Have you checked in on your LinkedIn profile lately? You may be neglecting one of the most dynamic tools in your professional arsenal. Reviving that inert LinkedIn page could prove to be the turning point for your job search.
Since it first launched in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to become a trusted resource for hiring managers seeking to fill a position. Survey results in the “Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016” showed that 87 percent of recruiters consider it the most effective social media platform for evaluating candidates during the hiring process. That is a compelling statistic to consider as you plan your strategy for attracting desirable job offers.
Your LinkedIn presence needs to relay more than an up-to-date resume outlining your education and experience. Recruiters are looking beyond hard skills to find candidates, according to the Jobvite report. The decision to hire is strongly influenced by enthusiasm and communication skills, as well as a command of the job requirements. Fortunately, that’s where LinkedIn can help you shine.
Upgrade Your LinkedIn Presence
LinkedIn estimates that simply having an image of yourself makes it 14 times more likely for your profile to be viewed. Make that first impression count, with an up-to-date image that recruiters will recognize as you, whether they meet you after they viewed your page, or when following up after an interview by consulting your LinkedIn profile. It isn’t necessary to dress in full business attire if that’s not your style; wear the clothes you expect to wear for the job you want.
Take a high-resolution photo, with your face taking up at least 60 percent of the frame, cropped from just below your shoulders to the top of your head, against a neutral background. You may be more comfortable with a serious expression, if that suits the image that you want to project. Generally, people tend be drawn to photos where people are smiling, finding them likable and approachable.
Ask someone else to take the photo, rather than taking a selfie. Photos taken with the rear camera on smartphones are higher quality than the selfie camera produces, and you will also appear more natural in the image.
Optimize your headline.
The profile headline can be more than the job title of your current position. The headline and recent job title are heavily weighted in the LinkedIn algorithm and that is also the way hiring managers search for candidates. Use the space to elaborate on what you do, especially if your industry has a variety of descriptors for your skill set. Using relevant keywords in the headline increases the likelihood of your profile showing up in search results.
Location is another important factor for recruiters. They like to begin their search for candidates locally and that means your profile will show up in those searches. If you want to work in another city, name that as your location, or else you can specify which cities you would relocate to in the “Career Interests” setting.
Expand your network.
The more connections you have, the more opportunities will become available to you. That is the case with traditional job offers, where a connection may help you get a referral, and with the LinkedIn algorithm, which favors connections that have closer associations with the searcher. With a wider network, it is more likely that you will be in touch with connections that will help your profile be noticed by the right hiring manager, especially if you cultivate a network that aligns with your goals.
Start by syncing your email contacts with your profile, which allows LinkedIn to suggest people you can connect with; you can further grow the network by submitting LinkedIn requests following meetings or conversations. Keep in mind that personal requests to connect are more likely to be accepted. Another route to making connections is joining one of the industry groups that LinkedIn hosts, as you can invite everyone in the group to connect to your profile.
Share your interests.
Thoughtful curating and sharing of the information, news, and studies that come into your LinkedIn feed will nurture your connections and may also bring more eyes to your profile. Share content from your LinkedIn feed that appeals to you and that you think people in your network will find interesting. Engage with other people by liking and commenting on their posts, too. It encourages them to connect with you and they will return the interest by visiting your profile.
At first you may want to limit what you share to content that you agree with, but when you add comments to the content, you can cast a wider net. You can explain why the piece matters to you, even if you disagree with it. Well-crafted comments can generate attention and set you on a path toward establishing yourself as a thought leader.
Publish your own content.
When you have created a presence on LinkedIn with shares and comments, you might want to venture into producing your own content. You may notice certain posts that you share raise more comments than usual and you want to continue the discussion, or you are inspired to explore an issue in more depth. Maybe you have personal insights from your own experience that you are ready to express.
Original content demonstrates your style to prospective employers in a way that a resume does not. It also attracts more views to your profile and may galvanize spirited and fruitful discussions. Hiring managers may not have time to read your content, but they will note the energy that you bring to the table.
Have an expert improve your LinkedIn profile and presence, meet with an Ivy Exec Career Coach!