The coronavirus pandemic has hit the UK job market hard, with the unemployment rate surging to its highest level in over three years. The unemployment rate grew to 4.5% in the three months to August, with 1.52 million people out of work, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Job searching during these uncertain times can be challenging and frustrating. Management consultant and educational expert David James shares some top tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in the COVID-19 job market.
Make your summary interesting
Rather than list everything you’ve achieved in the past, use your summary to give prospective employers a chance to match your skills to their company. Approach it like a sales pitch and show yourself as interesting and insightful.
The summary must be 2,000 characters or less and James recommends keeping it short and specific, ideally using around 1,000 characters.
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Use keywords but avoid any generic statements that could be applied to anyone. Use words that you want to be connected to in your field. “Be creative and show who you can be as a professional,” says James.
Be up to date
Failing to keep your profile up to date could mean missing out on networking with important connections.
“Be organised and consistent. Even if you feel like nothing has changed in your professional career since lockdown, you can share new side projects or skills you’ve picked up,” James says.
Use the new story feature right
In June LinkedIn brought its new stories feature to the UK. Stories disappear after 24 hours and consist of a 10 second video or photo clips. You can add in text, GIFs, filters and music, making it unique to you.
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Showcasing your career and skills will help you to get noticed and build connections with the right people. You could make a selfie video to talk to describe personal achievements such as starting a hobby.
“Job seeking in the current climate is competitive, stand out by creating a video CV. This method can highlight your enthusiasm and allow your connections to understand your personality. By being relatable, it will encourage and inspire others to do the same,” says James.
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Quality not quantity
Rather than sending connection requests to anyone and everyone, connecting with groups applicable to you and active individuals will bring more traffic to your profile. “Effective networking can position yourself to meet others in your industry, share knowledge and exchange ideas.”
Key word optimise your profile
Optimise your profile with the right keywords, and post and publish articles with keywords too. The job title is a highly indexed field so make sure it’s not too vague and use keyword detail to provide a clear explanation of the job.
The “extra” sections on LinkedIn are great for more detail and keywords, according to James. “Here, keep your wording short and keyword dense. In the awards section, you can add in accolades that begin with your desired job title.”
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“The terms you add into your skills and expertise are included heavily in your searchability when you are endorsed for them. Add keywords and obtain and accept endorsements for maximum results.”
LinkedIn recommendations validate your presence and the skills you have listed on your profile and they help you stand out from the competition.
Ask for recommendations from colleagues who know your work well. “You could remind the person about the specific details, skills and projects you want to be endorsed to help them be concise.”
Monitor your presence
Recruiters and potential employers could Google your name after reading your profile so make sure you keep an eye on what is displayed publicly, and if you find something you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see, explore ways to take it offline.
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Check your privacy settings and ensure you have full control over who sees your posts.
Don’t remove yourself from the online world completely as, “given the digital age, some employers won’t even interview candidates if they can’t find them online,” James says.
“Recruiters aren’t looking for content to disqualify you. Most are looking for evidence to back up your CV, so it’s important your LinkedIn profile is polished and professional to display a good online persona.”