For years now, LinkedIn has been the undisputed leader in social networking for business. There are a number of reasons for this, but a powerful explanation of its success has been the fact that everyone on LinkedIn is there for the sole purpose of growing their careers. Recruiters know this, and so do hiring managers.
A thought experiment: You are a recruiter who has to select candidates based on their online presence alone. You are only allowed to look at one website. Which do you choose? You choose the site that gives you the most information about a candidate’s professional qualifications and has the lowest barrier to entry; you choose LinkedIn.
The above experiment is only slightly hypothetical. Remember, everyone is in a hurry. Recruiters are just as interested in disqualifying candidates as they are in qualifying them, and qualification is always a comparative endeavor. If your presence on the only explicitly professional social media platform is relatively lackluster, you step up to the plate with a strike already to your name. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about that. You have strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile--11 of them, actually...
1. Your Name
It sounds silly, but recruiters and potential employers frequently google a prospect’s name before scheduling an interview. This invariably brings them to your Linkedin profile. Stand out and let your LinkedIn profile be the first thing he or she sees after googling you. Have certifications or licenses? Go ahead and add them to your name.
2. Create a Custom URL
When updating your LinkedIn profile, add a custom URL. This will allow you to use LinkedIn as a customized branding/lead-generating tool. Having a custom URL also helps you be found by search engines such as Google and Bing.
3. Your profile picture
Select a friendly, clear, and appropriate picture to introduce yourself. What makes a picture appropriate? A little common sense goes a long way, and erring on the side of formality is seldom a bad move. That being said, many industries have relaxed their attire policies in recent years, so be sure to check out the profiles of other professionals in your industry. See what they are wearing and follow suit.
Make sure you are the only person in your picture so the recruiter or potential employer is left guessing who you are! Your profile picture should fall within the range of 400 x 400 pixels.
Recognize this dude? Dan Sullivan- CEO and Founder of JPatrick and Associates.
4. Write a Killer headline
Let me guess, you allowed LinkedIn to automatically default to your current company and position? I know I did, at first. You have 120 characters to play with, so take the opportunity to be creative.
Use this space to show your value. Did you exceed goals by having $100,000+ in sales last year? Tell me this here.
Keywords are not to be forgotten. Look at job descriptions and find what words are commonly used. Using keywords will help in your search results
5. Your LinkedIn Summary...not your life story.
Chances are recruiters will not care about your dog's name, or the hour of the day your firstborn came into the world. But they will wanna know about the following:
- Tell us why you love what you do, what drives you to get out of bed in the morning and go to work….aside from your paycheck.
- Tell us about your current position, what you do, and the problems you solve.
- Your biggest work achievements, what you did, who did it help, and how well you did it.
- Tell us about any unique certifications or training you have.
- Metrics? Recruiters want to hear about them. Did you exceed the company's sales goals by 25 percent last year? If so. Tell me.
Making a good first impression is great...but you know what's better? A lasting impression. Capitalize on being creative. Enjoy skydiving on the weekends to blow off some steam...this can be the spot to tell me.
6. Volunteer experience
Did you lead a team to success, volunteer at a local event or for a good cause? Tell me about it. You can find this on the left side of your profile under the additional profile features section. This tells recruiters about you and your personality. …helping you stand out in a crowd.
7. List a Job...even when unemployed
You may be thinking why would I want to show a job...when I don't have one.
The answer is easy. Recruiters often use the current title box when searching for candidates. Create a “dummy job” that includes the job title.
8. Don't be shy….get involved and make connections
Yeah, you, over there with 1,000 Facebook friends….keep your connections on LinkedIn growing. Aim to add a handful of relevant industry connections a month. Sounds like a daunting task….have no fear its not.
Aim for 50- 100 connections to start. Having less than 50 shows recruiters three bad...very bad things. 1) technology and social media scare you 2) you are afraid to connect with people you don't know on Social Media and 3) You know...no one. All of these things are red flags to recruiters.
9. Go ahead...ask for Recommendations
Did you help a client in great ways or exceed goals? Go ahead ask for a referral. Share this on your profile.
If you have several skill sets, ask different people for different referrals. Are you a great team player? Ask a teammate from a project that had great success to write a review about what a great team player you are, then get one from a client where you exceeded their goal by 25 percent.
You have Updated your Profile...now what
You have joined groups, made connections, engaged with pots and content….now make sure you are visible, it would suck to do all that work and not ever be seen. Just as you may update your Facebook profile every couple of days, do the same with your LinkedIn profile.
The more engaged you are = The More likely you are to be seen
Leave your email in the contact section so people can reach you. If you Have a blog, website, or a Twitter handle….leave that as well.
while your job searching don't forget about all of the great career advice LinkedIn offers. Keep learning, keep learning and keep connecting!