Words to the Wise

June 12, 2018

Professional/Early Career: “Taking Your LinkedIn Profile to Task” – June 29, 2018

If there was such a thing as an uncelebrated hero in the job search department, LinkedIn might be the one online platform that fits that description perfectly. The reason? Well, despite laying claim to a user community of more than 500 million, many professionals have been slow to optimize the channel as part of their routine networking tasks.

The oversight is evident in every under-utilized profile in your contact list. For starters, consider the LinkedIn headline—the one that appears just beneath your name, and also in the “People You May Know” section. In either case, you might not know you’ve got 120 characters of highly valuable, keyword-optimizing real estate right there at your fingertips.

Putting a little extra oomph behind your job title is actually job one.

Marketers, for example, would do well to describe what business they’re in and what they do within that allotted space. On one hand, the LinkedIn headline might read simply, Director of Digital Marketing; on the other, the savvy LinkedIn user could include a catchier phrase, such as, “Bridging the gap between traditional and non-traditional marketing through social media.”

Another equally viable option is to expand the description following the job title, ala, from Director of Digital Marketing to … Director of Digital Marketing | Lead Generation | SEO | PPC | SMS. This introduces keyword-searchable terms that are ideally compatible with the applicant tracking systems used by more than 95% of today’s Fortune 500 companies. The upshot enhances first impressions with modern algorithms, as well as with human readers.

In Your Own Words

From the LinkedIn perspective, there is little to be gained from including text lifted straight from a resume. That’s because the employers you’re targeting aren’t looking for what you’ve done for others in the past, they want to know what you can do for them in the present. In essence, LinkedIn gives you a forum to speak directly to that dynamic—enumerating about the ways in which the skills you’ve mastered translate into successful outcomes.

Perhaps more importantly, writing on LinkedIn affords a welcome return to the use of first person in large part. It’s not mandatory, but there is a distinct sense of “formal informality” to LinkedIn that makes it far more approachable. So, feel free to run with an anecdote or accomplishment from your job history that tells a compelling story. Better that than trotting out another “results-driven, detail-oriented” line of non-descript generality.

The Elevator Pitch

With millions more job applicants than there are jobs to be had, every individual seeking employment must be the steward of his or her own personal brand. That means, of course, investing in a professionally prepared resume. But, it also means developing “an elevator pitch” that transcends the binary structure of the resume. And LinkedIn is the perfect place to introduce it.

Specifically, you’ll want to give careful thought to what you say in the summary section on your LinkedIn profile page. Located directly under your headline, this is the space to convey your career purpose, what you’ve brought to your chosen field, and your vision for the future. Ideally, your summary help filter out the queries you want from the ones you can do without.

Show, Don’t Tell

LinkedIn provides many tools for adding samples, presentations, videos, websites, and associated elements of supporting content to your profile. Even better, this is one place where being “detail-oriented,” literally, can pay huge dividends. In particular, be sure to title and describe each entry.

Pictures are, of course, worth a thousand words. But pictures with keywords? Priceless.

Yet, with every LinkedIn profile comes the opportunity to telegraph your end game. In this regard, it’s less about you and more about how you fit into the personas constructed by potential employers. Identify the terms they use; then, repeat them accordingly. Customarily, every job description hints at the pain points of the position. Hone in on those and position yourself as the solution to them, and your relevancy in search results will multiply exponentially.

There is no doubt that LinkedIn has become one of the today’s most powerful and widely used recruiting channels. At Resume Professors, our clients across the country and around the world have increasingly turned to us for help in optimizing their profiles.

Isn’t it time you joined them?

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