95% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to identify best fit passive or active candidates for their job openings. Ninety-five percent. So you need to take these LinkedIn profile tips into account if you want to be found.
Why are you on LinkedIn, anyway? For one, it’s a social network for professionals, so this is where we cyber-meet individuals whose business needs and interests align with our own. It’s a wonderful platform for information sharing. There is, for example, a great exchange of information among we career coaches and resume writers; we don’t view one another as competitors, but rather as colleagues. This type of collaboration goes on every day on LinkedIn.
But it’s also the best forum for finding a new job or being found when you weren’t even particularly looking (that’s what recruiters call a passive candidate). Being on LinkedIn means you always have to look your best because, hey – you never know.
Optimize your headline – In previous posts I’ve discussed that it’s poor strategy to include reference to “looking for a new opportunity,” or other language that advertises your unemployment. Think about it: do recruiters ever enter “unemployed” into the search bar when they’re trying to find candidates? No, they don’t. If you want to be found, your headline should contain the most important keywords that describe your skills. Most people make the HUGE mistake of defaulting to a headline containing only their name, job title, and employer. Worse yet, the headline shows the industry as that of the current employer, not their position. Here’s an example – a senior level financial executive’s profile headline simply says, Senior Financial Director, Mining & Metals. His employer is a mining and metals company. His industry is Finance. He needs to revise his headline.
Let the summary section provide enough insight to spark interest you have 2 thousand characters to play with here. As with your resume, this section should be written in the first person, and should narrate your career story. At the bottom, include certifications, licenses, IT skills – even if you also have them in another section. It’s all about the algorithm.
Use the entire LinkedIn toolkit – Worked on a great presentation, either solo or as part of a team? Upload it (remove any confidential data first, of course). Have a video clip of you making a presentation? It goes in your profile. LinkedIn allows you to upload a variety of media that showcases your talent, so be creative about what you post.Yes, it’s nice to share inspirational soundbites with your network, but really, it’s a way better use of your time to share examples of your talent. Don’t let inertia prevent you from taking this additional step; it will get you noticed.
Photo – If you read my posts regularly, you know that I harp on this, but it’s important. Never upload a selfie or repurpose a cropped photo from an event. Either invest in a professional photograph, or have a friend take a headshot where you’re standing against a plain background, looking at the camera, and dressed in attire appropriate to your profession. Most people no longer need to wear a suit, but if your profession requires it, put it on for the photo. Aim for approachable, professional and pleasant. I say pleasant because there are a significant number of profiles in which the person is frowning or outright scary looking. Smile.
Be strategic about who you follow, and who you connect with We are known by the company we keep, so don’t follow or connect with individuals whose profiles or postings contain content that might reflect poorly on you. Do you want to follow Koch Industries, or Breitbart if their core values don’t align with yours? Who you follow speaks volumes about what matters to you. Connections are different from people you follow. Don’t try to connect with everyone or anyone just because you like something they posted. Follow them for a while, and see if there is a reason to connect. Connections are supposed to be people you either actually know, or at the very least, have a virtual relationship with. See what Sarah Elkins has to say..
Have opinions. Share them. Not only is commenting on other people’s posts and shared content a great way to “meet” new people, but it’s also the best way I can think of to showcase your knowledge and ability to consider all sides of issues. And how you comment (respectfully? argumentatively? equivocating?) reveals your soft skills. This is how you establish your professional brand and grow an audience.
Don’t treat your profile like it’s your online resume My goal when I write a client’s LinkedIn profile is for readers (potential employers or recruiters) to feel as if they are learning something about the YOU behind the titles and job functions. We want them to learn enough to make them want to meet you and learn more. And not insignificantly, make sure those self-describing keywords are sprinkled throughout the summary section as well as the headline.
Customize the URL for your profile
The default URL assigned by LinkedIn has a bunch of random numbers following your name. It looks much more professional to customize it. If your name is a common one, try some variation, using your middle initial, perhaps, or even by including your profession. It’s very easy to customize, and takes only a minute or two. Here’s how.
When you’re ready, read about my pricing and process for working with you on your resume and LinkedIn profile.