Three Things to Change on Your LinkedIn Profile During a Job Search
A common question I get from job seekers in the middle of a job search is, “How important is my LinkedIn profile to employers?”. The answer is simple. It’s critical. It is your online resume, and the great news is that you are the author and control the content.
Typically, employers will only look at your LinkedIn profile under these three scenarios:
- They use LinkedIn directly and search profiles with keywords looking to fill very specific positions. If they are looking for a Product Manager in Orlando, the profiles with those keywords (and optimized) will be at the top of the list. You may get a call or InMail out of nowhere.
- You apply to a job using a job board and attach your resume. Once a human or application tracking system (ATS) determines you may be a fit, you may be screened further by the employer. Part of the screening process may be looking at your LinkedIn profile.
- Before your final interview, no matter what anyone tells you, many hiring managers will look at your social profiles including LinkedIn five minutes before an interview. This is a great thing if your LinkedIn profile is optimized specifically for the job you are trying to get.
LinkedIn has made many changes in the last year. I think the updates are fantastic and just the beginning of how you will be able to tell your career story now and in the future. Most people are visual beings so make your LinkedIn profile come to life. Here are three things you need to do:
- Make a great headline. LinkedIn now allows you to make your headline whatever you want it to say. By default, it just puts in your current job title. Change this to let anyone looking at your profile know precisely what you do! Here are some examples:
Use keywords that show your strengths. This headline should allow anyone looking at your profile to immediately see what you do.
- Write an excellent summary of your job skills and strengths. Right under your title is an area that allows you to write a summary about who you are, what you excel in, and how you can make a difference. The real key to this area during a job search (you can always change it later) is to make sure you include keywords that an employer would search if they were looking to hire your skill set. This is critical. This area is a mini-career bio and combined with your headline this will be the determining factor recruiters will view to connect with you.
- Profile Background Picture. LinkedIn allows two pictures.You already know you should have a professional headshot for your main profile picture. LinkedIn also allows a background picture at the top of your profile. A great picture here can make you stand out. The challenge is figuring out what photo to use during a job search. The answer is anything that can promote your skill sets, which is hard to do. For example, if you are a homeowner insurance claims adjuster, maybe have a picture of you on the roof of a home you are surveying. Most recruiters are visual people so a great background picture WILL catch their attention. Here are some examples:
LinkedIn allows you to build a mini-career website that you have control over the content. During a job search, use this to make your paper resume come to life!