Ann Arbor, Mich.– “You have three seconds to convince me that on paper you match what I’m looking for and what I’m hiring for,” Jasmine Burns told the group of students and recent college graduates. “It’s important to tailor your resume to specific job descriptions.”

Burns, a recruiter for Duo Security, offered her perspective on important qualities recruiters look for in job applicants and why LinkedIn is such a powerful resource during her presentation at SPARK headquarters on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Why everyone should use LinkedIn

At the beginning of her presentation Burns noted that the main platform she uses to search for candidates is LinkedIn. Not only does the platform function as a personal brand for professionals, but it also advertises millions of student jobs, internships and full-time positions at any given time.

It’s a walking resume; build it out fully,” Burns said. “Don’t be afraid to brag and show the wins that you talked about earlier. The more wins you have, the more you’ll come up in my searches.”

LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users from more than 200 different countries with an estimated 227 million monthly active users. The website also lists more than 10 million active job posts and data for nine million companies.

What your LinkedIn should include

Recruiters often look for specific keywords using LinkedIn recruiter, a feature that allows them to build out highly specific searches using Boolean strings. They can view profiles based on job titles, specific languages, the years a candidate attended a college, secondary connections and other details on a candidate’s account.

“The more of a walking, living, breathing resume [LinkedIn account] that you have, the more keyword city it is where you’re listing out all of your skills and things that you’ve done, the more that you’re going to come up in my search,” Burns said.

For building an account, rich and engaging content is necessary in making it stand out along with passion projects and filling out every section on the page builder.

“Literally anything and everything that LinkedIn guides you to build out, you should. Not only should you, but add as many projects as you can that you think are applicable to your degree, or to the profession,” Burns said. “Projects are the best way to show a company, ‘I haven’t done something in a company environment, but I’ve done something similar and this is how it’ll transfer over so that you’ll want to hire me more.’”

Many recruiters will also convert a candidate’s LinkedIn into a .pdf file, so users should do the same to see if it looks boring, text heavy, or if certain keywords stick out in the document.

Other features that are recommended for a LinkedIn account are:

  • Endorsements from colleagues and professors
  • The “Open Candidate” button, which signals to recruiters that a candidate is on the job market while hiding from their current employer that their looking for new opportunities
  • A LinkedIn profile URL that’s short and unique
  • An account that is easy to click through and view
  • The “Activity Updates” button, which displays onto a user’s newsfeed any changes that they’ve made

Improving your chances at getting a job

Connections are one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn and they should be used to strategically build an applicant’s network. Profiles should also match a recruiter’s job search. Candidates should be joining alumni and university pages; following their dream companies and companies who are doing exciting things in the industry; as well as joining some of the millions of LinkedIn groups.

While LinkedIn is considered a walking resume, an actual resume also needs to be fully optimized and mirror the job description.

“It’s time consuming. If you’re doing it right, maybe 15-30 minutes for every single job that you’re applying to. So if you’re like “I’m on a job hunt today and I’m gonna apply to hundreds of different jobs, and you do this properly for every single job that you apply to, it will take you several hours but it will be worth it,” Burns said. “You’re going to get better consideration, you’re going to get an elevated, stronger match from a recruiter’s perspective or whoever the gatekeeper is that’s reviewing resumes, [and you’re going to show] that you’re someone that they want to talk to.”