Most people understand LinkedIn is a powerful tool in seeking out jobs. But so many only use it to the extent of applying for jobs. Particular clicking hundreds of LinkedIn Easy Apply. Asking for consideration is only a fraction of the process. Once you are considered, do you really show your value? Even more powerful, what does your profile tell recruiters?
Here are my tips for telling recruiters and hiring managers the right info for your goals…
1. Profile Photo!
I can’t emphasis step one enough. Every recruiter I’ve ever talked to has the same rule:
no photo = no consideration
It is that simple. You can write the most amazing profile description, but without a photo, you are out!
I realize this bothers some people. Some feel like a photo promotes discrimination or maybe they don’t like how they look in photos or maybe they didn’t think it was that important. Regardless of where you fall, the photo is a glimpse into your personality and essentially your brand. Are you a traditional suit and tie with a professional portrait or are you presenting yourself as an adventurer? Your photo gives insights into who you are and what you want.
When choosing a photo, think like a marketer. Who do you want to attract? Are you wearing the clothes you would like to wear to work? Can we identify you in person accurately from your photo? Your photo reflects your brand so take the time to do it right.
2. Background Photo!
Just like your profile photo is part of your brand, the banner photo is an extension of that brand. For instance, I am a city person. I would be hard pressed to live in an area without being either directly in a city or within a very close distance to a city. So my background is a city skyline. If you are a digital designer, take this opportunity to show off your skills! Your background banner demonstrates your creativity, your personality, and in many ways gives insight into what you want for a workplace culture.
3. Your Summary!
Your LinkedIn profile is NOT your resume. The summary isn’t a statement about what job you want or what job you have. It is your story. What have you done, learned, liked…how you professionally or even personally became who you are today. This unique feature in LinkedIn is one of the most powerful reasons recruiters value LinkedIn over the resume. So use it!
4. Functional Title vs Payroll Title!
This is a confusing aspect for many people. So often these days, companies have vague job titles that are more of a payroll indicator than something reflecting the actual job duties. I spoke with someone recently who has been managing, coaching, and making strategic decisions for both sales and marketing, YET his actual job title was “account manager.” When the job and the function don’t match, give your functional and actual job title on your LinkedIn. Otherwise, you can be missing out on opportunities.
5. Job Description!
Similar to your summary, your job description on your LinkedIn should be different than your resume. The resume is a brief summary. It is often skimmed and should have bullets to guide the reader. Your LinkedIn is your professional profile. It is not a summary, but rather a comprehensive understanding of your professional background. Whenever I see things like “responsible for…” “duties include…” etc…I move on. Because I don’t care what you were supposed to do in a job role. I care about what you ACTUALLY did. Tell people your experience in your words. Share what you learned, what you liked, and what you valued. If it is appropriate, maybe share why you left or moved forward.
6. Manage Your Keywords!
If you are considering a job change or even a career change, you are going to want to be found by the right recruiters. This means managing your keywords like an SEO master.
If your background is primarily in sales, but you really want to be more in marketing, your keywords better be marketing heavy. Keywords will register across your entire profile from your summary to your job descriptions to your skills. You will want to use the words that trigger the right recruiter to see your profile. For instance, maybe you did cold calling in your last 3 jobs, but you want a marketing role going forward. Using “cold calling” over and over isn’t going to help you achieve this goal. BUT, discussing how you utilized social media, search engines, email campaigns, etc in your business development efforts is a natural way to discuss your expertise and trigger the right keywords for the career you want.
7. Be Social on Social!
LinkedIn is ultimately a social network. In order to really optimize its usage, you need to engage with people. This can range from simply engaging with content by liking certain items to really targeting your engagement strategically.
For instance, if you have a dream company you would LOVE to work for, why not follow and connect with the people who currently work there? Like their content. Share it. Comment on it!! Be visible. All it takes is the right person checking out your profile. You can even sell yourself a bit. Say your dream company’s CEO posts a product launch article on LinkedIn, there is no shame in commenting, “excited to see the next stage of 123 Corp! This has always been my dream company to work for.”
People love to say that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know…so start knowing the right people.
8. If You have Something to Say, PUBLISH!
LinkedIn Articles can sometimes take off and sometimes not. But when you are a job seeker, your goal isn’t necessarily to claim a piece of fame so much as it is the chance to discuss your expertise.
Maybe you are in sales and you have developed a badass prospecting method…write an article.
Or maybe you are in marketing and you know some gems in getting the most out of AdWords…write an article.
Sure, it could be redundant to what others have written before, but the point is to put your expertise and thoughts into words and share it. This gives recruiters massive insight into your knowledge and skillset, jumping you ahead of the curve when it comes to an interview. So use it!
9. Setting Your Career Goals
Found within the “jobs” tab, LinkedIn gives you the chance to actually communicate your career interests to recruiters. This is not visible on your public profile but is visible to anyone operating as a recruiter. You get the chance to tell recruiters if you are open to new opportunities, where you are open to moving, what job titles you are open to discussing, how recruiters can reach you, what industries you prefer. You can even write a note to recruiters up to 300 characters long.
Most recruiters search candidates that utilize this function. The “open to new opportunities” feature is gold to anyone sourcing.
Second to that is the location. Most recruiters will search the Chicago major metro for people currently in it and those willing to move. If your career interests do not state you are willing to move to Chicago, your profile will not appear in the search.
Career settings is a balance of course. Recruiters can see everything you list so try to keep it centered around your real interests. Too many job titles tell recruiters that you don’t have much of a direction.
10. Be You
Within all of this power of building a brand and targeting keywords, you can easily end up creating a version of yourself that no longer represents you. At the end of the day, you don’t want someone to hire fake you. It is not sustainable. You want someone to hire real you.