Your LinkedIn profile is important. Consider this: recruiters, whether independent or within specific companies, don’t have your CV/resume until you send it to them. And, typically, you don’t send anyone your CV/resume until you submit a job application.
But, what if you’d like recruiters to start coming to you? Even if you’re not actively looking for opportunities, what if you’d like opportunities to passively come to you, just in case something really interesting is out there? How would a recruiter know that you might be a good fit for anything? How can you attract a professional recruiter to bring you potential career opportunities for free?
One way recruiters find candidates, obviously, is through referrals. Someone you know has spoken to a recruiter and has specifically recommended you. This approach can be great for everyone involved, of course, but it does depend on having connections that will make such recommendations for you if and when such opportunities arise.
And, one of the ways recruiters are finding your connections, and potentially you, is by searching LinkedIn. Why LinkedIn? Compare your LinkedIn profile to your profiles on other social media platforms. To recruiters, other platforms are barely informative, if at all. Maybe your profile and activity offer a few insights as to your background, but searching for your qualifications is noticeably less efficient than finding them all in one place: enter LinkedIn.
Get found with Keywords
One way recruiters can find your profile is by searching for specific keywords and key-phrases. Be forewarned, however, that the LinkedIn search feature is not as forgiving as popular search engines. If you’re living in the United Kingdom and you have experience working on optimisation problems, you won’t be found by anyone looking for candidates with experience working on optimization problems. In a similar way, LinkedIn doesn’t know that VQEs are VQAs or that algos are algorithms.
So, if important keywords are not in your profile, you may not be found. And, if important synonyms of important keywords are not in your profile, you may be found even less. And, if alternate spellings of important keywords and their synonyms are not in your profile, well, you get the idea. Recruiters have a very restrictive tool to find you, so you need to make it as easy as possible to be found by making sure you have a keyword-rich profile.
Use Sections to tell your story
I had the opportunity to watch John Barnes, Quantum Careersmith and Community Builder at Entangled Positions, review a candidate’s profile. I’ve worked with recruiters before and I watched them scan paper CVs/resumes, but this was my first time watching a recruiter scan a LinkedIn profile. So, I quickly stopped him and asked him what he was looking at.
As you may have heard before, recruiters look at lots of CVs/profiles. Their initial scans are quick, as a highly experienced recruiter can gauge a lot of information in a few seconds. And, in that short time period, John looked at the About section, followed by the top experience, followed by the Education section, and finally the Skills section. If the candidate has what he’s looking for, he will then scan back upwards and look for additional qualifications.
Join Groups and build community
Did you know that there is a “Quantum Algorithms” group on LinkedIn? How about the “Compilers for Quantum Platforms” group; did you know about that one? Those are just two of the groups on LinkedIn; there are a considerable number of others.
Now, imagine you’re a recruiter and you’re looking for someone with experience designing algorithms. Or, perhaps you’re searching for someone with experience working on compilers. Where could you possibly find potential candidates for such positions?
That’s right. They look in groups, especially the ones they’ve spent many years nurturing. Maybe your profile is incomplete and you haven’t appeared in searches, but you posted something in a group that demonstrates you might have some relevant experience. A recruiter might want to start a conversation with you to verbally fill in those gaps in your profile.
Keep in mind that it might not be enough to simply be a member of a group, even though your membership is visible. You might be one of hundreds listed. Therefore, you want to try to add value to these groups. Reacting to posts increases your visibility slightly, but not nearly as much as commenting and especially not as much as posting.
Contribute to Open Source Projects
On the subject of adding value, consider contributing to open source frameworks. This doesn’t mean you have to look like a programmer, if you’re not. There are ways to contribute in regards to documentation, blogging, translation, and more. Many of these activities could be worthy of posting on your profile and sharing within appropriate groups.
Again, a recruiter might look at your GitHub account. In fact, for certain positions it might be advantageous to have a GitHub account. But, your account supplements your LinkedIn profile. If you have one, be sure to list it. Even better, be sure to share it. You can think of your open source contributions the way you would your publication history.
Go To Meetups & Events
Yes, recruiters attend these, too. In fact, one might be a panelist or even the moderator. Engaging a recruiter via posting, commenting, and messaging can all be effective, but don’t overlook opportunities to interact face-to-face and virtually. Even if the format doesn’t allow you to interact directly, don’t forget that your name is usually read aloud if you ask a question.
Finally, feel free to send recruiters connection requests. Let them know who you are, and be sure to reconnect with them from time to time. Needless to say, the recruiters I interviewed for this article — John, Natalie, Miles, Angel, and Connor — would enjoy scheduling a brief chat and getting to know you a little bit. And, it would be hard to imagine a recruiter unwilling to at least accept a connection request.
During your conversation, don’t forget that you’re encouraged to ask questions. For example, which skills and experiences are companies looking for? What’s in demand? The recruiter only has available what you’ve made available, but maybe you’re qualified for opportunities in ways you hadn’t considered sharing.
Good luck searching and being searched!