Nearly 700 million people have LinkedIn profiles. Countless profiles I’ve viewed, though, look as if they have been posted and largely forgotten. They display few connections, and show no posting activity. The headline consists of a job title and company name. All of the narrative is copy-and –paste content from the job seeker’s resume.
LinkedIn profiles like this tell hiring managers that the job seeker is not serious. Think about it. Would you contact a job seeker if their profile offered no new information beyond what you have already learned on their resume? Take advantage of LinkedIn features to get attention. For example:
- Write your own headline,
- Elaborate on job titles,
- Take advantage of the space available to you in narrative dialog boxes,
- Make LinkedIn your online portfolio, and
- Be active on LinkedIn after you establish your profile.
Lots of job seekers I speak with limit their activity on LinkedIn to creating a profile that looks like their resume and do little else with the site. LinkedIn is social media so using it passively may not be effective.
Hiring teams need automated help from platforms like LinkedIn because they receive overwhelming volumes of applications. A recruiter told me, for example, that he received 267 applications in nine days for one job. Google reportedly receives 50,000 resumes per week.
You may recognize some of the tips below from previous posts. LinkedIn is so important now, I thought it was worthwhile to bring a few key tips together in one place and update them.
Write your own LinkedIn headline.
Many job seekers do not realize they can replace the default headline LinkedIn places under their name. You are allowed more than 200 characters so there is more than enough space for a keyword-rich headline that will capture attention.
Recruiters have told me they receive a list of candidates that meet the criteria they set, including their name and LinkedIn headline. The headline will influence whether he or she views your profile.
A client I worked with started with the headline “Senior Software Engineer at TerraSmart.” We expanded it to read “Senior Software Engineer at TerraSmart ★ Embedded Software Engineering ★ Aerospace ★ Renewable Energy ★ Wireless & Cloud ★ Robotics ★IoT | Connect Hardware to the Net ★ Make Drones Fly.”
The headline above should attract attention from recruiters in growing fields such as aerospace and the Internet of Things (IoT), in addition to those filling jobs in his current field of renewable energy.
Elaborate on job titles.
LinkedIn offers far more space than we need to enter our HR or functional job title for each position we have held. We can enter a brief, keyword-rich description of the job, too. For example, we expanded one of my client’s “software engineer” job titles to “Software Designer ►Laser rangefinder and ground control software for military UAV & UGV systems.” The job title, recruiters say, scores highly on LinkedIn recruiting searches so an employer seeking an expert on laser rangefinders or ground control software for UAVs (drones), for example has a better chance of finding this engineer.
Take advantage of the space available in narrative dialog boxes.
LinkedIn now allows up to 2600 characters of text in the “About” and Job Description dialog boxes. Many profiles I’ve looked at use less space in each section. The site raised the size limit more than a year ago, so I think users that haven’t updated their profiles in a while do not realize they now have an opportunity to tell more of their story.
Use LinkedIn as your online portfolio.
Yet another feature of LinkedIn is that it can function as an online portfolio to replace or supplement the binder we often carried with us to interviews in the pre-digital age. You can link to web sites and upload PDF files to many narrative sections including the “About” section and Work Experience blocks. A fashion designer I worked with, for example, included a link to a web site showing her fashion creations.
Surprisingly, recruiters I have spoken with have cautioned it is not a good idea to upload your resume to your LinkedIn profile. There is at least one practical reason for this suggestion, and one marketing reason not to upload your traditional resume.
Your resume will appear as an image when readers click or tap on it if it is attached to your profile. It cannot be downloaded or scanned in a form hiring teams can use and is not searchable.
It is also advantageous for recruiters to request your resume rather than finding it on your profile page. Your resume can be customized for each job you apply to fill. You lose this opportunity if you have a generic version embedded in your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn will allow you to upload your resume as a Word or PDF document when you apply to specific jobs.
Be active on LinkedIn after you establish your profile.
Last, but not least, LinkedIn is social media. It is not a static resume-posting web site. Recruiters say they may not take you seriously, or even find you, if you have fewer than 50 connections. You are also more likely to be found if you participate in industry-related or profession-related LinkedIn groups, and if you post articles to your news feed. The site even has a “stories” feature much like Facebook stories.
So, use LinkedIn to actively market your personal brand!
The points above are just a few ways you can use LinkedIn strategically for job search communications. Speak with us to learn how we can help you make LinkedIn work for you.
These five tips barely scratch the surface. Check back frequently for many more tips in the weeks and months to come.