LinkedIn: the expert view on what makes the perfect profile

Ingrid Smejkal joins Rin Hamburgh & Co Copywriting Agency as Sales and Marketing Assistant

If you’re looking for your next career move then polishing your LinkedIn profile should be high on your to do list. With over 25M registered members in the UK alone, it’s the best place to be seen online by potential employers.

But what makes a good LinkedIn profile? We asked three experts - a recruitment professional, an HR professional and a business owner - what would attract them to someone’s profile, and what would put them right off.

The recruiter: Kate Hooper, Element Recruitment

LinkedIn is a very important element of our business; it allows us to connect with like-minded people as well as network in a professional way and connect with people you wouldn’t necessarily come across every day. You can tell a lot about a person from the way they write their posts and it’s great to get insight into the differing personalities we deal with.

When looking for a candidate, it’s always insightful to see the way they interact with their network and that they know their market. I like seeing relevant content being posted and being able to share content and actively engage makes working with LinkedIn more effective.

They say you only have one chance to make an impression so the summary is obviously very important. Be professional, document your skills clearly - bullet points can help make important points stand out - and remember to check that your spelling, punctuation and grammar are all accurate. And don’t forget that all important profile picture – professional and friendly.

As a business, we are always wanting to offer new and challenging opportunities to potential candidates who we actively find on LinkedIn, so we will use this platform to approach people if it seems like they’re right for a job we are currently recruiting for. If you’re open to being contacted, it can be worth putting this on your profile. Likewise, we love nothing more than hearing from new connections through LinkedIn, whether it be a potential client or candidate, or if you are just looking for advice.

We like to think of LinkedIn as an additional platform where we can network and discuss business related activity.  Element Recruitment are always open to networking or hearing from anyone seeking advice on how to make their profile more attractive to potential opportunities.

The HR professional: Katie Dominy, Soil Association Charity

If anyone applies for a job at the Soil Association Charity and they indicate that they’ve got a LinkedIn profile then I’ll definitely look at it. I am mindful that people can see whether you’ve looked at their profile though and although it is a professional networking space, I do feel that there needs to be a level of invitation. So if you want someone to look at your profile then make that clear in your application or covering letter.

What I’m looking for in a LinkedIn profile is things like the kinds of roles they’ve been doing but also how involved they are - what communities or networks are they involved in, are they interacting and commenting? Especially for the more senior roles, it moves you from “I like what I do” to “I’m passionate about what I do”.

The extra bits are important too, those things that tell me a bit more about who you are - things like education, extra qualifications, awards, charities you’re involved in or hobbies. For example, I’ve put on mine that I’m a school governor. It’s the character aspects that help build a picture of you as a more rounded person.

What would put me off is someone who just had a static profile which just existed with no interaction. If there’s nothing bringing a profile to life then what’s the point of it being there? If you’re not using that opening summary section to sell yourself then you’re not maximising the way you can use LinkedIn as a platform.

The business owner: Lidia Drzewiecka, Visuable

I’ve hired three people in the last month and in every case I looked at their LinkedIn profile. The first thing I notice is the photograph. We’re a personal branding company so we wouldn’t hire anyone that didn’t look the part - that’s not about what you actually look like, it’s about needing to be able to make a professional impression. On LinkedIn that starts with your photo.

In the summary - and the experience sections too - it’s important to be professional, to say what you can bring to a role and to list tangible achievements. For example when I was hiring for a sales and marketing role, one candidate said in their summary that she had had the top sales figures in her last role and had always beaten her targets. That was very relevant for me. And education too - she had a degree in marketing, so that was also important.

I do look at job history but overall I believe it’s more about personality and vibe rather than the jobs they’ve done. I’ve always hired fresh talent - graduates - because I believe people with the right attitude can learn on the job. There are so many other ways people can show you what they’re capable of, extra activities they’ve done outside of work or studies, for example - anything that shows them as a whole person. Doing things that are outside of what you’ve just been paid to do show that you are proactive and engaged. You need to think about what you can bring to a role and that isn’t always direct experience.

Getting help with your LinkedIn profile

Of course, it’s all very well knowing what you should include in your LinkedIn profile but writing it is quite another matter, especially the summary section. Talking about yourself is tricky, especially when you want to highlight your skills without sounding like you’re bragging.

That’s why you might want to consider using a professional service like ours. Tim Leaman, school business leader at Beacon Rise Primary School, recently had his summary updated.

“When I saw an advert on social media for a LinkedIn profile writing service, I was skeptical,” he admits. “To be honest I thought, ‘What is the point of that? What on earth could anyone do to improve a LinkedIn profile?’

“Then I read one that Rin Hamburgh & Co had re-written for someone else and I compared it to my own. Suddenly mine seemed tired, dry and dated; the re-written one was slick and professional - and really highlighted the key skills of the person in question while also being genuinely interesting to read. So, I decided to take the plunge and have mine done.

“The result is fantastic. Somehow with the same set of core facts, what was a rather dull online CV is now an entertaining and appealing summary of my achievements. It reads so well it makes me wonder, ‘Is that really me?!’ Thank you Rin Hamburgh & Co for proving me wrong. I thought what I had written was perfectly fine but now I have something of a much higher calibre.”

If you need help getting your LinkedIn profile into shape - whether you’re looking for a job, wanting to step up your networking or promoting your business - get in touch to see how we can help.