Do you ever feel like your LinkedIn profile is a spiffed up, dialed back version of your Facebook profile? Is it really helping you to land the job of your dreams? Can it actually help you make valuable connections in your industry and professional network? The answer is, yes it definitely can. But like many things, you get out of it what you put in.
So let me ask you this: How awesome would it be if recruiters were reaching out to you instead of the other way around? And you had opportunities coming your way?
It all starts with making your profile stand out, more visible and search friendly.
Step 1: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is comprehensive.
Your profile is prime real estate, babe! Don’t let it go to waste. Take the time to fill it up with glimpses of your personality, a complete picture of your work experience and educational background (free of typos!)
You should also pay attention to your LinkedIn profile rating. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it. There are five different levels of LinkedIn profile strength:
All-Star is what you’re aiming for because get this: with a profile strength at this level you are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Forty times is a serious number difference!
Even better news? Only 51% of users have complete profiles. Which means just by putting in a little bit of time to keep yours in tip top shape you are already ahead of half of the competition (which is particularly important when job searching).
So what do you need at a minimum on you profile?
- A professional, personality-filled profile picture
- A thoughtful and well written summary
- A completed ‘Experience’ section that showcases your work history and some of your biggest accomplishments
- A completed ‘Education’ background section that highlights relevant coursework, noteworthy projects and student leadership experiences (especially if you’re a recent grad)
- At least 50 connections, but aim for a minimum of 100
LinkedIn also now shows a Profile Completion Meter so that you can easily see what you need to do to strengthen your profile to get to that All-Star level.
Step 2: Use keywords strategically throughout your LinkedIn profile.
Recruiters are using LinkedIn regularly to search for and vet out potential talent, plain and simple. Note the word search. LinkedIn might just feel like another social network, but it’s much more than that. For recruiters who are on the hunt to fill positions, it’s a search engine and it functions that way.
For instance, if a recruiter is looking for someone with sales and manager-level experience they might search something like “Sales Manager.” Or, if they’re looking for someone to own their company's social media they might search for “social media experience” or “community manager.”
If your profile isn’t properly optimized for search, then a recruiter may not discover it, even if you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
So which keywords should you use?
Determine 2-3 keywords that are most representative of you and what you would be looking for in your next role. For instance, if you're a graphic designer that’s probably going to be one of your keywords. However, you might get more specific and also include additional keywords to distinguish your experience like, “book and publishing design,” “packaging design,” or “marketing and advertising.”
If you are actively job searching (or will be soon) then look at job descriptions to help you determine the best keywords to integrate into your LinkedIn profile. Look for a job you would love to have or envision yourself in next that is currently posted, take a look at the job description and choose your keywords based off of it. Because these are the same keywords the recruiter is going to be using to find you!
For example, looking at this job posting for a Mobile Product Manager at WeddingWire important keywords to consider would be:
- Mobile Product Manager
- Information Technology/IT
- Product Manager
(The job title and seniority level indicates the amount of experience they’re looking for.)
- “iOS and Android apps”
(This is included in the first bullet point of the job description and mentioned more than once = it’s important.)
Now you’ve got your keywords, where do you put them?
There are many places to strategically weave in those keywords. Here are some of the priority places:
- Your headline is a must.
Example: Experienced Mobile Product Manager
- Your profile summary.
- Your work experience section.
Example: Launched App for web, mobile web, iOS and Android.
- Your LinkedIn profile custom URL. Did you know that you can customize your public profile URL? That means you can give your URL a makeover, making it more share-friendly and use it to your advantage to point more people to your profile.
So you can take if from www.linkedin.com/in/samanthasmith87642 to www.linkedin.com/in/SamSmithMobileProductExpert.
Step 3: Keep making relevant connections.
Not only does having connections make you look increasingly credible. Twenty-seven LinkedIn connections does not an All-Star profile make, my friend. But, authentic connections is the not-so-secret weapon to job searching and propelling your career forward.
It’s not always what you know, but who you know. Plus, if a recruiter finds you and sees that the two of you have mutual connections, it certainly can’t hurt.
Step 4: Join the conversation with compelling content.
No you don’t need to artfully craft an article and publish it on LinkedIn. (But, go for it if you want to!) Simply share content related to your industry or the working world that you find interesting. Or, comment on a particular article a connection shares to join the discussion.
When I simply shared this article to my followers it generated 250 views of my post. How awesome is that? When you show up in someone's feed with this tactic it’s an unobtrusive way to remind them of you. Plus, bonus points for being active in the discussion of what’s happening in your industry.
Commenting on posts that are generating discussion is an even better way to get people’s eyes outside of your network on your profile to. On any week I do this, I see views of my profile shoot up.
Step 5: Join and engage in LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn itself directs recruiters to LinkedIn Groups to find talent, sharing that they “are also a great forum for finding experts.” The key to this is being an active member that is engaged, sharing your thoughts, insights and ideas.
By doing this, you broaden your visibility to a much bigger network of potential connections. And if you’re actively participating in the discussion taking place, a lurking recruiter might take notice of your expertise and single you out as a great candidate. There are well over 2 million LinkedIn groups out there, which means all the more opportunities to get noticed.
Step 6: Change your ‘Jobs’ preferences.
In late 2016, LinkedIn launched a new feature to stealthily let recruiters know that you are looking for a new opportunity, without alerting your entire network (aka your current company).
LinkedIn refers to this feature as Open Candidates and by turning it “on” in your job preferences section it lets recruiters know that you’re receptive to opportunities they approach you with or you’re actively job searching. But what about the recruiters at the company you’re currently working at? LinkedIn alleviates that (totally fair) concern by hiding “the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company recruiters.”