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Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile


According to the Jobvite report Social Recruiting Survey Results 2013, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts with LinkedIn being the #1 social network of choice. Even as I write this blog, a simple LinkedIn job search resulted in over 13,000 postings for positions in Canada and 187,000+ available jobs in the US.

However, simply “being” on LinkedIn isn’t the same as maximizing your profile to secure your next job.

Here are 12 critical tips that can help you optimize your profile:

ADD A PROFILE PICTURE. Hiring influencers like to actually see a person’s picture and not an avatar image. This should be a business appropriate picture of you; not you and your pet, you and your spouse, not in a swimsuit on a beach, just a simple photograph of the individual in business attire.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR URL. When you first joined LinkedIn, the system automatically generated a default url which is typically displayed as your name followed by a combination of letters and numbers. By going into Profile and selecting Edit, you’ll find a link allowing you to quickly and simply customize your url. Aim to remove the unnecessary default characters to create a new personal name only url.

CHANGE YOUR HEADING. LinkedIn automatically displays either the job title of your current role or the job title of the last position held in this section, located directly beside your profile picture. Consider this part of your profile as prime real estate, your billboard really and seize the opportunity to ignite interest by creating a customized header. Headings such as Experienced Operations Expert in Electronics Engineering or Senior Sales & Business Development Leader are far more compelling than General Manager or Account Executive.

ADD CONTACT INFORMATION. It’s difficult to be contacted for a job if you don’t share at least an email address and a phone number. Never use a vanity email address for job search (such as i_am_barney@me.com). Also use the contact sections to share links to your video bio, blog, Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook pages.

ADD YOUR CAREER HISTORY. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. Display a thorough career history noting the name of each employer, job title(s) held and years for each position. Don’t leave gaps in your career history or only show the last employer.

ADD ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Career achievements sell your value, not job responsibilities / job duties or worse, no information at all. It’s impossible for a potential employer to understand your qualifications for a role if you don’t share with the reader the impact you made at each employer throughout your career.

BUILD YOUR NETWORK. The instant I see a profile with only 100 connections for an individual in job search mode, I know they aren’t actively engaged in pursuing their next opportunity. An individual who is serious about managing their career or executing an aggressive job hunt, has a network with a minimum of 500 quality connections. This isn’t a numbers game; it’s not quantity of connections that counts but the caliber and potential career value of your network.

RECOMMENDATIONS. When building your network, reach out to connections with a goal of obtaining a minimum of 3 recommendations. These online testimonials instantly acknowledge your career value to potential employers as well as significantly boosting your LinkedIn profile strength.

INVITATIONS. Never use the default wording “I’d like to add you to my network”. This can be seen as an automatic turnoff and result in your request being ignored or deleted. Instead, customize your request stating why you want to connect and how you may be of assistance to the other party.

JOIN GROUPS. People who engage in groups are 4 TIMES more likely to have their profile viewed. A connection request can be sent to anyone you share a group with.

FOLLOW COMPANIES. Select companies you would like to work for and start following their company page on LinkedIn. As mentioned in my opening paragraph, companies will often use LinkedIn to post job openings.

MAXIMIZE THE SKILLS& ENDORSEMENTS SECTION. Just like Applicant Tracking Systems scan candidate resumes for keywords, hiring influencers can use keywords / key phrases to search LinkedIn for qualified job candidates. While I typically limit the number of keywords in a resume to a maximum of 18, LinkedIn allows a maximum of 50 keywords. The latest enhancements to LinkedIn allow you to move ('drag and drop') and reprioritize your skill competencies.

By implementing these 12 tips, you’ll instantly boost your credibility and profile ranking against the millions of users with little to no information.