There are basically two avenues of contact between you and a recruiter on LinkedIn: your own profile and their own inbox. You can reach out to a recruiter directly about a position you are interested in. This is very proactive and demonstrates confidence and initiative.

However, it’s also tricky. Recruiters get a lot of applications on the daily and yours is likely to get buried. You have to stand out in their inbox, but how? Unless you know the individual recruiter, their tastes, values, etc. you don’t really know what will catch their eye. It’s always a gamble.

A more sure bet is to invest in an exceptional profile. Make yourself shine on their radar when they go talent hunting. If they see you as a standout candidate from the start, you will have a much easier time maintaining that impression.

Streamline your headline

It might be tempting to use a flowery headline like “communications wizard” or “expert strategist”. Don’t give in to it. These sound interesting to casual browsers, but recruiters want efficiency. They will scan hundreds of prospective talents, typically by corporate rank and specific job title.

Optimize your profile headline to reflect that. Be straightforward and keep it as simple as you can. Narrow it down to your specific role and relative position in the business hierarchy. Some good examples include:

  • Engineering Consultant
  • Senior Developer
  • Vice President of [Department or Function]

Include industry keywords if they fit naturally, but keep the overall phrase short. Remember that recruiters will scan it for just a second or two and move on if it’s unappealing, unclear, or irrelevant.

Distill your summary

The summary section is where you have the freedom to go into detail. The trick is to select the most relevant details. First, write down a brainstorm list of everything that makes you, you. Note your skills, passions, strengths, weaknesses, strong opinions, central values, and important personality traits.

Then boil that down to the essentials that make up your professional identity. Take the most important things you’ve learned about yourself over the course of your career and summarize them into a couple of one-liners: your personal brand statements.

Support these essentials with goals and achievements. Stating your goals shows that you’re passionate about what you do and have a clear direction in mind. Accomplishments demonstrate your skills and give a measurable picture of your work ethic. Pick the ones that highlight your strengths in the specific industry or niche you’re job-hunting in.

Establish a presence

Nobody will notice you on LinkedIn if you’re not actively on LinkedIn. Update your status every once in a while. Share news about your current company and stories about industry developments.

Join groups on topics you’re interested in. Join the conversations. Share useful and interesting articles on topics in your field of expertise - or write your own!

Original content is a powerful way to contribute value. Find something you know a lot about, or are currently learning about, and share your insights. Learn how to preview posts on LinkedIn to make sure your content is optimized for maximum readability.

Remember to interact with the content posted by your connections. Like and comment on their posts, and reply to other people’s comments. Endorse your connections’ skills and ask them to return the favor.

Open up your profile

The best way to get new opportunities on LinkedIn is to tell the platform you’re open to them. Demonstrate to the other users and to the algorithm that you’re available to connect, open to discussing new opportunities, willing to take them on, or even just open to friendly talks on industry topics.

First, find the job seeking section in your privacy preferences. Tick the “open to opportunities” box. Create job alerts for companies you are specifically interested in. Consider alerting their recruiters that you’d like an opportunity at their company. They might remember you and reach out with a relevant opening.

Also, keep on top of your inbox. Don’t let unread messages accumulate. You never know which idle check-in might result in a job offer, client referral, or a random tidbit of professional insight that gives you that break. Moreover, keep your non-LinkedIn contact info up-to-date. Some recruiters prefer to get in touch via other channels, so make sure they can reach you.

To sum up, the best way to stand out as a job seeker on LinkedIn is to make your profile efficient, active, and open. Write a clear-cut headline that specifies your job and your current position in the corporate hierarchy.

Use your summary section to highlight your core values, skills, goals, and achievements. Focus on your personal branding. Be active with original content and interact with other users. Make yourself available for communication on and off the platform.