This week, I’m returning to one of my favorite topics—LinkedIn—after discussions with job seekers, watching LinkedIn videos and reading blog posts about LinkedIn. Job-seekers and others that have used LinkedIn for some time know the platform constantly changes. We don’t get a vote, so to speak, so LinkedIn members have to adjust to the changes.
A few LinkedIn changes I’ve become aware of recently include:
- The #OpenToWork hashtag and section available to some users,
- More space for your LinkedIn headline,
- A rebranded and expanded LinkedIn summary section,
- A “Stories” feature is being tested that looks similar to other social media platforms, and
- A name pronunciation audio clip is available on the mobile app.
In addition, I’ve had several discussions with job-seekers about their strategy for dealing with their COVID-19-related employment gap. This is so important, I think it is worth recapping although the conversation overlaps with previous blog posts.
LinkedIn roles out new features gradually, so you may not find the fields, field sizes, or other new items on your profile yet.
A new section called #OpenToWork is becoming available.
Yesterday, I opened an unemployed job-seeker’s profile and saw a new section referred to as #OpenToWork. LinkedIn offered to create this section on my profile when I clicked on the #OpenToWork frame on that member’s profile photo.
The Open to Work dialogue asked me to add:
- Up to 5 job titles I am seeking,
- Up to 5 preferred locations,
- Job types, including, full-time, part-time, contract, intermittent, remote, (You can make multiple selections), and
- Whether you want your search visible to all members or only recruiters that use LinkedIn recruiter products.
Clients frequently ask me whether recruiters from their own company will see that they are searching for work. LinkedIn says “we take steps not to show recruiters at your current company you’re open to new jobs, but we can’t guarantee complete privacy.”
Consider carefully whether or not to use the hashtag and section if it is available for your profile. A college career advisor pointed out in a YouTube video for his students, the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will notice upon opening your profile is the hashtag around your face, rather than your headline. First impressions are important online, just as they are when we interact with hiring managers and recruiters personally. You may want hiring managers to see your headline telling them what you offer, instead of advertising your needs up front.
Nonetheless, #OpenToWork is an option for those that are in an active full-time job search. It is advantageous to let everyone know when you are looking for a new job.
You may use more characters in a LinkedIn headline.
The LinkedIn platform has given members a 120 character “Headline” field under the member name for a long time. An expanded 240 character headline has started becoming available to members over the last few months. I expanded my own profile headline to 136 characters this morning.
Headlines ought to be brief by definition, so I am reluctant to write such a lengthy headline. Your headline should draw the reader in, and not tell the whole story. Furthermore, only a portion of the headline may be visible on a smartphone screen.
It’s nice to avoid unnecessary abbreviations in the headline now that more space is available. Most of us will not need 240 characters, though.
LinkedIn has changed the summary section.
There are big changes to the summary section. Both are good, in my opinion. The first, made last year, is that it is now called the “about” section. This is great because it signals that members should write a good social-media-style professional profile opening, instead of pasting in their resume summary.
Even better, the new about section has been expanded to 2600 characters instead of 2000 characters. That should leave you enough room to start with your elevator pitch, add two or three accomplishments, hard-skill highlights and a call to action, including contact information.
LinkedIn is testing a Stories feature.
Another feature that could be “coming soon” to your LinkedIn experience is “Stories.” It is being tested in certain overseas markets. Stories appears to work like similar features on Facebook and Instagram.
According to LinkedIn Help “LinkedIn Stories is a feature that enables members and organizations to share images and short videos of their everyday professional moments… LinkedIn shares Stories that you post for 24 hours.”
Of course, I could not try this feature since it is unavailable in the United States. Posts that last 24 hours are probably of limited value on LinkedIn. We should be aware this feature may emerge given its common use on other social media sites.
Thank you to Mark Warncken, a YouTube social media selling expert in Australia for making me aware of this potential new feature via his channel.
Use your phone to add a voice on your intro card.
Mark’s YouTube channel also made me aware of another feature—pronunciation voice recording—that is available only on a mobile device. A record icon appears next to your name when you edit your profile intro, and lets you record a 10-second sound bite. This feature does work here in the US, unlike Stories, although I think it is most valuable to those of us that are tired of hearing our names mangled. It may also add a great first impression if your voice is an important part of your brand.
LinkedIn “penalizes” your profile if you do not show a current employer.
As many readers know, I advocate avoiding an employment gap on your resume by remaining active in freelance and volunteer projects. A client demonstrated that this is especially important on LinkedIn.
A client left his job in part because he had an offer pending that he intended to accept once finalized. As a result, he changed “2019 to present” to “2019 – 2020” on his profile, and then contacted me with a question. LinkedIn now asked him to enter a current employer. This implied that LinkedIn would give his profile less weight in search results. Another expert I checked with agreed this was the case.
Fortunately, my client did get his offer within days, and accepted it, so we did not need to take action. This is yet another reason to think strategically if you are between jobs as a result of the pandemic.
Don’t go it alone.
As usual, we are here to help with your individual LinkedIn profile strategy. Click here to schedule your one-on-one review. The LinkedIn features we have discussed here are relatively new, and may change without notice. Please share your experience with us in the comments, or email Frank@ResumesThatShine.com if your experience shows LinkedIn works differently from the way I described it. We’ll update the blog with credit.