by sharing and commenting content on a regular basis. Please make sure the material you post or share is professionally relevant.
Eventually, learn how to leverage those contacts. Some candidates “don’t use their connections properly by requesting warm introductions to hiring managers”, regrets Marwan Zeineddine. “Relationships are very important as this will help the candidate to get his/her foot in the door”.
If you’re more of a real-life networking person, don’t forget to check out our “In the news” section featuring events happening weekly in Lebanon !