Optimizing LinkedIn So Hiring Folks Will Find You

Last week, Brian Tietje, Sales Manager for LinkedIn, delivered a presentation on LinkedIn to members of the Human Resources Association of New York networking group. My friendly colleague Barbara Safani from Career Solvers (www.CareerSolvers.com) was there and kindly shares her 10 take-aways with us:

1. Create a keyword driven summary. Forget about the summaries that describe you as passionate, a great communicator, and a team player. LinkedIn is all about searchability and recruiters and hiring managers don’t search on those cliched phrases, Instead, focus on the relevant keywords for your industry and job function and be sure to really build out the specialties section. Like resumes, no recruiter is really reading your LinkedIn profile. They are performing multiple sophisticated keyword searches looking for a match. Make every word count.

2. Moniter your profile views. Check the jobs tab regularly to see how many people have viewed your profile. If the number is exceptionally low, perhaps you need to tweak your profile to improve your searchability.

3. Don’t ignore the events listings. Many hiring authorities search for top talent on LinkedIn by looking in the events section. They scour the list of events on LinkedIn to see who is attending certain industry events and often make connections directly through the events section rather than the user profile section.

4. Spend time in the answers section. Again, hiring managers are looking for the trend setters and industry leaders. Often these people are participating in the answers section of LinkedIn, providing leadership and guidance, building credibility, and demonstrating authority.

5. Include a picture. People want to see who they are doing business with. The picture starts solidifying the trust. The picture is part of your personal brand. Get over your insecurities about having the picture up on LinkedIn. It is here to stay and it is an important component in the relationship building process.

6. Use applications that help you track company information. The Company Buzz application on LinkedIn lets you track in real time who is saying what about certain companies and people on Twitter. This is an excellent way to be in the know about companies you are targeting.

7. Don’t worry about upgrading to the paid level of service. This level is designed for recruiters and marketers, not job seekers. LinkedIn has an enormous amount of utility for job seekers at the free level of service.

8. Pay attention to your privacy settings. LinkedIn generally assumes you want a high level of privacy and will default to that setting unless you tell it otherwise. But everyone should review their settings and make sure they are aligned with your professional goals. For example, you can control who can tell that you have reviewed their profile. As a job seeker you will probably be researching multiple LinkedIn profiles…you don’t necessarily want everyone to know you are searching their profile and you can change this setting to anonymous.

9. Ditch connections that don’t make sense. It is ok to terminate a connection with someone who you don’t know and don’t plan on building a relationship with. The degrees of separation work best when there is some affinity between you and the person you are connected to. Without that affinity it will be more difficult to reach out to that person for an introduction to someone in their network.

10. Keep learning about LinkedIn. Take advantage of the LinkedIn Learning Center and the LinkedIn blog to get the most out of LinkedIn and stay on top of new features.

Great insights. Thanks Barbara!

Now, if you’re a “Renaissance Personality” and pursuing different fields simultaneously…what do you do? How do you word your LinkedIn profile effectively? Here’s what I recommend you do:

– With resumes, less is often more. With LinkedIn, it’s ok to have a longer profile and include more of your – diverse – background. Again, it’s very important to have a keyword rich profile.

– Think strategically. The person searching for, let’s say, a project manager, or sales director, or IT professional would be more likely to look for you on LinkedIn than someone trying to find a ghost writer or caterer. So it makes sense to cater your profile more to the first person.

– It’s not unheard of that someone with an interesting background or pursuits in highly diverse areas stands out exactly because of that background. It can be a conversation starter. It’s somehow understood that you show more of yourself on LinkedIn and this can even work to your advantage.

– If you are pursuing one area right now but have a very eclectic past and fear appearing unfocused, you can opt to omit a few of your past endeavors. However, if you’re changing careers, your best bet is to network like crazy. Recruiters will not be interested in you as they always look for the “perfect” candidate. That’s what their client company is paying them for. And this typically means a “specialist” in his or her field. You should still be on LinkedIn to network with your peers, but focus your efforts more on reaching out to your network to find leads into your new field.

What has your experience been with LinkedIn? Have you ever been approached by a recruiter or hiring manager? Do tell!

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