LinkedIn is the most powerful career management platform in existence. There are tons of benefits to being optimized on LinkedIn but the greatest benefit is being front and center on the venue most-visited by hiring managers hoping to find their next hire. So how can you make your profile as appealing as possible to the hiring crowd? In this blog post we’ll share our hiring expertise so you can get inside the hiring manager’s head and make your profile as attractive as possible.
It’s no secret that hiring managers and recruiters LOVE LinkedIn. In fact “love” is probably an understatement based on my Executive Recruiting experience. I used to spend close to 40 hours a week scouring LinkedIn for talent and forming networking connections that would lead to eventual job placements. By spending all this time on LinkedIn I learned a ton about how hiring managers and recruiters select job candidates. Today I use that knowledge to teach job seekers about the hiring manager perspective so they can be optimized. Being optimized on LinkedIn simply means you are searchable so that you are being found (and hired)! So what exactly are hiring managers focused on when searching LinkedIn for talent? Here’s what you need to know:
You Won’t Be Considered for Job Openings if No One Knows You Exist
This may sound entirely too obvious, but the reality is this: most job seekers stop at basic profile set-up which can greatly reduce your chances of being found for a job. This is especially true considering LinkedIn’s over 700 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. Also spend time SEO-optimizing your LinkedIn profile parts. Different profile parts have different SEO value. You’ll need to brush up on which profile parts are the strongest for SEO impact.
Don’t Be Afraid to Showcase Your Skills Using Strong Keywords
Some of the most popular hiring manager and recruiter search terms are based on specific skills keywords. Hiring managers and recruiters opt for skills keyword searches because title keywords are usually inconsistent from organization to organization. Therefore you will want to leverage the way you use skills keywords on your profile. Include lots of skills keywords throughout your Summary or About section. The Experience profile section is also a great keyword opportunity. Also be sure to add skills to the “Skills” profile feature. This is LinkedIn’s built-in way to make your profile more searchable so take advantage of it! Review job descriptions for your target job as a way to ensure you are using strong keywords.
First Impressions Will Make or Break You
As someone who has lived in LinkedIn – searching for new hires all day, every day – I can tell you that I am guilty of passing over profiles with weak profile pictures. A photo with bad resolution or an awkward crop may indicate to the hiring person that you have minimal attention to detail. First impressions are everything when it comes to career management and your LinkedIn profile is no exception. Therefore your profile photo has to be amongst the strongest profile parts on display. Other profile parts that create your first impression: your 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.
“This is the best investment I have made in a long time. My accomplishments were presented in a clear and compelling way. The work was completed quickly and was so much better than I could have accomplished on my own even though I am a highly educated person. There is a certain skill set required for a quality LinkedIn profile that is not taught in school. If you’re on the fence about whether to go it alone or purchase this service, I encourage you to invest in yourself by moving forward with NG Career Strategy!” – Scott, Executive and LinkedIn Profile Makeover Client
Put Yourself in the Hiring Manager’s Shoes
Take some time to think about how the hiring manager will encounter your profile at every stage of the candidate search. 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. You will have mere seconds to draw the hiring manager in. Your LinkedIn headline is the one profile part with the power to do this. So think about how the hiring manager searches and focus on those profile parts above all!
More is More
Once you’ve created an attractive first impression and nailed your brand, you’ll want to focus on completing the rest of your LinkedIn profile. This is the easy part. You just need to use information that continues to support your brand. Provide enough information to intrigue the hiring manager. Some examples of information hiring managers will be looking for include: career accomplishments, stories that speak to your strengths, and a concise summary of your career aspirations.
Two places hiring managers tend to look are the summary and experience. Much like your resume they are looking to see how your career path has tracked. Take full advantage of the characters available in the summary section for the purpose of really letting your professional brand shine.
Hiring Managers Have Short Attention Spans
Communicating your value, skills and abilities are super important for attracting a hiring manager’s attention. However, 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). This will be extremely boring content. 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. Follow with your strongest results. Don’t include every single task you’ve ever performed. Just stick to the most relevant roles/responsibilities/results. 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 also keeping the hiring manager’s attention. They may even spark some interest in your ability to walk the talk.
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.