LinkedIn is one of my favorite topics because it is constantly evolving like a living thing. Even features that have existed for years grow and change. This week, I spoke with two recruiters that source candidates through LinkedIn. I’ve combined their input with my own insights and experience to offer you comments and suggestions.
The LinkedIn features I’ll comment on this week include:
- The Open for Work hashtag,
- Adding a banner to your LinkedIn profile,
- LinkedIn’s Resume Builder, and
- The LinkedIn Career Explorer beta test.
As usual, the comments and suggestions offered below are based on conversations with a small number of people in addition to my experience with clients. Your results may vary. In fact, if your results do vary, let’s discuss it in the comment area below.
Millions of job seekers are using the Open for Work hashtag.
A feature that has sparked recent discussion is #OpenToWork. First, we will talk about LinkedIn’s description of the feature, and then we will briefly note the pros and cons of using this hashtag.
According to LinkedIn Help, “if you’re looking for a job, you can let recruiters and your network on LinkedIn know you’re open to new job opportunities. If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, we’ll help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.”
You can set Open to Work for the feature to inform your network you are applying for jobs, or to only inform recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiter services. The Help page states that “to protect your privacy, we take steps to prevent LinkedIn Recruiter users who work at your company and related companies from seeing your shared career interests, but we can’t guarantee complete privacy.”
Melanie Woods, a recruiter I spoke with during her November 12, 2020 YouTube Live program urged job seekers to take advantage of the #OpenToWork hashtag. She sometimes needs an individual that can start a role immediately. Melanie demonstrated how recruiters can use the LinkedIn Recruiter search function to narrow their search to only those that are “open to work,” and presumably are available to start right away.
Earlier the same week, I spoke with a recruiter that said he does not search for those that say they are “open to work.” He said “no company has ever told me to find a job candidate that is not working.”
The Open to Work feature, or hashtag, has been available for just a few months. Millions of job seekers use the hashtag, according to Melanie, and it can narrow down the number of results a recruiter gets in response to LinkedIn Recruiter searches. So far, I have not seen any indications that job seekers get more and better jobs with or without the hashtag. Add any verifiable statistics or experiences you have in the comment section.
There is no reason, in my opinion, to avoid designating yourself open to work unless you are keeping your search confidential. Hiring teams will assume you are searching for work if you are on LinkedIn, and if you are not in a business role where you use LinkedIn for outreach.
Add a banner to your LinkedIn profile.
Many LinkedIn profiles I’ve looked at have a headshot and a default or nondescript background image instead of using the background strategically. My personal LinkedIn page, and the Resumes that Shine company page I am now updating have banners representing my brand. You can use Canva.com to add taglines to any royalty-free image or image you own, and then upload it to LinkedIn.
The words you add to images will improve the first impression you make on hiring teams searching LinkedIn. Words embedded in images will not be found in searches, though, according to the recruiters I’ve spoken to.
LinkedIn’s Resume Builder offers a learning experience.
A LinkedIn “secret” is that one of the options on your profile page is to have LinkedIn generate a resume for you in PDF format. There are several limitations, and one big plus in this function. Specific limitations include;
- The resume will use your profile wording,
- Your document will be quite long, and
- The PDF document cannot be edited easily.
The biggest issue with the Resume Builder is that it generates a resume with your exact LinkedIn wording. A winning LinkedIn profile is written in a conversational social-media style, and not in the more formal language recruiters and hiring managers expect to see on resumes. You can edit the resume text on LinkedIn without affecting your profile text on the site, but LinkedIn will not give you an MS-Word file you can edit and reformat.
My LinkedIn profile does not use all the space available. Nonetheless, the resume I generated from it was four pages long! Traditional business resumes, such as those I write for my clients, including those found here, are one or two pages long.
There is one feature I found useful. I gave the Builder a job title I would use if I were a job seeker—Senior Career Advisor–and got back the two lists below. The first list included keywords that are in my resume now, and the second list included keywords I should add that hiring teams may search for when seeking senior career advisors. Here is an excerpt from the output I received.
Senior Career Advisor keywords found in your resume:
- Career Counseling
- Job Search Strategies
- Job Search
The Builder went on to list keywords I should consider adding:
- Human Resources (HR)
- Leadership Development
- Staff Development
- Organizational Development
- Personal Development
- Program Development
- Career Development
- Talent Management
- Resume Writing
- Performance Management
- Employee Relations
- HR Consulting
- Executive Coaching
- Student Affairs
- Personnel Management
LinkedIn stated “We recommend only including these keywords in the context of your experience. Do not list them without qualification, or if you do not actually have this experience.” This is excellent advice.
LinkedIn is beta-testing a career exploration feature.
I experimented with the Career Exploration Tool LinkedIn is currently testing. Again, I told LinkedIn the title I would transition into if I sought a job—career advisor—and it told me I was a “93% match” for the role. Then the function suggested areas for career development.
Among other things, the page generated a short list of “skills to build,” including:
- Leadership Development,
- Student Counseling,
- Recruiting, and
- Mock Interviews.
The Career Exploration Tool gave me a 67% match with an Academic Advisor position. This is probably accurate since I have never worked in a university setting.
This feature, to me, is a starting point for career exploration. Perhaps, its value lies with helping job seekers avoid applying for jobs they have little chance of qualifying for. Recognize also that the results are not based on validated formal career or personality assessments, or on widely accepted informal assessments.
Everyone wins when job seekers apply for the jobs they are best suited for, and hiring teams are able to find job seekers that are both qualified and eager for the jobs.LinkedIn’s artificial intelligence and other features may start the process of matching you with the right job. We will add more than 20 years of real-world expertise to the process of preparing your resume and profile. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation.