Six Secrets to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile So You Can Land the Interview

 

Get a Job Search Superhero on your team!

To answer the question “does having a professionally written, completed and keyword optimized LinkedIn profile really get it looked at by more recruiters?” one only has to ask: where/who do YOU turn to when you need something? When you need to find an auto mechanic, a plumber, a way to get restaurant food delivered to your home, an answer to self-diagnose a suspected illness (although I wouldn’t recommend this), and just about any question you can think of = you search the internet. Therefore, to cut the job search process in half job-seekers must accept that their skills are now best highlighted on the web. LinkedIn has become that platform even more than before since their purchase by Microsoft. With Microsoft’s dominance in cloud based Office 365 software, their goal of LinkedIn becoming a go-to place for recruiters to find candidates was an easy pivot.

Everyone has likely heard about “keyword resumes,” and how keywords that match the job advertisement are critical for your résumé being selected for the interview. But did you know that it is even more important to write a powerful, keyword infused LinkedIn headline that offers a value proposition and gets you noticed? Did you know that having a well-written summary with results oriented statements can get you selected for the next step of an interview? Yes, the résumé is important and is your entry-ticket to the interview, but you will job search while you sleep if you have a well written and optimized LinkedIn profile. See some action steps below to do it yourself, or setup a time to chat with us if you want us to handle it all for you.

1) USE THE KEYWORDS AND ACRONYMS RELATED TO YOUR INDUSTRY 
Different recruiters type alternate keywords into their searches, so to raise your chances of being found use common variations of the keywords in your LinkedIn summary, and skills section. For example, if you want a job in New York, use the word “New York,” and/or “New York City,” the abbreviation “NYC” and the postal code “NY” wherever you can on your LinkedIn profile. This way when a recruiter types in a filtered or specific search for a job-seeker from NYC you stand a better chance of being one of the profile results returned in their search.

Keywords are crucial to your job search

2) DON’T SAY YOU ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY

Instead, use that precious profile real estate space that ranks high in a search to promote what you can do for a new employer. If you were an employer or recruiter looking at a LinkedIn profile, who would you call in for an interview? The person who has this headline for their LinkedIn profile:

“Looking forward to my next opportunity where I can lend my talents to a productive team.”

                                                                         OR 

 
Director of Sales Emerging Markets ► identify & evaluate opportunities ► develop & execute strategy ► drive sales growth

Obviously the 2nd headline is not only more of an eye catcher telling me what the person’s general career role has been, how they work, and the positive results of their work, all including many keywords (in italic) that usually appear in the job advertisements that person is targeting.

3) ADD ALL RELEVANT SKILLS FOR YOUR TARGET JOB INDUSTRY

When the ‘endorsements’ feature was first added to LinkedIn many though it was pointless to endorse others. How could folks that did not know you possibly endorse you for the work? Well, the endorsements have not gone away and people that connect with you see your posts and learn about your expertise. The skills section while not ranking as high in a search as the headline and summary do, still count as keywords. You should think of all the acronyms, and different skills related to your target industry and add them. Don’t forget to move them around and place the ones you wish to be recognized for up at the top as most folks when prompted will endorse you on the top three skills displayed.

4) DON’T JUST COPY AND PASTE YOUR RESUME

When LinkedIn first started many were copying and pasting their résumé into the job description sections and calling it a day. That is not an accepted practice today since recruiters and potential employers will always seek you out on LinkedIn and are looking to find out more about you. We now write the LinkedIn summary in first person, in a business casual tone, that includes results based statements about how your work has impacted previous employers in a positive way. We need to remember to write our work summaries so we come across as an “achiever” and not simply a “doer.” So as you write your new LinkedIn summary think not so much about what you did for past employers, but think about what the positive results were because of your daily work.

5) ADD AN INDUSTRY RELATED BANNER IMAGE

Go to a site like https://pexels.com and search your industry keywords to see what free banners are available. This website gives you many free downloads to choose from. Some images will be Adobe stock which are on sale for reasonable prices if you really must have that specific image. But there are enough free images that you can easily replace the default LinkedIn teal section above your profile photo. You can also make yourself a keyword banner for free by copying and pasting your résumé into the website https://wordle.net and trying different color patterns and keyword variations in the image you will convert into a banner.

Don’t forget to add a banner related to your target industry or just a pretty sunset

6) ADD A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE PHOTO VISIBLE TO ALL

Resist the temptation of using an old wedding photo and cropping someone out, or a car selfie, or an outdoors hiking photo unless you’re a business dude running that type of business. Certain LinkedIn users will use a photo that represents their brand or niche like I did with my own cartoon-like profile photo. I chose this because I wear the label of Job Search Superhero so I felt the comic art was appropriate for my brand. I am also an artist who has a passion for superheroes and have been drawing them since I was a teenager. However, LinkedIn profile image best practices recommended by seasoned writers across the USA agree that a profile photo should be taken of you wearing at minimum business casual attire and sitting or standing in front of a light-colored background. The tools built into LinkedIn will help you resize the image but it is best if it is shot from about three to five feet away and from the chest up.

In closing, there are many actions you can take to promote your career brand online that will get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. But you have to work your social media like you worked your job because every keyboard click on LinkedIn signals you are an active user and raises your profile in searches. You have to join LinkedIn groups and engage in conversation or post your own articles and conversation. All of this connects you with the people that could potentially hire you, or steer you towards your next work gig. Job searching in the digital job market is not for the faint of heart. But I have faith that you can do it! We are here to help

Follow our YouTube channel for more #JobSearchTips 

 

 

What You May Be Doing Wrong with Your Résumé and Why It’s Costing You the Interview

By Mill Montejo – The #JobSearchSuperhero

 

Why do job seekers insist on using one-page fancy/sexy resumes with photos that are hurting their chances of being selected for the interview? 

They’re sexy and short but the ATS doesn’t like them. Use them for the interview ONLY instead.

 

The answer here is that whoever is passing along this information must not be doing the research by speaking to the engineers of companies like Adobe, and the makers of ATS systems. If they did, they would realize that “No, lean/short résumés don’t really work with today’s ATS systems. Résumés have been getting longer and longer for more than ten years now. There are still recruiters who suggest one-page résumés, which is 1990s thinking. The nature of the workplace has changed dramatically since then. Young people can expect to change jobs 15 times or more during their careers, and even if they stay with the same company longer than 5 years, product-to-market times are so short that a résumé will contain lots of significant projects and title changes.”

-Pat Criscito – CPRW

Artificial Intelligence is the “first impression” that gets you the interview now.

 

 

Not only do short one page resumes not offer enough space to write all the keywords necessary to be scored higher by the ATS, but they don’t allow you to create enough white space for readability, and to include all the relevant information for consideration. “The most important thing is to get the résumé selected from the ATS system in the first place. Otherwise, it won’t be read at all. If that means the résumé has to be a bit longer, then so be it.” -Pat Criscito.

 

So the fancy one page resumes created in Adobe Photoshop, or PowerPoint with the candidates photograph on it are likely not being seen by a human because 1) they do not parse well when uploaded/submitted through a website, 2) if they are in PDF format there is a chance they will not be seen, and 3) the inclusion of the candidate’s photograph is actually frowned upon by most HR Dept’s because they want to avoid the appearance of practicing any “ageism” in their hiring practices.

 

A longer resume allows for additional keywords and white space for readability.

 

What is it about keywords and how can I make sure I’m using them correctly?

Our resident Job Search Superhero at The Talent Mill writes lots about keywords, keywords, keywords. The reason is that this is where the initial recruiting and hiring process is handled. With so many applicants applying to limited jobs companies employ the help of machine learning software first before a human even sees the resume. This makes it a priority for either you or your resume writer to always identify targeted keywords from the job advertisement you are pursuing, and work to insert them into appropriate sections of your career document.

Please DO NOT believe the misguided advice that résumés should only be one page in length. At the National Resume Writers Association, writers subscribe to the idea that a modern, professional resume should be “as long as it needs to be to present relevant, concise information that will properly position the candidate and distinguish them from the competition. If that can be accomplished in one page fine, but we should not get hung up on the length of the resume as long as it includes relevant and targeted information.”

-Norine D’Agliano – Résumé Writer & Trainer

You should also keep in mind that a longer resume can create more keyword density and is likely to be scored higher by the Applicant Tracking System. Optimizing your resume with targeted keywords from the job ad is an excellent strategy when you are trying to work less at your job search. A keyword-dense resume will help recruiters find and contact you instead of the other way around.

In this digital job market each resume must be targeted to the job advertisement keywords.

 

Why are “keywords” so crucial in today’s job search?

Even though you must first know what problems companies in your target industry are having that they need to solve in order to sell your skills to them, using the right keywords is the first ticket to the interview because they will be reviewed and selected by a software search string (whatever the recruiter or hiring managers enter). Keywords are job-specific terms, industry-specific language and abbreviation, jargon, acronyms, and even buzzwords.” Keywords in a resume should mirror the industry and employer language. See some examples of industry keywords below that should also be inserted into LinkedIn and your resume to help them match you to open jobs.

  • Degrees (e.g., “MBA,” “BA in Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing”)
  • Industry Certifications (e.g., “CCNA,” “CPA,” “CFA,” “MCP” “CPRW” “NCRW” “ACRW”)
  • Job Titles (e.g., “District Manager,” “Pharmaceutical Sales,” “Administrative Assistant,” “Operations Manager”)
  • Job Functions (e.g., “Office Management,” “Payroll,” “Grant Writing”)
  • Computer Applications (e.g., “MS Office Suite,” “Word,” “Excel” “PowerPoint” “Publisher” “Visual Basic” “VBScript”)
  • Industry-Specific Terms and Programs    (e.g., “Six Sigma Black Belt,” “HIPAA Compliant”)
  • Employer or School Names (Names of employers are used to recruit from the competition)
  • Hard Skills (e.g., “Web Development,” “Network Security,” “Accounting”)
  • Soft Skills (e.g., “Teambuilding,” “Problem-Solving”)

 

Keyword Stuffing

When stuffing your LinkedIn profile and resume with job-specific keywords you should always try to follow the writing methods that professional resume writers use to maximize keyword density. They include all possible formats of the keyword somewhere on your resume.

For example, here’s how a professional with an MBA listed this qualification on her resume:

UNIVERSITY NAME – City, ST

Master of Business Administration (MBA), 2004

Earned a master’s degree in business administration while working full-time.

In the example above both “MBA,” “Master of Business Administration,” and “master’s degree” were included, so that regardless of how a recruiter entered this keyword combination during a search, their resume would be “found” and register a “hit.”

 

One warning: DO NOT type in additional keywords in a white colored font to attempt to game the system by making the extra keywords invisible to the human eye. The ATS will still be able to read them in the underlying code. The reason I say this is because when the recruiter receives your resume it will be sent as an image with all of the keywords the recruiter selected (and you typed in white) highlighted in yellow. You will be BUSTED, and never to be trusted, and it is very likely that your resume will wind up in the trash.

 

 

How do I know if a small company is using an ATS to sort through resumes?

From our research as well as colleague Pat Criscito’s extensive research and ATS Engineer interviews we know that “100% of Fortune 1000 companies use ATS and 80% of small/medium businesses use them (100 to 15,000 employees).” We know for a fact that small companies create more jobs in the U.S. than larger companies. We should also keep in mind that many companies outsource their hiring tasks to recruiters and almost 100% of them use Applicant Tracking Software.

So the bottom line is that there may be many companies and individuals out here trying to sell you on using a one page-resume, or putting your photo into the resume, or promising you a great resume in one day for $49-99. These should be seen as red flags and possible scams. Our most recent client paid a company that said they were in California $250 for a resume and from the language and grammar used in the resume she said she realized they were probably somewhere overseas and that she had been scammed. She then had to pay us to write her a modern professional resume that she could be proud to use in her job search. She wound up spending about $600 by trying to save a few bucks and not doing her research online. When searching for writing professionals, one should not only search google but also search industry websites like The NRWA’s professional resume writer listings where many of the writers have been helping job seekers for decades. Remember that not everyone that hangs an internet shingle up is authentic, professional, and experienced. Do you want to trust your chances at getting called for the interview to just anyone?

Best of luck in your job search!  

 

About the author

Mill Montejo is a tech-savvy résumé & LinkedIn profile writer, an active member of The National Résumé Writers Association. She runs a small home-based business with a small team of writers in the Greater NYC area serving jobseekers in NY/NJ as well as from across the country via remote screen share & web chat. Changing careers? Need your career documents modernized or infused with industry keywords? Contact Mill at https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form

Don’t Hire a Résumé Writer Before Taking These Preparation Steps

For those of you who have been out of the job search for years or maybe even decades the barebones classified section of the Sunday newspaper may come as a surprise. Gone are the days when you could pick up a couple of the local Sunday papers and circle job opening ads that you could easily fax, or email your generic résumé to.

Today’s 21st Century digital job market can begin on your smartphone and an internet search, and winds a job candidate through tunnels and caverns of steps from the initial application process, through perhaps several interviews, until you get to the final decision stage. Since this process can be so daunting and a job in itself, many folks enlist the help of a résumé writer or career coach who can help them put their best foot forward. What some don’t understand is that career coaching and even résumé and LinkedIn profile writing MUST BE a collaborative process between the client and the writer. 

The writer cannot create a compelling career story without your input.

  • You will be throwing away the money you pay the writer if you pay and then disappear expecting them to write your career story without your detailed information.
  • You risk not providing enough material to the writer that helps them create a keyword optimized résumé that boasts about 1000 characters (with spaces) within a two-page résumé.
  • Yes, a two-page résumé by the mere fact that it is two pages allows for a more keyword infused document that applicant tracking systems like.
  • At The Talent Mill / #JobSearchSuperhero we believe that a résumé’s length should be determined by the client’s years of service, their industry, the number of relevant awards, courses, certifications. In other words, each project is different, and it is not a sin to use a two page or even a three-page résumé.

So, before you search for and hire a résumé writer, you should prepare by doing the following.

*Write down notes about your career story or answer a couple of the writer’s questionnaires to provide them with content, clarity, and clear/concise information for the writer to tell a compelling career story and highlight key points in your accomplishments.

We believe that everyone can come up with accomplishments if he or she thinks back on his or her life. Keep in mind these essential facts while writing:

  • What kind of job are you seeking? To target your resume so that an actual person will see it, you should provide at least two job advertisements to the writer.
  • The writer can then scan the document against the job ad to make sure that the targeted industry and job role keywords are in your new resume. The days when you could use a “basic resume” to submit to a potential employer are long gone. It would significantly improve your chances of your résumé being seen by a human if you edit each résumé before you upload it to a corporate or recruiter website to apply for an advertised position. Your résumé will be analyzed by algorithms using whatever search query the hiring manager or recruiter entered on their end. That is why keyword dense (2 page) résumés for a mid-career to upper management person increases their chances of hitting the right target keywords and selected to be shown to the recruiter in a search for candidates.
  • What are your job titles? If you have had many years of service/employment for the same company, you must have changed roles or moved up the corporate ladder. It would be best if you were prepared to provide the writer with the job title, dates held, accomplishments, and description of what the role is.
  • What are your accomplishments? To make your resume stand out, you must show your achievements and how you helped the company. Did you bring in more clients? Have you trained people? Did you earn any recognition? How is that company better off from the service you provided for them during your time with them?
  • What honors or awards have you received? During the course of your career make sure you can document and share all the honors and awards earned over the years of employment. If you have any copies of annual reviews or reference letters from management share them with the writer.
  • What kind of professional development did you receive? Were you sent on a corporate outing or given any education to improve your performance, on the job training, and then received certification for that workshop?

After the client has provided this information they should also adhere to this:

  • Have access to a computer or laptop so they can enter their edits and promptly return them to the writer. (All free public libraries offer the use of computers)
  • Client’s cannot expect to efficiently edit their résumé on their mobile phone when necessary which will be quite often. It would be best if they at least owned a tablet with a keyboard. Microsoft Word .doc and .docx files are sent to the client along with a basic ASCII text file. They can also usually be edited and opened/viewed on free software like OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice.org however the writer is not responsible for, nor can guarantee document compatibility between software. Therefore your document may look skewed or resized. For this reason, we at The Talent Mill also include an Adobe PDF file that maintains the format. We provide our clients clear instruction with their final files on which files to use for which type of application, interview, etc.

Communicate with your writer and reply to emails which can be several during the writing process of your documents.

  • Get all the questionnaire answers back to the writer quickly. If the writer does not have information, they can’t write your resume. Remember they don’t know you personally. They ethically cannot just copy and paste data or job descriptions from another online résumé. It is imperative that the client provide answers. The career writing project is a collaborative effort, so the client needs to make themselves available to work with the writer. This is generally handled through emails or a quick text or call.
  • Résumé writers try to finish projects promptly since they continue to see more and more clients in today’s tight and downsizing job market. Most writers are usually working on documents for anywhere from two to ten clients simultaneously. Most projects are typically completed within the 7-10 day average industry turnaround time, dependent on how quickly the client returns emails, questionnaires, or text message replies from the writer or writer team.

REMEMBER: Achieving an impressive new résumé and other career documents or online profiles is a TEAM EFFORT between the client and their writer! Neither should go it alone.

Best of luck in your job search! ~Mill and the writing team 

*Need us to do it all for you? Text us at 201-667-2994 or drop us a note at https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form 

Black Friday Half Price for a New LinkedIn Profile or Résumé

***THIS DEAL ENDED ON 11/30/2018***

(Deal Ended 11/30/18 but keep in mind that we still offer 10% discount off our listed prices at various times throughout the year and always for New Jersey residents.)

“We are currently living through what is referred to as a digital job market. This makes job searching more convenient but also a bit more complicated for the not so tech savvy. If your career documents and online brand are not crafted and monitored carefully, you could risk losing out on job opportunities. By setting up Google alerts for your own name, and securing your social channels, you will increase your odds of landing interviews in today’s tight job market. Want more tips and updates for your #JobSearch? Follow our page.” ~Mill 

 

If you need personalized ONE on ONE #JobSearch help ACT NOW!

Deal expires November 30, 2018. 

Black Friday Half Price Deal for a LinkedIn or a Résumé – Expires 11/30/18

Click coupon above and schedule a 20 minute free chat about your choice of either a résumé development package or a LinkedIn profile re-write or creation for 1/2 off sale or post your comments or questions here and we will get back to you ASAP. You can also use the form below and let us know what you need.

 

How to Handle a Job Interview If You Were Fired

by The Job Search Superhero Coaching Team

 

Many job-seekers today are using the web and apps to search for jobs all the time. From the time during World War II when health benefits became tied to our jobs, in many situations’ employees have been overstaying their productive years of service to an employer just to maintain their health benefits. Work scenarios like this can become toxic and inefficient as the unhappy employee tries to keep a balance between working at their current job while trying to search for their next job. In this article that speaks to why employers pay health insurance in the first place, Daniel Akst explains several ways that our current economy is being hurt by this continued practice. Although the article is from 2003, its many points are still relevant today.

Is your current job making you miserable?          Were you fired?

“There is no good reason for any of this, aside from historical accident. During World War II, federal wage controls prevented employers from wooing workers with higher pay, so companies started offering health insurance as a way around the law.” Of course, this form of compensation is still considered a form of payment as part of the hiring package today. When the war ended, the practice stuck and the rest, as they say, is history.

WWII tied US health benefits to employer

When employees try to conduct private job searches, they are caught in a precarious situation where they must try to look for their new job while still working for the current one that’s making them miserable. It is a fine line to walk.

Despite LinkedIn’s Open Candidate feature stating that they will try not to reveal your job search to your current employer, they explicitly say that there are no guarantees. If you find yourself in a situation where your employer finds out you’re looking to make a move and fires you, then that brings an added issue for your next interview. If you are at all concerned that the new company you are applying with will check all of your references then be upfront. At the very least most potential employers are sure to ask why you left your last job.

If you’re actively looking for work you should turn this feature on, however if you’re still employed be very careful.

If you find that the jobs you are interviewing are in line with your skills, but you aren’t going far in the interview process once they find out you were fired, you might be getting blacklisted. But don’t worry, there are ways to overcome this problem, and we can help. Besides helping our clients with mock interviews for their interview practice and preparation, we also help them to formulate their responses to the tough questions about why they were fired from their last job.

You’re fired now what?

As difficult as it seems, the best industry advice is that if you know they will verify your employment, then bring the topic of your being fired up yourself. Being upfront and honest about how you parted ways with your last employer has been shown to be the best approach for this difficult situation.

 

1) We know that it sounds better to use the terminology “I was let go because…” as opposed to “I was fired because…” so make sure to use the first and not the second statement.

2) Explain why you were let go. Do not go into extra details or information they did not ask for. Remember “less is more.”

3) Explain what you learned from that experience and how you will use your newfound knowledge to improve in your next job role.

For Example:

“Unfortunately, I was let go from my last job. I learned a lot from this experience and found out that I really thrive in job roles that engage in (fill in the blank from job ad). I am very excited about and interested in this job because (fill in the blank from job ad) is one of my strongest skills and that seems to be one of the most important duties of this job role.”

You will still likely encounter some people that don’t want to hire you because you were let go. It is out of your control that some companies can’t look past your imperfect work history and give you a chance. We personally believe that everyone deserves a second chance to prove themselves and there are many others out there that will too. The interviewer could be passing up on the most successful and dedicated employee, and it’s your job to convince them that your seemingly lousy experience actually helped you grow and learn a valuable lesson you can bring you to your next work assignment.

 

Practice practice practice in mock interviews!

Make sure to start developing your LinkedIn profile and working on getting recommendations from former co-workers at your previous employer if they are willing to do this. Or they can write you an email reference. Remember to start building connections on LinkedIn and in local community career groups as they can help tell you about open jobs and perhaps get you in there with a word to the hiring manager.

Build your network before you need it

You should always anticipate that the company or recruiter will likely reach out to your past employer to try to get their side of the story. Fortunately, most companies are afraid of lawsuits, so the usual safe reply they stick to is “we only confirm dates of employment and job title.” One of the services we provide to our clients is to call their past employers for professional references and then we report what they say back to our job-seeking candidate. This way they can know what their last employer is saying about their time working for them. Many companies have existing employees sign non-disclosure and separation agreements before they release any severance pay. Make sure to read the fine print that way you will know if either one of you are violating the terms of your separation agreement.

Do your own background check pre-interview or hire a professional agency like The Talent Mill to do it for you.

Remember that you are not the first to be let go from a job, or to leave on bad terms. Many have found great jobs after that. So, don’t let anxiety kill your job search and stick to your exit story. Do not embellish. Do not talk bad about your previous employer, and just explain how valuable the experience was and how you will switch it up and use it to do better work.

Think positive thoughts. Practice your interview. Believe that you too can be hired = You are hired!

 

 

As always, we wish you the best of luck in your job search! 🙂

 

P.S. Look for new job search resource documents and templates to be added to our site in the coming weeks as we work to add more helpful tools for your career toolkit.

 

 

 

 

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General Disclaimer

We at JobSearchSuperhero.com, including The Talent Mill and/or Mill Montejo, are not recruiters. We do not provide, intend to provide or claim to provide job matching services. We provide coaching services utilizing our industry experience and the knowledge gained through our membership with various résumé writing and career non-profit organizations. We develop tools and methods also used by other national career coaches in order to help our clients job search. We do not and will not place individuals into any new jobs, positions or industries. We do not claim or guarantee that by purchasing our services you will find a job. These results are strictly dependent on the individual and the actions each individual takes given tips, resources, training, and advice, as well as the individual job-seeker’s personal interview style.  You alone are responsible for your actions and your results in your professional career. Any statements, training, advice, reports or mock interviews provided within our services, seminars, webinars, videos, chats, phone calls, and/or meetings are strictly our professional opinion. By law we make no guarantees or claims that you will achieve any results, including without limitation financial or employment benefits, from any of the service or opinions offered by JobSearchSuperhero.com.