LinkedIn has new features for creative people: Display artwork, show portfolios in your profile.
LinkedIn’s new capacity to easily display images and portfolio projects throughout your profile should be taken advantage of. Most recruiters will spend about 15 seconds rushing through a profile if there is not work displayed in the profile, and a little longer if there’s portfolio work displayed.
1. Your Picture: If you work in the creative field, you can be a little creative with the picture, but should still be professional. People make a connection if you have a picture– recruiters are more likely to click through. If you do not have a picture, your chances of getting an interview decrease substantially.
2. Your Headline: This is the second thing people look at. “Design Student at CCA.” Okay to be somewhat creative in the creative field, but needs to be professional. This should accurately reflect your current position, and speak to what you’d like to do.
3. Your Location: It is important for this to be updated, so the right people look at your profile.
4. Summary: The third thing people look at, after your headline and your picture. Needs to have who you are now, and what you want to do. Keep this concise and to the point. Bullet points can be helpful. You can incorporate visual projects into your summary section, but should only put work in the portfolio that you’re proud of. You can put design inspiration as part of the media you share (TED talks, etc.) The summary is an appropriate place to link your portfolio.
5. Job Descriptions: This is your online resume, so include descriptions similar to what you’d include on your resume. Recommendations are important, and recruiters do read them. Summaries should be to-the-point and real.
6. Skills and Expertise: These endorsements are a new feature, so most recruiters look at this, but it’s not their first stop.
7. Volunteer Experiences and Causes: Especially relevant to include if you don’t have a ton of experience and if your volunteer experience and causes align with what you’d like to pursue.
8. Education: If you’re currently in school, it’s important to include your graduation date for recruiters.
- Be particular with who you connect with, make sure you actually know them. It is better for you to have a clean profile. As a basic screener, you should have had at least a 15 minute conversation with each person you connect with.
- Make sure to include key words for your skills and talents in your summary, skills, and job descriptions so that your name comes up when recruiters are searching large numbers of profiles. The keyword searches go through all portions of your resume.
- You don’t need to include your entire work history on your profile. Assess your professional goals, and how your job history reflects on that.
- You can go into your settings so that your connections are not notified when you update your profile.
- Use LinkedIn to get to know your interviewers before an interview, and do company research before submitting an application and do more before an interview.
- Title should be low on your totem pole of priorities when looking at jobs. It’s far more important to find a company with a mission you believe in, and a culture you love.
LinkedIn is a great platform for basic screening for recruiters, and a great place to have a public professional profile. That said, customizing materials for each job you seek is important, and LinkedIn doesn’t have that capability, nor would it necessarily be appropriate to have multiple profiles for different firm sizes and job focuses. It seems like the best use of LinkedIn is to share enough information that firms can get an idea of your experience, strengths, and general interests, while leaving position-specific information for when you submit a cover letter, specific resume, or discuss in the interview.
It’s true that LinkedIn profiles are becoming more important, and a heavily used tool in recruiting. Some firms and degree programs are only requesting LinkedIn profile urls, in lieu of a traditional resume.
Blog posts/articles about the use of online resumes:
The Death of the Resume (Betts Recruiting)
LinkedIn Analysis (Framework)