Getting Linked’In

By Luke Proctor, Senior Recruiter @ Gear4music, York

With over 3 billion of us jostling for position in the passively competitive world of social media, for graduates and aspiring professionals, standing out (without filming yourself eating a ghost pepper or encouraging your Nan to ‘spit some bars’) can be daunting work.

Fortunately, getting recognised for that opportunity you’re into doesn’t have to involve such shameless self-promotion…

LinkedIn has around 260 million active users globally (a lot less than 3 billion). For those of us networking in the UK, a slightly more manageable 26 million LinkedIn’ers — so according to my careful calculation getting a job should be far easier than going viral.

Before arriving in the professional world 10 years ago, I would often hear warming stories of determined young people rocking up to company offices in person, shoes freshly shined, printed CV to hand and every now and again being invited upstairs for an interview the same day!

In this digital world, that doesn’t really work anymore but that’s not to say we can’t take that personable approach and 2020 it.

Digitising a little old school etiquette

What I mean by that is, getting recognised for the right reasons and landing a sterling first impression.

Now some of these nuggets may seem partially digested but take it from me, as someone who spends most of the day poring over applications, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles, you’ve got to get the basics right. 100%.

Until AI has us out of a job, it’s likely your application will be reviewed by another human being just like me. As a human being, I’m guilty of a variety of human flaws e.g. fluctuant attention span, acute clumsiness, post lunch sleepiness, chronic misinterpretation and of course rapid onset boredom. For these reasons here are a few things to focus on getting right and staying engaging:

1. Tailor your application — take your time to amplify the areas of your experience that relate most closely to the role you are applying for. It will make a difference. May I emphasise EMPHASISE, don’t white lie because if pushed in an interview scenario you could be caught out and may end up looking rather silly in the process.

2. Stick to the point — try keep it directional, concise, elaborate on your most recent job roles and leave the paper round you did when you were twelve out of it, unless that’s the only job you’ve had then absolutely sell it!

3. Formatting — we all love a rainbow, and yes sometimes colouring each fourth letter of your application in neo mint hints at your sparkly personality but most recruiters are just scanning your experience for core competencies so keep it simple. Definitely Include examples of your portfolio, website, or an online profile where appropriate, again providing that it is relevant to your application.

4. Write a cover letter — even if you’re not asked to do so, it’s 30 minutes of your time and a sign to the human being receiving your application stating that you care. Think Nike.

5. Check your spelling and grammar — an innocent typo can be the difference between setting a good and a great first impression, have someone proofread it for you and make sure what you are writing, reads!

6. LinkedIn — LinkedIn is a thousand office doors at your fingertips, so let’s knock and knock politely. A quick Boolean search can reveal the hiring manager, recruiter or HR professional at said prospective company. Follow up your application with a LinkedIn connection request, you get 300 characters with it so keep it light but impactful, for example:

Dear {first name},

I hope 2020 is treating you well. I am one of the hopeful applicants for your {name of vacancy}, I believe my skills are well suited to the position and would be happy to provide additional details to you regarding my application!

Have a great day,


Quick tip, stick to LinkedIn, other social medias are more personal, containing sensitive data and a successful stalk can come across as, well, stalky. Needless to say trying to match with hiring managers on Tinder is probably not a great shout.

7. Freshen Up — once you’ve nailed your CV application, cover letter and caught the company’s attention with some heat seeking syntax via a LinkedIn connection request it’s likely they’re going to check out your profile. I hope you like sucking eggs, get your profile looking as sharp as your efforts so far to reinforce that virtual first impression:

Update your employment history

Did some good work in the past? Have a rep from the company write a recommendation for you

Update your list of key skills (recruiters often search LinkedIn by key words in your skills list so stay relevant)

Utilise a professional but approachable profile picture (the picture of you 6 pints in on last year’s tour de Costa Blanca is possibly not the one)

8. Follow up — as a recruiter if I am unable to respond to an applicant after 1 or 2 weeks of them applying it’s normally because we’re managing a ton of vacancies with hundreds of applications for each and the pressure is on. Again, we’re only human and sometimes a little nudge can be appreciated, just a little one though…

Prior to interview, this is about as much as you need to worry about and although it’s common sense stuff it’s worth taking your time over to make sure you give yourself the best chance at success.

Any questions feel free to drop me a connection on LinkedIn and check out our Gear4music careers page for opportunities in York & Manchester, let’s see how much damage you can do with 300 characters.

Best of luck!


Senior Recruiter @ Gear4music