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Leveraging LinkedIn

So you want a new job? Or any job during these crazy times? LinkedIn is a great resource for job seekers and can enhance your chances of getting hired if utilized to its full capabilities. The goal is to maximize the chances that a recruiter will come across your profile and reach out to you. Look at your LinkedIn like your professional billboard. To do this, here are a few tips on making your profile stand out and be in tip top shape to attract headhunters and hiring managers.

1.) A Catchy or Clear Headline

This is one of the first things someone will look at when they see your profile. Make sure it accurately represents what you do and what you are looking to do. Also, don’t be afraid to spice things up and make it more than “Sales Person at Company X”. Get creative but make sure it's clear who you are, what you do and the types of positions you're targeting.

2.) Work the Camera!

Although we have been taught not to judge a book by it’s cover, a recruiter's first impression of you is made in just a few seconds. I know...the main ones leading your interview training and coaching anti-bias sessions are guilty of it too - we're human! Put a picture up! You lower your chances of a recruiter reaching out to you if their staring at the lackluster LinkedIn robo pic. You'll want to make sure your head shot is clean and clear. Dress professionally but it's ok to let your creative side out depending on your industry. Show your personality because after all...people hire people they want to hang out with.

3.) Check Your Settings

Again, we want to maximize the chances that a recruiter will come across your profile as they are searching for candidates - so it is important that all of your settings are filled out and up to date. Set your location as the largest, closest city to you, select a relevant industry, your highest degree of education, and strategic skills. If you're looking to relocate or are open to opportunities in other areas, list that in your "About Me" section.

4.) Little to no experience? No problem!

If you are right out of college or have little to no work experience, you can still utilize LinkedIn! Focus on your education, volunteer work, projects and skills. Make sure these sections are filled out and reflect all of the skills and experience you have gained through other avenues.

5.) Your Summary Sells!

This is a place for you to highlight how great you are! Acknowledge your work experience, skills, and achievements, discuss what kind of position you are looking for, and don’t be afraid to show some personality. It's super important that you include your email address here and your phone number if you're comfortable. Depending on the degrees of separation, your contact information may not be visible to recruiters. If it's in your summary, everyone can see it and get in touch with you.

6.) Customize your URL

This may be a small touch but it enhances the professionalism of your profile. LinkedIn auto generates a URL for each profile compiled with random numbers. Go to your profile, select the pencil icon, and scroll down to Profile URL and write in your first and last name. You’ll want it to look like this:

7.) Premium Account!

If you can afford it, get a premium account. It opens up the network so much more and it lets recruiters know you're serious about getting your next gig. There is even a special "Job Hunting" premium level that will let recruiters know you're on the market.

8.) Shut Down your Connects

So, you've worked hard to build up your LinkedIn network? That's great! Now shut it down and make it private. There's a saying in the recruiting world "Good talent refers good talent...and bad talent..." well you get the gist. If you're a rock star, most likely you know other rock stars. The first place a good recruiter will look is in your contact list on LinkedIn. Typically, people connect with other professionals who work in similar positions. Protect yourself - don't let recruiters find your competition off your LinkedIn page. Make your connections private so only you can see them.

9.) Upload your Resume

Give the people what they want - your resume! Add your resume to your LinkedIn profile so recruiters have easy access to it. Contrast to popular belief, a Word document is best. Part of the job hunting process is successfully managing the tech hurdles in your way to an offer. Word documents often parse better into applicant tracking system (ATS) than PDF's.

10.) Be on your Best Behavior!

Last, but certainly not least make sure you're behaving appropriately. There's an "Activity" section on your profile that let's everyone see what you've been up to - the posts you've liked and commented on, articles you've shared or authored and more. I often do a little digging in this section to get a better insight into a candidate. Make sure your troll comments don't result in a missed job opportunity.

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