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Perfect match: How to use your cover letter and LinkedIn profile for maximum impact?

You have listed all your known positions, connected with your network, and reposted and liked posts, but your profile views count is still the same. You haven’t been called, messaged, or invited to any interesting positions you have considered. What’s the magic of gaining recruiters’ attention on LinkedIn?

This is a write-up of my usual process of reviewing applicants’ profiles on LinkedIn. I am collecting information about a person’s background and capabilities on the verge of pursuing product design and development careers.

Applications can land on my table in two ways.

  • My team has a new opening, and I am actively seeking candidates. Qualified candidates have passed initial filtering by HR and have transferred to me.
  • A person has contacted HR, a colleague, or me directly to get a position in the team.

New opening in the team

In case of a new opening in the team, I already know the qualifications, requirements, and specific design domains needed for a future colleague. Based on the initial filter I review applicants’ LinkedIn profiles, CVs, and portfolios. This is a matching game between the candidate and the defined position’s requirements.

A personal touch

If somebody has reached out, I do not know the position that could be filled and what the requirements could be. This is a highly context-dependent situation. I know current organizational needs, but my memory, mental capacity, and imagination influence my evaluations. Most contacts are strangers, and to maintain confidentiality, I can not ask about these people.

To overcome this limitation, the best tool for the contacting person is to include a “cover letter.” Consider this a recommendation made by mutual contact between you and me. Somebody who can describe you from personal experience as a person and a professional. Somebody who knows my led domain’s position and future ambitions. The “cover letter” is the connection between us. It can lighten my imagination about your future tasks, projects, and responsibilities.

LinkedIn profile

I collecting background information about the candidate. Particularly I am interested in their career progression and capabilities. For this, I pay special attention to evidence and hints about their future potential in my team and organization. This is where LinkedIn enters the central stage.

  • Headlines are introductions to your profile. Some people have their current positions and responsibilities; some include generic adjectives, some capabilities, and some interests. This is the attention-grabbing 1 space. Use this wisely. Look at your Connections page and assess whose headlines make you an impression.
  • Your connections and network are beneficial for you in multiple ways. For me, it provides first-hand evidence that you exist. This provides secondary evidence and proof of your experiences and career progression.
  • Your about section is as valuable as your cover letter. This is the surface of your career, capabilities, personality, and future ambitions. This is evergreen and must be developed in time. Treat this section as a steering wheel of your career. And I know how hard it is to write about myself and push it through.
  • Another highly valuable section is experiences. On the surface, it lists how long you have worked in any of the positions within organizations. Included role descriptions with responsibilities, achievements, and gained experiences make these valuable as I gain a closer contextual understanding of your work. Position-linked skills with endorsements serve as secondary proof of your performance. Your network and connections will work for your benefit.
  • LinkedIn has tweaked and redesigned the skills section numerous times. At the beginning of their careers, people tend to gobble everything they know into the skills section. I understand the desperation. Still, you must have evidence, connections with previous experiences, and preferably shareable case studies and stories to exemplify your proficiency. I like LinkedIn’s latest skills-related changes, where you can list skills under positions. But be mindful to list only relevant, value-adding skills.
  • Lastly, I will look if the person has received any recommendations. This is where a previous colleague has taken time to think and express their thoughts and impressions about the person. In multiple cases, I have learned something new about the candidate that has not been described in the rest of the profile. And I know how culture-dependent giving recommendations is. The only way to overcome this is to act generously – give credit where it’s due.

In either case, if you are applying for a position or seeking opportunities, take time to prepare your case. Understand what you would like to get from the team and organization. And provide evidence of your skills and competencies using your LinkedIn profile. Use the cover letter for your benefit to make the connection between you and the desired position. Be especially mindful of building and maintaining your career presence on LinkedIn.

  1. Aida(Marketing). (2024). In Wikipedia. ↩︎