In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn is kind of a big deal. It is a great networking and business building tool. It is a phenomenal tool for those who desire to make a change in their career. According to a survey by career website Jobvite, 93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits. That bears repeating:
93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits
If you are having a career itch and not sure what you need to do – I think that statistic points you in the direction of LinkedIn. However, just being on LinkedIn is not enough. You need to accomplish two things: be found and create interest.
Title me: I am not a fan of titles; however, they are a default search criteria. Make sure you list your current and past positions, times and companies in the experience section.
Not being a fan of titles, I would caution you to not depend on titles alone. A title does not convey your value – it is your job to convey your value. Leverage the space in the experience section and summary to demonstrate value. More on this in a bit.
Use keywords: do not let this freak you out. I know there is a lot of emphasis on keywords – especially in this very ATS system driven world – but take a step back. Look at your industry, position and desired next steps – what are the keywords that you know? If you boil it down, there probably aren’t as many as you fear.
Do a little research, look up profiles of those in the position you desire (if a move) or in your position (if a lateral). Search job boards for open positions or job descriptions. Then compare.
A super simple way to compare different sources of information is to use online tools like WordCounter.com. Simply copy and paste the job description or profile into the box, click on “No” to exclude small words like “it” and “the”, decide if you want words grouped by root word or variations and select how many words on your list (25-200). Bam! You are done. You can then compare the results across the board to get a sense of the most commonly used words to identify keywords!
Write smart: It is as important to have keywords in your profile as it is to use them correctly. Use them fluidly in your sentences throughout your summary, experience, title section etc. If you have difficulty incorporating a lot of keywords, never fear – use a “Strengths” or similarly titled section at the end of your summary to list out those keywords.
Your value: Your title does not convey your value, nor does your job duties. Those are things that you were hired to do. Potential employers do not care what you were hired to do, they care what you did or do. Be active. Tell them who you work with, how you work with them, what you do and how someone benefits from this. It transitions a mere job duty into a demonstration of value. It also allows you to tell your story without feeling or sounding like you are bragging.
Now that you are showing up on someone’s radar – are you worth the look? This is where you need to create interest. Here is the second area I believe a lot of people struggle with their LinkedIn profile. What seems to help the most is to understand the difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Different conversations: Your resume is an arm’s length conversation. You do not know who is going to read it, it is written in a different style of writing, it uses the assumed “I” and it just sounds weird to read out loud.
Your LinkedIn is a one-on-one conversation with the person(s) you want to read your profile. Do not write your profile for everyone, you do not care if all 460+ million members read it. We will touch back on this in just a moment, back to the conversation. Think about your summary as though you were sitting at a coffee house with someone from that group and they asked you to tell them about yourself. How you answer that in a business, casual environment is basically your summary.
Put you in there: This is where people want to see more of YOU. They can read or ask for your resume, they want to see you in your LinkedIn. The beauty of the summary is twofold: it is limited to 2,000 characters so you have to be strategic and not given the chance to write a novel. Second, you get to say anything you want! Bring in unique things about you that you want them to know about you – as long as it is important to them.
Who is reading: This leads us back to knowing who you want to read your profile. Answering this question is critical to determine the answer to the second most important question: what is important to them? The answers to these two questions will drive your content.
What’s important: In your desired next position what are the metrics for outstanding performance, what is going on in the industry, what are some challenges of the industry/company, what do they need the most etc. Being armed with this information, you can position yourself as the solution in an engaging manner that incorporates you into your LinkedIn making them want to reach out to you. You have the skills/abilities/knowledge/experience they need and you are a real person – bingo!
Keep momentum: LinkedIn is not a one and done. Once you have your profile, or even while working on it, you must be active to raise the chances of being found. Activity raises you higher in the results. Don’t fret over this, you do not have to spend hours on LinkedIn every day to make a difference. Just a few minutes throughout the day will do it. Connect to invitations, send invitations to connect, share content, join groups and contribute. Do this a few minutes at a time throughout the day and, with the right content, you will start creeping up that results page.
It is work: Is there some research involved in writing a searchable and readable LinkedIn profile? Yes! Is there a lot of rewriting? Heck Yes! The first round you might get the hang of what is important to the position they want. The second round you start bringing in how you are a solution. The third round you start bringing in their personality. The fourth round you realize it is way too darn long! The fifth round you ruthlessly edit to make sure it covers all the important points, sounds like you, offers those keywords and meets the space limit.
Being found and understood is worth all that work. Just remember these key points:
- Complete your profile: names, dates, titles etc.
- Use keywords: in all areas of your LinkedIn: summary, experience, title etc.
- Know your audience: Know who you are talking to and what is important to them
- Have a conversation: talk to your audience as though they were sitting across the table from you
- Speak their language: demonstrate how you solve their problems
- Be active: respond, share, reach out and connect – this builds your network and raises you up on the results pages
Here is another article that you might find helpful in vamping up your profile: 5 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile is Killing Your Personal Brand and How to Fix Them
Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that if all this seems too overwhelming or time consuming for you, well, that is what I am here for!
A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
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