It’s no secret that recruiters use LinkedIn to source contractors for different opportunities. As a proactive professional, you probably have a LinkedIn profile set-up, but that may not be enough. LinkedIn offers a number of different sections that you can include in your profile to enhance it and, while you don’t need to complete all of them, you need to know which ones are most important. To help answer that question, we asked Eagle’s recruiters which sections they look at and need to be completed before contacting a candidate, and put together this list of Top 5 Must-Haves (actually, there are 6 items, but #5 was a tie and Top 5 just reads better).
#1 – Experience
Hopefully this isn’t coming as a shock to you. 100% of Eagle’s recruiters stated that experience is absolutely necessary to have in your profile. The Experience section lets you list all of your employers chronologically and give a brief description what you did with each one. As an independent contractor, you are your own employer which is fine. You can use the Experience section to highlight that you’re self-employed, and describe what it is you do as an independent contractor.
#2 – Skills
Skills are the second most important element and the Skills and Endorsements section is a great place to put them. LinkedIn will automatically generate some suggestions for you and you can add others as you please. What’s better, is your connections can then endorse you for those skills with the click of a button. When you have more endorsements, it shows recruiters that you really are qualified. Finally, adding more skills to your profile makes you more searchable on LinkedIn, and more likely to be found.
#3 – Projects
The Projects section is perfect for independent contractors. Where the experience section described in #1 is for employment details, the Projects section is where you can list specific work completed for clients. This section may not be part of your default Profile options. To add it, while editing your profile, click the “View More” link located right above your Summary. This will open a variety of sections you can add, including the Projects section. Here you can add many details, including any URLs to more information about the project and link to other Team Members on LinkedIn.
#4 – Education
The Education section isn’t just for the degree you received 20 years ago, but for all other courses you may have taken since then. Recruiters review this section to see how up-to-date your skills are and to find out if you’re serious about staying relevant in the industry.
#5 – Summary AND Profile Photo
Although these two tied at the bottom of the list, they are must-haves none-the-less and 25% of Eagle’s recruiters won’t even look at your profile unless you have these. A good summary contains keywords that help you get found in a search and is what will grab a recruiter’s attention. We’ve posted a lot about profile photos in the past, including this infographic about what not to use. Of this entire list, both the Summary and Profile photo may be the fastest and easiest to complete, so if you haven’t already, we recommend starting here!
There are many other sections for a LinkedIn profile and you can explore them all. Every contractor’s experience and story is unique, so create a LinkedIn profile that reflects yours.