How To Get Head Hunted Using Your LinkedIN Account

Recruiters look at a lot of LinkedIN profiles so, whether you're looking for work or just open to new opportunities, investing some time in your profile is a worthwhile endeavour. You'll probably be logging in to change your password in the wake of the massive password leak, so why not take this opportunity to increase your odds of appearing on our radar?

Resume Rules Apply

For many people LinkedIN is an online resume more than a social network, which is why it's so surprising that those same people frequently have terrible LinkedIN profiles. Whether it's incomplete work histories, a complete lack of job descriptions or the absence of a picture, they fail to present themselves well in the one arena every modern employer is almost guaranteed to check. Even if you never post a status update, apply the same rules to your profile that you apply to your resume.

  1. If a position is worth having there, it's worth explaining. (Just keep it skimmable.)
  2. Not all positions are worth having there. (Your profile should reflect your current career, not the two years you owned an ostrich ranch.)
  3. Post a picture. (This is the only rule that's reversed from an old-school resume.)

Skills Show Up In Search

A resume is a place to show off your skills, but you can do more than just include them in your job description with LinkedIN. Under the 'Skills & Expertise' you can tag your account with keywords and skills related to your industry. These are tags that help you show up in search results so, if we're looking for "software sales Toronto", having "software" and "sales" is a good first step to getting noticed.

There are a lot of different tags you can apply to your profile, so don't be afraid of a little overlap. "Marketing" and "Web Marketing" are going to attract different audiences and the more specific you can be, the better.

Request Recommendations

Nothing will replace a reference check, but a recommendation is a good way to establish that everything on your profile isn't a complete fabrication. If you work directly with clients, they may take it upon themselves to recommend the work you've done but in any other situation you'll probably have to ask. When you do, try to get someone senior to vouch for you. It carries more weight than swapping recommendations with the guy in the cubicle next to you.

Be There Or Beware

This isn't equally true for every industry, but LinkedIN is the go-to resource for recruiters in technology, finance, manufacturing and a host of other sectors. If, for whatever reason, you've decided to avoid LinkedIN you're on the verge of falling into a black hole. There are still ways you can come across our desk (recommendations, applications, etc.), but we might not even bother if someone else's well manicured LinkedIN account has given us everything we need before we had to ask for it.

For the most part LinkedIN is a "set it and forget it" social network, which is good for people who might not be social media savvy. These are the basics you can do to make sure your profile is informative and easy to find. Of course, connecting with your colleagues, joining groups and following a recruiter also increases your odds of getting head hunted, but start with the basics and go from there.

To stay in touch with Martyn Bassett Associates and get notifications about everything from job postings to new blog entries, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on LinkedIN

Views: 7682

Comment by Randall Scasny on June 18, 2012 at 8:26am

thanks for the post.

Question: how does the photo influence your decision in contacting the job candidate.

For instance, if there person had an ethnic name instead of "Jane Smith" but had more skills than "Jane Smith.? Would you contact this person first, second, etc?

Also, what if the candidate were a woman: have you based your decision even in part on her physical appearance?

Your honest is appreciated.

Randall Scasny

Comment by Vasula Tsongas, CPRW on June 18, 2012 at 5:26pm

@ Randall Scasny

I don't assume to know what the author would respond but I'd like to give you my opinion.


I think the photo just gives a face to go with a name and credentials. Seeing a face seems more "real" than seeing a gray silhouette. As they say in the freelance writing business: Meet face-to-face with a client ASAP. Once they meet you in person, they are much more likely to offer you a job than the candidate that they merely spoke with through email or phone. Additionally, there is something to be said for judging a book by its cover. When I was a hiring manager I know that if I had two candidates with equal qualifications, yet one showed up in a dirty shirt and jeans, while the other was wearing a suit, the person in the suit got the job. It showed me that they put some effort in and really WANTED the job.


I suppose there is always the possibility for discrimination regarding ethnic sounding names and gender. I proudly display my "ethnic" sounding name and believe that my adept use of the English language (I was born and raised in the US!) will deter any doubts as to my abilities.


Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 18, 2012 at 6:55pm


What you are asking is, "do you engage in illegal discrimination?"  Answer:  No

Does a picture on Linkedin help.  Yes it does if it is a reasonable professional picture.  If it is a pic of you with your pet goat, a picture of you and your 12 grandchildren all of them so small that you are not visible,your company logo, a picture of your cat or a pic of you and four coworkers (who can tell which one is you) the answer is no, the picture screams "I am an idiot".  those pics are better put on facebook.  Linkedin pics of half your face, your eyeball or your sunglasses ..puleeeese.  Forget you go be trendy someplace else.

Comment by Cody Pierson on June 18, 2012 at 11:36pm

Honestly, I think that it's common social media etiquette to have a profile picture. And, LinkedIN being a professional network, it makes sense that the profile picture would be something that suits the profile being presented. 


The main issue is that, much like a Twitter feed without an image attached, not seeing a profile picture implies that someone doesn't care about the profile, thus it's probably not up to date. Is it 100% fair to people who might not want pictures of themselves on the internet? Probably not, but there's also a strong correlation between accounts that have 1 connection and no profile picture. 


As for questions of ethnicity/gender/physical appearance, I think those issues go out the window pretty quickly when it comes down to making a placement and earning a fee, if they existed in the first place. I'm interested in skills and marketability, so I'll contact the person with the skills I need no matter what they look like. After all, there are plenty of reasons a candidate might not work out, so it doesn't make sense to restrict the talent pool to attractive white people.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 19, 2012 at 11:15am
I have thought about if I ever passed over contacting a person on LinkedIn due to a picture or a lack of a pic. The last person I placed from a LinkedIn contact did not have a pic but had a hard to find skill set and perfect location. If there had been several people with that same skill set in that location, I would probably have contacted the ones with a professional pic. first. So is lack of a pic a deal killer? No, but a picture might get someone contacted first, particularly if they indicate on their profile that they are open to opportunities. A "goofy" pic will give me questions as to why they used something like that on a professional network but would not stop me from contacting them.
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on June 19, 2012 at 7:58pm

I don't remember the exact figure and unfortunately don't recall the source of the statistic, but apparently LI profiles with photos are approximately 40% more likely to be viewed that those with no photo. 

I'm curious what others think about people who claim they don't use a profile photo because they are convinced that it will result in some form of discrimination. I never seen any actual quantifiable evidence that would support that belief. In fact, I'm pretty sure someone who looks like Charles Manson could get hired if they had the right blend of qualifications.

My guess is that since the rare, isolated incidents of bias and discrimination get so much publicity, it makes sense for some people to assume that to be the case for each and every sourcing, screening or selection process.

Coming from an HR / internal recruiting background and having lived and worked in diverse environments all along, I'm constantly puzzled as to why people feel compelled to assume the worst due to a few idiots making bad business decisions versus recognizing those people are in the minority.

It's been my experience that most people involved with any part of a hiring choice DO wish to identify the right person regardless of irrelevant demographic factors. What am I missing that might justify that level of paranoia about using a photo on a professional business networking site?

Comment by on July 2, 2012 at 8:35am

I forget the exact figures but a lot of people are mostly visually oriented (as opposed to mostly auditory, kinesthetic or Digital/Neutral).  That means they connect to a visual image first and prefer information delivered visually.  Putting your picture on you LinkedIn profile forms an immediate connection with such a person and gets them interested in you. 

As I recall the main reasons for not puitting a photo on your resume are: It takes up space that could be used to list achievements; Your resume is likely to be photocopied so the photo can quickly end up a splodgy mess; It may lead to the hiring manager judging you on your appearance/race/gender.  On LinkedIn the first two don't really apply as if you don't put a picture on then LinkedIn puts in a place holder and it's viewed on a screen so no photocopying (plus, if it is, I think that printers and copiers have improved in quality at lot since that advice was first given).  Discrimination is still a possibility, but then I've always considered that to be the weakest reason to leave off a photo.  At some point the person hiring is going to see you face to face, that time is probably going to be when they still have a sizable pool of candidates to assess.  If they're going to discriminate they will then any way.  Personally, if I'm going to be rejected for a job due to being a balding and bearded glasses wearer and because I tend to wear dark coloured shirts then I'd prefer it to be before I've had to prep for an interview, take a  day off work and travel to an unfamiliar location.

Also, as Cody says, it's about making a placement and earning a fee.  If someone is that discriminatory that they would give up the chance of making money off placing you then the lack of a photo on your linked in profile won't stop them finding out what you look like.  If you or a family member use any sort of social network then the odds are there are photos of you out there that can be turned up with a simple Google or PIPL search. 

(On a tangentially related point it is worth periodically Googling yourself and using any other search engine you can access to see what the web says about you. is particularly useful as it often find pages that Google cannot or does but they're on page 347.)


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