Looking for Work? 5 “Must Haves” on Your LinkedIn Profile

Many people looking for work tend to overlook their LinkedIn profile which is a huge mistake as more and more employers are making LinkedIn their primary resource for looking for employees.  Unfortunately, many people don’t think about their LinkedIn profile until it’s time to look for a job.  This too is another costly mistake.  If you are new to LinkedIn, there are countless articles on how to craft an eye-catching profile that will get results.

This article assumes that you have already created your LinkedIn profile and you already have invited a sufficient amount of people into your network.  (I recommend having at least 500).  If you are actively looking for work, here are 5 tips that will help increase your odds at getting employers and recruiters to find and notice you.

Have a Good Profile Picture

A good profile picture is a must have.  It convey’s your personality.  According to Catherine Fisher, a career expert at LinkedIn, “You’re 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo.”  Your face must be included in the photo.  Do not use a group photo or an outdoors picture of you standing on top of a mountain.  Your face should take up at least 60% of the photo and you should wear what you normally wear in the office.

Make Sure You Can be Contacted

Most people would never leave off contact information from their resume.  The same should be true for your LinkedIn profile.  If you want to employers and recruiters to contact you, make it easy for them.  Having contact information on your profile is probably the most overlooked item.  LinkedIn allows two methods to post your contact information.

  1. Under Contact Info:  You can post your email, Instant Message address, Phone number and address.  This can only be viewed by people in your first degree network.  You can also add your Twitter and other web site links (such as your company web site, personal blog, etc.) which is viewable by everyone.
  2. Under the Background tab of your profile, there is an “Additional Info” section that allows you to post advice for contacting you.  Include your cell phone and email address.  You can always shut this feature off after you have found work.

I have included a quick “how to” video to add this to your profile.

Include a Real Job Title

A lot of companies have specialty job titles that mean nothing to the outside world.  Avoid using non-descriptive titles such as consultant, advisor, specialist, principal, etc.  Instead, use descriptive job titles that are more familiar.  If your official title was Engineer III, I would ditch and use the more descriptive title like Mechanical Engineer.  If you held a leadership role, include a department in your title.  For example, Vice President or Director sounds nice but they are too vague.  Vice President – Employee Relations or Director, Subsea Control Systems or Chief Engineer (Civil/Structural Group) will increase your visability.

Use a Well Crafted Summary

A summary should be exactly that, a summary, not a 30 page dissertation.  A lot of people go overboard and think that more is better.  I recommend no more than 2 paragraphs.  You may ask, “but how do I summarize a 30 year career in 2 paragraphs?”

You don’t!  Very little of what you did 30 years ago is relevant to your job search today.  A summary should only reflect on the job you are searching for.

According to Social Branding Consultant William Arruda, “Your LinkedIn summary is quickly becoming your most important tool for advancing your career and marketing your skills.”

In addition to your career summary, include your area of “Specialties”.  Think of this area as “tags” or “key words” that will help hiring managers and recruiters find you.  Don’t make this list too long (no more than 20 key words/phrases).  If you want to get noticed, think about key words that employers might typically use to find someone with your area of expertise.  Avoid adjectives in this section such as expert, guru, leader and instead use industry specific terms that are typically found on a job post.  This may include software or CAD packages, programming languages, professional licenses, products designed, industry codes, etc.  For an example of how this might look on a profile, take a look at mine (and while you’re visiting my profile, send me an invite to connect.)

Include Your Industry and Location

Make sure that your public profile includes the primary industry and location that you live and work in.  Again, this may seem obvious but many people fail to update this area when they move or change jobs.  To add or update your industry settings, go to your LinkedIn profile settings by clicking on your profile picture in the upper right hand corner of your profile page.  Click on the “Manage” link under “Privacy & Settings” and then click on the “Edit your name, location & industry” link.  Here, you can make sure your zip code, location name are up to date.

Tim Cook is the founder and president of PathFinder Staffing, an oil and gas recruiting agency located in Houston, Texas. For more information on our job search and Recruiting solutions, visit our company website at or call one of our Recruiters at 281-858-7325.


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  • 26 Dec, 2015
  • Tim Cook
  • Job Search, LinkedIn,

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