Finding a job during these difficult times can be hard for almost every type of professional, so you want to give yourself every advantage possible. The social networking age has changed the way that we get jobs and make career connections. One of the best ways to attract potential employers is by having a strong LinkedIn profile that is easy to find by employers.
According to recent research, more than 85% of employers use LinkedIn to find new hires. How can you make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the millions of others so that recruiters and hiring managers will find you? (And perhaps more importantly, want to follow up with you after they find you.) Here are some tips for remaking your LinkedIn profile so that you can land that job of your dreams. Or, if you’re not that picky, just a job.
You’re not looking for job.
That’s right, even though you are looking for job, you’re not just looking for any job. It seems counter-intuitive, but employers want what they can’t have, not what’s easily available. Remove that blaring “I’M LOOKING FOR A JOB” text on your LinkedIn profile. Tone all job search references down – concentrate on making yourself look more desirable and less desperate. Your profile should reflect an accomplished professional in the exact field and industry in which you want to get a new position. You’re not looking for a job. Repeat that to yourself again. You’re instead a professional open to opportunities in ABC. You want to make your career with a company that ABC.
Make your headline clear and concise.
Your headline is what recruiters will see first about you. Many people try to use certain buzzwords that are cliché and are used over and over again. Try to clearly state what you can offer to an employer, using keywords that they will search for. You will also want to make sure that you are not limiting yourself in your headline. If you are currently a vice president or higher up, but are willing to start in a job that is not senior management, it might be wise to leave the vice president off of your job title in your headline. You want to leave the possibilities as open as possible while conveying what you have most experience in.
Remember that you’re designing your headline after what employers want to search for, not to brag to other professionals in your industry. If you’re a Project Manager, write that, not “A Seasoned Executive Consultant with Project Experience.” In other words, don’t try to make yourself something you’re not – make it easy for people to figure out what you do. Stay simple, specific, and positive when writing about your skills and experience.
Write a direct, informative summary and experience section.
Your summary and experience section should tell a clear and concise story about your work history. Most managers will scan this section fairly quickly, so make sure that the most important information is at the beginning of the summary to catch their interest and draw them in. Use specific examples and clearly point out your results in past jobs.
The specialties section is a great place to put keywords for search, but do not overstuff. Just put a few of the most important words that describe you to make your profile easy to be found in searches by managers.
Remember that the summary and experience section, as well as the specialties area, is the place to show what you are made of and to really sell yourself to employers who have found your profile. Put most of your effort and focus into these vital sections.
Feature a few solid recommendations.
Only feature a couple of recommendations, as more than that can be overkill and can jumble your profile. Any old or outdated postings should be removed when you are starting your job search so that recruiters can see the most up to date and relevant referrals. This way, they can contact people who have most recently recommended you.
With recommendations, pay more attention to who is recommending you than what they are saying about you. A management level reference from your current or recent employer is fantastic. Shoot for senior people in the industry in which you are most likely to find work. You can also use strategy here – want to work at a particular company? If you have a friend or know an employee there, have them recommend your work.
You can easily remake your LinkedIn profile for job search with a few key changes. Do not exaggerate or build yourself up with adjectives, but use examples of quantifiable results to show a manager what you can bring to their company.
After your profile is shaped up, stay present on LinkedIn by joining industry groups and posting interesting news about your field. Connect to as many relevant people in your field as you can. Note that the people you connect will then see your activity on their homepage – this is your change to keep yourself top of mind. When jobs open up, consistent activity could make the difference between getting the call and not. Good luck out there!