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.
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.”
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.
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!
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