LinkedIn Tips For Structural Engineers
As recruiters, LinkedIn is one of the many tools we use to source candidates for new roles in structural engineering. If we don’t have a suitable candidate for a job in our current database, LinkedIn is a great place to get suggestions from our connections, and reach passive candidates.
Therefore, if you’re looking to make a move and find a new structural engineering job – getting your LinkedIn profile in shape is a very important step.
But stop! Before you start updating your profile and letting everyone know that you’re looking for a new job, check your privacy settings! If you don’t want your current employer to find out about your job search, make sure you change ‘Sharing Profile Edits’ to ‘No’ so that your network doesn’t get notified of changes.
OK, now you can get started updating and optimising your LinkedIn profile to get found by recruiters and employers.
Keywords for Structural Engineers
The first thing to do is see whether you’re profile is likely to come up if someone searches using keywords like ‘structural engineer’, ‘senior structural engineer’ or any other job title that you want to be recruited for. This means ensuring you have those keywords in your profile including your Experience, Summary, and most importantly your Headline.
This can be difficult if you’re looking for a step up the career ladder and your current job title doesn’t reflect the job you want. A bit of creative licence may be required to ensure you rank for those keywords, but don’t lie.
If you’re able to be open about your job search you can use your Headline to say, “Interested in new opportunities in structural engineering and senior structural engineer roles” – or similar – this covers off two different keyword variations that recruiters search for.
The Summary is also another good opportunity to get job specific keywords on your LinkedIn profile. Summaries should be written in the first person and outline the following in a compelling way:
- Your achievements
- Your values and passions
- Your skills and USP
This is a short bio and so needs to be direct, punchy and highly targeted at the people you want read it. Build in keywords in a natural way, but also make sure it sounds personable, professional and engaging.
Build Your Connections
When I search for a ‘structural engineer’ on LinkedIn the first people on the list are people I’m already connected with – there are quite a few. After this I see structural engineers who I share connections with, and after that are the people who’ve done a good job of optimising their profile for keywords like ‘structural engineer’.
So to make sure you appear on the first page of results, you need to be connected with the right people. Who are the right people?
Recruiters – naturally connecting with specialist recruitment consultants is a good idea as they have a high demand for candidates. They’re also connected with employers and other recruiters so your profile may show up in the search results if any of their connections search for ‘structural engineer’. If you share a few mutual connections, you’ll rank even higher so it can be a good idea to connect with several different recruitment consultants who specialise in structural engineering jobs.
Employers – randomly connecting with the decision makers at firms you want to work for, is generally not a good idea. Some people automatically accept a connection request without any questions, but many people don’t like this approach and this can be detrimental to your job search. However, if you have a genuine reason for connecting with people within the firm, for example you’ve met them at an event or you’ve worked with them in the past, then send a request.
Don’t use the default option which will just send an impersonal notification; instead send a message reminding them of where you met and that you’d like the opportunity to keep in touch. Although it’s preferable to connect with the key decision makers within a company – the people that recruit, interview and decide on new employees – connecting with other employees is still a good idea. Chances are that they will be connected to the more senior members of staff and this will boost your chances of being found.
Colleagues and Peers – similarly, connecting with colleagues at your current firm, ex-colleagues and other structural engineers is also a good idea. They may be connected with potential employers and recruiters so will help you rank higher in LinkedIn search results.
That said don’t connect with people if they could be harmful to your job search. Your connections can reflect badly on you, so consider whether a potential employer will respect the endorsement of that connection. If they recommended you, would that employer think highly of that recommendation?
Get LinkedIn Recommendations
It’s very easy for people on LinkedIn to endorse their connections for specific skills. Often when logging in to LinkedIn you’re asked to endorse a connection on the home page. In my view this has devalued these endorsements, although they can still help potential employers see what skills you have.
More important are recommendations. These are essentially an online reference and are of much more interest to potential employers than a list of skills.
It is worth asking for recommendations from trusted connections. They don’t have to be from your boss like a reference would be; they could be from a colleague, a client or anyone else you’ve worked with. Think about who could provide you with a recommendation that will help your job search, and then ask them.
You can send a recommendation request though LinkedIn with a message specifically asking them to recommend you for a particular thing – for example the work you did on a project, a key skill you have, or soft skills such as leadership, teamwork etc. Most people are happy to write a recommendation, they just don’t also think to do it off their own back.
If you would like me to have a look at your LinkedIn profile and give you some feedback, please leave a comment below with a link to your profile. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn here.