Gone are the days when most accountancy jobs would be advertised and candidates would find and apply to the roles of interest. Today, recruiters with accounting opportunities are scouring LinkedIn to find and approach the candidates that are of most interest to them. Which means that it's essential your LinkedIn profile catches the eye of recruiters and potential employers and makes you stand out from other potential candidates.
The key question, though, is how do you go about doing that? Well, here we have collated our top tips to help you stand out as an accountancy candidate on the LinkedIn platform. A small investment of your time today will reap rewards for many years to come. So, what should you focus on?
Work on your LinkedIn headline
What is your LinkedIn headline? It's the line - or multiple lines - that you'll see directly underneath your name on your LinkedIn profile. Writing a strong LinkedIn headline is one of the most critical components of your profile, as it appears prominently right across LinkedIn. Whenever you comment, publish a post, appear in search results or contribute to group discussions, your headline appears right alongside your name and photo.
As such, your headline forms people's first impressions of you - that has the power to draw people in to learn more about you, depending on how well it's written. It also acts as a constant reminder of your expertise / what you do / who you work for, depending on what you've included in the headline. As such, a good headline should briefly describe who you are and what you do. You might incorporate your current role in the accounting industry, what your specialist area is, the qualifications you have, what kinds of businesses you help and how you help them.
Be found through keywords on your profile
If you want to maximise your visibility with recruiters (and, indeed, potential clients) on LinkedIn, then ensuring your profile contains lots of relevant accounting-related keywords is essential for success.
LinkedIn searches are binary, meaning your profile either has the keywords a user searches for or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then you drop out of the search results completely - and so will be found by recruiters less often than someone with a more keyword-rich profile. So, our advice is to create a list of all the possible variations of words a recruiter might use within their search for accounting candidates. Consider essential accounting skills, qualifications, job titles and any related industry subject matter topics relevant to you, your role and your experience. All should be woven into your profile somewhere, so that you then appear in more searches each week (which, incidentally, you can track on your search appearances page on LinkedIn).
Craft an appealing About section
In addition to your LinkedIn headline, your 'About' section is another important element of your LinkedIn profile, as it's the first thing recruiters will see on your profile and so has the power to make recruiters want to spend more time on your profile... or hit the back button to go and look at a different candidate instead.
It's the perfect opportunity to share highlights from your accounting career, allowing you to steer what aspects of your experience and achievements are in the spotlight. For example, you could include your academic accomplishments, topics you've written or spoken about, awards you've won and specialist expertise you've developed. Don't forget, though, we all love a human connection! So infuse a bit of personality here. When done right, your About section can bring your profile to life and make readers more excited and eager to learn about you.
Make relevant connections
Being better connected on LinkedIn has a positive impact on your visibility in LinkedIn search results. People who are 1st and 2nd-degree connections will appear ahead of 3rd-degree connections, for example, which means you have a greater chance of being seen if your number of connections is higher.
It can therefore help your career progression to gradually build your network of relevant connections over time. Plus, should you decide on a longer-term career path you'd like to pursue, building your network for the future can also be a great help. Not everyone stays in practice, so if you determine you want to get into eg. the retail sector, then building your network of contacts within retail will also benefit your longer-term career objectives.
Consider adding the Featured section
This will not be right for everyone. But the Featured section you're able to add to your profile is a good way of ensuring that key parts of your story are seen quickly and prominently. It's a great addition if you'd like to showcase some of your work (eg. a report you've written or an article you've been quoted in) or include a case study or drive people to key resources on your company's website. If you're out of work and openly job-searching, you could even include a CV or a video introduction here.
Be thorough in your Experience and Education sections
Further down your profile, you'll find your Experience and Education sections. Just as your CV shouldn't contain unexplained gaps, similarly your LinkedIn profile should comprehensively detail your professional experience and education. Not only does this avoid deterring recruiters who might otherwise have been interested in you, but it also provides an easy means of incorporating lots of relevant keywords into your profile.
In the Experience section, you can provide more in-depth details about each role you have held, not just job titles, companies and dates. For example, are there any areas where you took on responsibilities voluntarily or times when you had to go beyond what was expected of you for particular projects? List all relevant details in this section and include as many achievements and brand names as you're able to.
Similarly, for education, it's important to detail all of the relevant accounting qualifications you possess when completing your LinkedIn profile, such as AAT,
ACA, ACCA, CIMA or CIPFA. You never know what qualification a recruiter may be searching for. Plus, be sure to list your university and degree, as these are also fields that recruiters may use to select candidates.
All in all, creating an impactful LinkedIn profile is a great investment of your time. With a few simple changes implemented, you'll start to see an increase in your profile metrics. You'll appear in more searches each week - and for more relevant search terms. In time, you'll also notice more recruiters looking at your profile and ultimately reaching out interested in talking to you about new openings. So, all the best with implementing these changes and we wish you every success in making a successful career move.
Here at ProTalent, our consultants are accounting specialists with extensive knowledge and experience to ensure we are well-placed to help you secure your next role that will support your career aspirations. So if you've read through the above and are daunted about looking for your next career move, contact our team, and we'll be delighted to help