Is Your LinkedIn Profile Telling Recruiters To Ignore You?

waiting for the phone to ring

With so many articles, tips and advice on crafting your LinkedIn profile, some might wonder – is LinkedIn really an important tool for transitioning in your career?

Yes.

Not because Career Coaches and Branding Professionals like me say it is, research provides the numbers:

89% of recruiters use LinkedIn to fill positions
94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn can be instrumental in your career progression, transition and trajectory. It allows you to broadcast your personal brand in the professional arena and cultivate a strong presence. If you can be found.

How Recruiters Use LinkedIn

Recruiters utilize LinkedIn to research candidates, companies and employees. Investigating companies and existing employees allows them to get a sense of the company culture in order to recruit the best possible candidate. With an effective profile, recruiters can identify candidates that fit their clients’ environment, expectations and value required.

Recruiters also leverage LinkedIn for networking as an ideal way to expand their network and build referral sources.

What Recruiters Want To See in Your LinkedIn Profile

Here are six vital areas that recruiters focus on when reviewing a profile. Having all six areas complete, in the most impactful way, demonstrates that you are worth their time and effort to research and contact.

1. A Complete Profile

A bone structure of a profile is not enough. It conveys to the reader that, although aware that this is a valuable tool, you do not care enough about your profile to leverage it. Not the message you want to send to someone who could help catapult your career.

To be considered a complete profile, you should be at All-Star Status.

For a quick reference on achieving this status, click here LinkedIn All Star Status Rocks – How To Reach It In 7 Steps.

2. Photo

Your photo should be professional, current and in line with your industry and position; or the position that you want.

For tips on capturing your best photo, click here: LinkedIn Profile Pictures – This is NOT Facebook

3. Recommendations

Recommendations are icing on the cake. What an easy and impactful way to reinforce your value. It is important that your recommendations support your selling statement and key points as a candidate.

To ensure your recommendations are working for you, click here: 5 Steps For LinkedIn Recommendations That Work For You

4. Activity/Engagement

Being connected and active increases your LinkedIn SEO and demonstrates your level of commitment in your job search and industry. Connect with groups, thought leaders and the LinkedIn community answering questions, posting/sharing articles, endorsing members of your network and updating your profile when relevant.

The size of your network also can demonstrate your business savvy. The opinions vary; however, the general rule of thumb is under 50 connections and you are dipping your toe in the water; 50-100 connections you have a good starting point; 300-400 connections you are one savvy cat; over 500 connections, you rock.

5. Results

Having an All Star status profile might get them to your page, now you need to give them something to read. Demonstrate your passion, engagement, effectiveness and value by doing three things:

✔ Using Action Words – throughout your summary and experience
✔ Demonstrate Value – tell how you do what you do rather than giving job descriptions
✔ Highlighting Accomplishments – give numbers when possible and feature the impact you made on an organization, team, position or client experience

6. Relevance

Relevance is similar to results; however the difference is in building a history of trajectory or a case for transition into a new industry. Throughout your experience and within your summary, paint the picture of the path to where you are going next.

Tell the story in a way that builds from one position to the next highlighting your responsibilities, accomplishments, skills and abilities as natural progression. This is your story; tell it in a way that you want the reader to understand. They may not be able to see the correlation of how one job to the next was a benefit in your career progression – it is your job to tell them in way they can understand..

Additional tips and links to help you boost your profile and catch that recruiter’s eye:

1. Accurate Title. Your title should match what is used on your resume as a matter of integrity; you do not want to explain a made up title or one that cannot be verified.

2. Value Title. If you are in between jobs, guard against using, “Unemployed” “Seeking Opportunity” or listing current volunteer/nonprofit activity.

The volunteer activity as a job title could be misconstrued as you work for the organization. It also weakens your SEO by misaligning with your preferred industry/position, if unrelated.

Create a job title that would be similar to a headline if you held the position you desired. For example, incorporate the position: Inventory Manager with your value: Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction with industry: Health Care. Now you can put them all together as:

Inventory Manager Looking to Increase Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction in Health Care
3. Include Industry. Statistics indicate that profiles with an industry listed are 15 times more likely to be viewed as those without.

4. Keywords. Utilize keywords in your title, summary, experience and headline. Quick tip: use a space between keywords, for example: use sales / marketing instead of sales/marketing to ensure search engines recognize both words.

For a refresher on how and where to use keywords, click on this article: How & Where to Best Use Keywords for LinkedIn Profile SEO.

5. Completed Job History. Give accounts for your last three positions, if possible. These descriptions should not be a detailed career history or resume, rather they should be a highlight of your responsibilities, skills and expertise. Leverage the description as a conversation starter, not the full story.

6. Leverage White Space. These are humans reading your profile, make it easy and inviting for them to read. Use short paragraphs and think about – sparingly – using characters.

For a plethora of special character options for LinkedIn, click here: Character Limits & Special Characters For LinkedIn Profiles

7. Your Voice To Tell Your Story. Your story should demonstrate the value you bring to an organization and answer any potential questions. Write it as though you were sitting across from your audience and answering the question, “Tell me about yourself”.

For tips on finding and using your voice in your LinkedIn summary, click here: LinkedIn – Pick Your Voice & Stick With It

With the right profile, LinkedIn is a wonderful platform and strong partner in building your network, showcasing your brand and draws opportunities directly to you.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am a Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, sales teams, leadership and companies to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

In other words: I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about Career Polish and what we can do to help you.

But This Is All I Know

We are a world of boxes; we quickly create our own little boxes and find comfort so we never expand beyond those lines.  Comfort does not always equate to happiness, it may be simply a matter of familiarity.  “It’s not great, but it’s not that bad” is a clue that you are not happy, you are comfortable; perhaps comfortable in misery.

 

Part of my job is to help my clients, workshop attendees or those present at speaking engagements to get out of their own heads and boxes.   If you made the box you can break it down and create whatever shape you choose to surround yourself in.  I’m more of a wavy line kinda girl myself.

 

So often I will talk to a client who has worked in a certain position or industry for an extended period of time and have assumed this job/industry as part of their identity.  A big clue to this line of thinking is when you hear someone introduce themselves as a specific job title; i.e. “I’m a Banker”, “I’m a Compliance Officer”, “I’m a Secretary” etc.

 

First and foremost you are not a title – I’ve said it thousands of times before and I will continue to do so.  The only title I assume is Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Niece or Cousin.  Only family related and my most prized title is Mother.  No matter what I do in my lifetime first, last and always I am Jake’s mom.

 

So how do you break beyond those walls to re-create your shape?  The first thing is to start asking, and answering, some questions.  Start with the biggie: what do you do?  And let me just say – I do not care what your job is, you add value.  You do not just perform a task, you add value.  Remember this, refer back to it and remind yourself as you go through your questions.

 

Let’s look at two different positions to see how they can identify their value to move beyond where they are to where they want to go: a Business Banker and a Delivery Driver.

 

At first blush in answering the “what do you do” question they could answer, respectively:

 

“I help businesses with their banking needs” and

“I deliver packages to people”

 

But is that all they do? NO!

 

The banker must build a relationship with their clients to gain their trust to gain full access to their entire business picture; they must compile an immense amount of information; they analyze all the data and factors; they must utilize business savvy to see the current and future picture; they must learn their client’s business landscape to fully understand the goals; they create plans with actionable items in order for their clients to make informed decisions; they help them identify their current goals and long term objectives.

 

The delivery driver must adhere to a strict schedule and utilize time management and problem solving skills when challenges arise; they must utilize prioritization skills to make immediate adjustments in order to fulfill expectations; they build relationships with each contact; they must maintain a professional image no matter the situation; they must think on their feet and immediately utilize problem solving and/or conflict resolution skills; they employ organizational skills throughout the day and they maintain flexibility throughout the day balancing efficiency with every changing and demanding conditions.

 

A lot more than helping with banking needs and delivering packages, huh?

 

Not once in those explanations did you see a title; again, you are not a title.  You provide value in performing duties.   Relationship building, organization, analysis, problem solving – those are all skills utilized by both.  Which brings me to an important point: when looking at what you do start identifying the skills that you employ to perform these tasks.

 

Do you see how you start moving away from a title and more toward skills, value and assets?  Once you can start to identify these then you can take a whole new approach to your job searching.  Instead of looking for titles or positions that fit where you have always been; start looking for positions that meet your skill set.  These positions could be completely different that what you have ever done or in a whole new industry.

 

Stop looking at the job titles when looking for a job – start looking at the job itself.  If it is something that tickles your fancy then do an analysis.  What skills do they require and have you utilized these skills in the past and how can you demonstrate that to the prospective employer?

 

By looking at your job or previous jobs from a perspective of what did you do rather than this is all I know you will begin to see those walls crumble and allow yourself to open up to all sorts of possibilities that exist for you beyond that box.

 

Quick note:

 

I am working with The Grindstone to kick off Career Connect – an interactive speaker series to help people with various career experiences.  On March 1 I’ll start the series off speaking about career transition.  To find out more about this and sign up to join please go to http://thegrindstone.com/career-management/interactive-career-advice-series-756/#comments!

 

I highly encourage you to attend these sessions – they have lined up some fantastic speakers and I am so honored to be included in the list, let alone kick it off!

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com

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