There’s no denying that Linkedin has become one of the most powerful career management platforms in existence. There are tons of benefits to being optimized on Linkedin but for job seekers the greatest benefit is probably the ability to be front and center in the venue most-visited by hiring managers hoping to find their next hire.
It’s no secret that hiring managers and recruiters LOVE Linkedin. In fact “love” is probably an understatement from my experience as an Executive Recruiter. I used to spend close to 40 hours a week scouring Linkedin for talent and forming connections that would lead to eventual job placements. By spending all this time on Linkedin I learned a ton about the hiring manager perspective. Today I use that knowledge teach job seekers the hiring manager perspective and what they need to do to be optimized for being found (and hired)! Here’s what you need to know:
You Won’t Be Considered if No One Knows You Exist
This may sound entirely too obvious, but the reality is most job seekers stop at basic profile set-up which can serve to harm any chances of being found for a job. This is especially true considering Linkedin’s 300 million members, many of whom are competing for the same jobs as you. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack! Just like any online real estate, your Linkedin profile needs to incorporate some level of SEO strategy so that it is searchable and appearing within the first page of results. One way to do this is to spend some time creating a robust, keyword-rich profile. Take some time to think about the words your dream hiring manager would type in the search box to find someone like you. Then incorporate those words and phrases into your profile.
Talk Up Your Skills
Some of the most popular search terms for hiring managers and recruiters are around specific skills. Title keywords tend to be inconsistent from organization to organization making skills keywords the go-to for returning profiles that are a close match. Therefore, you’ll want to include skills keywords throughout your summary and experience profile sections. You’ll also want to add skills using the “Skills” profile feature in order to make sure you have the right descriptors attached to your brand.
First Impressions Will Make or Break You
As someone who lived in Linkedin searching for new hires every day, I can tell you that I am guilty of passing over profiles that don’t offer any pizazz at first glance or have poor quality pictures.
“First impressions are everything when it comes to much of your career management and your Linkedin profile is no different.” Tweet this now!
Therefore you’ll want to capture enough interest from the hiring manager so that it results in his/her clicking “view profile” to learn more about you. The most important profile parts when it comes to your first impression are your photo, headline, location and industry (basically any information that is displayed in the list view when results are returned from a search).
If you’re a visual learner, spend some time browsing Linkedin in search of appealing profiles in your industry. Once you find that killer profile, take note of what stands out, why you viewed the profile from the list view and the type of language being used. You’ll also start to get a sense of what not to do.
Put Yourself in the Hiring Manager’s Shoes
Take some time to think about the hiring manager’s user experience and how he/she will encounter your profile at every stage of the candidate search as well as what might be appealing in the hiring manager’s ideal candidate. Think about the brand you are trying to portray. You don’t have to spend money on a professional headshot but try to aim for something with high resolution, neatly cropped around the face, a whole lot of personality (including a smile) and something that is perceived as approachable. The same goes for your headline. Check out this blog post on How to Write the Perfect Linkedin Headline.
More is More
Once you’ve created an attractive first impression and nailed your brand, you’ll want to focus on filling out the rest of your Linkedin profile with information that supports your brand. You want the hiring manager to capture enough information to be intrigued into reaching out or sending a request so don’t just stop at your first impression.
Two places hiring managers tend to look are the summary and experience. Much like your resume they are looking to see where you worked, for how long and in what capacity. Take full advantage of the characters available in the summary section for the purpose of really letting your professional brand and goals shine as well as beefing up your keywords and SEO factor. For your work experience think about how you have impacted the organization or department in which you work and include this information accordingly.
Hiring Managers Have Short Attention Spans (Just Like You)
Communicating your value, skills and abilities is super important in attracting a hiring manager’s attention but don’t overlook the fact that hiring managers (like most people) have shorter attention spans when it comes to surfing online. Avoid copy/pasting your resume bullets into the experience section (one of my biggest pet peeves) and instead, focus on adding content that speaks to your role and achievements. Really try to tighten up your experience section leading with a brief role & responsibilities summary and your strongest results therein (not every single task you’ve ever performed). Take advantage of Linkedin’s additional parts especially those with visual appeal (think online portfolio). Videos, presentations and other media are great ways to speak to your marketing skills while keeping the hiring manager’s attention and even sparking some interest in your ability to walk the walk.
What it Really Comes Down To
At the end of the day, hiring managers are looking for the best person for the job and Linkedin provides a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd if you know how to position yourself accordingly. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and apply a little marketing strategy around your brand. This will ensure the right profiles views and opportunities rolling in.