I joined LinkedIn back when you had to get invited to join and there were less than one million users on it. As of October 2015, LinkedIn reported more than 400 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories. Over the years, I have gained some knowledge on how to maximize the use of LinkedIn by reading various articles and listening to LinkedIn expert’s presentations. I am sharing some of those in this blog so that others may find it useful.
LinkedIn is currently the most popular recruiting tool used by businesses today. The LinkedIn profile offers a great opportunity for job seekers to stand out. You must build a professional brand online as a way to stand out – the better the profile, the better the chances employers/recruiters will find and reach out to you about employment and other opportunities. I have read/heard somewhere that four out of five hiring managers review a candidate’s profile online before contacting or interviewing them.
Your goal is to get noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager, who often has only few seconds to review your profile, it can help to include a professional summary at the top of your profile. This short section should highlight your unique strengths in either paragraph or bullet form. This is your opportunity to quickly sell yourself by calling out what you can bring to the role and why a hiring manager should contact you.
When you are in the job market, provide your contact information somewhere on the profile so that anyone not connected with you on LinkedIn, has a way to reach you.
Here are some ways that you can stand out:
- Have a professional head-shot: Your profile picture can be one of the most important elements of your LinkedIn presence. Invest in a professional head shot for your picture, it really makes a big difference in perception.
- Have a killer headline that tells your audience at little bit about you. It should contain your current job title and then add keywords/phrases to promote your brand statement.
Your goal is to be found on LinkedIn and to do that, you have to get your profile rank higher so that you come up on the first page of a LinkedIn search when someone does a key word search. You can check your LinkedIn profile ranking among your connections here.
Put your recruiter’s hat on and ask yourself what you would type into your search box if you are trying to fill the position for which you are applying. For example, a recruiter looking for a product development person with international experience might search for ‘product development,’ ‘international’ and ‘negotiation.’ If your LinkedIn profile is missing those words, it would most likely not rise to the top of the search result. Tailoring your LinkedIn profile starts with using the words and phrases that companies might use to find people with your experience. Go to the online job boards (ex. Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, etc.) and review job descriptions for roles you’re interested in next, and take note of the recurring words and phrases. These are the keywords you want to pack into your profile. You should pick not more than 7 keywords and try to have a repeat of these words in your headline, summary, experience and other sections noted below. Jobscan is a great website that you can use to analyze how well your resume/profile matches a job description. Sometimes recruiters search by certain technical terms in order to find candidates who would know what they are talking about. So, include technical terms used within the industry if you are in a technical job.
These are sections on LinkedIn which influence your profile ranking:
- Job Title
- Specialties within the ‘Summary’ section’
- Experience (only job title at the employer)
- Education (School name, field of study and activities & society)
- Additional information (Interest and Groups & Associations)
- Recommendations (try to have at least 10)
- Skills & Endorsements
Your Profile should be 100% “complete” (a.k.a. “All Star”) per LinkedIn standards. And you can be an “All Star” by completing all the sections of your profile. Remember, this “All Star” is very important as it effects you ranking on LinkedIn.
Getting found on LinkedIn:
If you are not the 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connection or a group member of a recruiter or hiring manager, then you will not show up in the beginning of the search result when these folks do a search on LinkedIn. So, you need to connect to as many recruiters or employees of your target companies. Here is how to find and connect with them:
Step 1: Click on ‘Advance’ search on the top menu bar
Step 2: On the ‘Advance People Search’ page, click on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Group + Everyone Else boxes under ‘Relationship’. For Title type in “recruiter,” “head hunter,” and “human resources” and type in the keyword of the space these recruiters hire in. In the example below, I am searching for recruiters who hire folks in the Information Technology sector.
Step 3: On the search results page, do not click the ‘Connect’ button as this will send out a generic invitation. Instead you should go to the member’s profile page and from there send them a personalized invitation to connect. You will get a better acceptance rate this way.
Few other helpful tips:
Custom URL: Look for your LinkedIn assigned URL, just a few lines down from the title. Click the pencil icon to change your LinkedIn public profile URL. Enter your name as you would like it to appear in your custom LinkedIn public profile URL. Click ‘save.’
Groups: I think now LinkedIn allows you to join up to 99 groups. You should join groups in your space and be actively involved by posting or commenting on posts on these groups.
Posting on LinkedIn Pulse: Posting on Pulse is another great way to showcase your expertise and brand. You will also get lot of profile views by doing this.
Before you start updating your profile, you may want to turn this setting below to ‘No’ if you don’t want to notify your network with every change you make.
If we are not connected on LinkedIn, add me as a connection. Also, if there are other useful tips that you would like me to add here, please leave a comment below.