I’ve been helping some job seekers improve their LinkedIn profiles in an effort to increase the number of recruiters and potential employers who can find them online. Here are five ways I think you could improve your results if you’re not already doing them:
- Write a Compelling Headline. It’s one thing to list what you do if you already have a job (and in that case you should include your company’s name). It’s something different if you’re looking for work or clients. Would you read a newspaper story that says Dog Bites Man? Probably not. Grab the reader’s attention. Keep in mind that it’s what people see when they accept your invite.
- Change your Status Update regularly. I know someone who provides employee-communications services who changes his status update nearly every day. My impression? He’s always busy and probably has a lot of people working for him. I was really surprised when I had a chance to work with him recently to find that his was actually a pretty small shop. But I suspect he gets a decent amount of business from people who see the activity and regular updates on LinkedIn and view those as de facto referrals. The same thing is true for job seekers: Show activity, direction, and motivation through your Status Updates!
- Focus on your Summary. First, you need to have one. I’ve been surprised to see how many people who are actively looking for jobs are only using the Experience sections. Talk about what you do most often, what you want to be doing, and explain why someone would want to hire you or work with you. Show what makes you special and/or different from everyone else who’s searching for people. Make them want to contact you.
- Proofread it. People who know me know that I’ve rejected great job candidates because of a typo in their resumes. I believe typos are the best indication of your attention to detail. If you don’t care about your resume or LinkedIn profile — also known as your most important marketing document — why would a prospective employer or client think you’re going to care about their project? Check your spelling. Check for run-ons and fragments. Take a look at it after you save it; you will often get weird breaks within paragraphs.
- Ask for Recommendations. Be smart and provide clear direction. Ask people who really know you to focus on the skills that are most likely to get you hired. Getting a recommendation that talks about your negotiation skills isn’t going to do you a lot of good if you’re trying to get a job writing business plans.
I’m a big believer in karma when it comes to job searches. One other thing you might do is go through your list of Connections and pick a couple and send out an unsolicited Recommendation. Take a look at their summaries and see what they’re looking for and tailor your recommendation toward that.