Even with the continual changes that LinkedIn makes to profile set-up and setting options, one thing hasn’t changed: to improve your odds of landing your executive dream job, you need an optimized LinkedIn profile. It is important to stay on top of ongoing changes that can affect job seekers in being found by recruiters who use LinkedIn to find talent. How your LinkedIn profile is written is as important as ever.
In terms of effectiveness for your job search, here are 7 ways optimizing your LinkedIn profile will improve your job search - dare I say?? - overnight:
1) Make Sure You Have a Professional Headshot:
Having the right LinkedIn picture is paramount! The current picture on the LinkedIn profile is bigger than it used to be and is placed in a visually prominent position. So job seekers need to be cognizant that not having a picture, or possibly worse, having a poor picture choice is front and center for those viewing their profile. Invest in a professional picture or - at a minimum - choose one where you are professionally attired, closely cropped and not a cut out of yourself amidst your friends at a reunion (I will confess, that was my first LinkedIn profile picture in 2006 when I first joined – so I humbly give you this feedback.) Also, for those who choose not to include a photo as all … know that having a photo on your LinkedIn profile increases your profile being viewed by 40%.
2) Skills and Endorsements Matter:
Make sure you set up Your LinkedIn Skills section and get some LinkedIn Endorsements. LinkedIn endorsements are important, regardless of your opinion of them being too easy to obtain or possibly diluting your recommendations. It is still not clear how it directly affects your profile’s placement in search results (I have asked—but apparently talking about LinkedIn’s search algorithms is like asking for the Coca-Cola formula), but I was told by LinkedIn that emphasizing endorsements is critical! You can easily see in the profile view how the LinkedIn Skills section housing the endorsements is prominently displayed. Heed the advice as you wish.
3) Make the most of your Summary and Headline:
With the number of recommendations and website links somewhat de-emphasized in the profile, it is crucial to optimize the selling points and communication impact of your LinkedIn Summary and LinkedIn Headline (can also be known as the tagline under your name). Your summary section should showcase your key accomplishments, and your headline should include keywords, descriptors and deliverables. Hiring managers use these keywords when searching, so do not let it simply default to your current job title.
4) Data Visualization Emphasis is Apparent:
As a culture, we are infatuated with infographics, pictures and visual demonstrations of data and this fact has not gone unnoticed by LinkedIn with its profile design. For example, in the right hand column of the profile, you are able to see stats about your network (or others’ networks) visually outlined with graphs and other tools. It is easy to identify which of your contacts have connections at your target firms, which can unearth more opportunity and inspiration, without having to go to the advanced search function.
5) Activity and Engagement are Important:
There is huge value being placed on engagement. Activity level is prominently showcased on your LinkedIn profile and is valued by LinkedIn. This is not surprising and consistent with how Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have placed more weight on live (versus scheduled) engagement with users and sharing information with your connections. I am glad that LinkedIn chose to put back the activity line (at one time, the status update line used to be under your picture on your profile, but has been since been removed). Now, when someone looks at your profile, they can see how active (or not so active) you have been on LinkedIn and how often you have posted/shared relevant information. Staying current on your profile and your engagement is as important as ever!
6) Your LinkedIn Profile Should be Mobile Friendly:
While the info that can be found on LinkedIn when viewed on a computer is the same info that can be found on a mobile device, the layout and functionality are slightly different, so there are a few things to pay extra attention to. For example, pay attention to the first 40 characters in your LinkedIn Profile Summary. For most profiles, on a mobile device, only up to the first 40 characters of your profile show up on some mobile app screens. The profile has to be opened entirely to read the rest of the summary. To know for certain how your profile appears on a mobile device, check it out on your own phone.
7) Your Contact Information is Neatly Hidden in a Contact Info Folder:
Gone are the days where some of your contact information was next to your picture, on the right side of your profile or at the very bottom of the page. Now, as it currently is housed, your Twitter handle, three websites, company web address, phone number, and email address (and more) are neatly placed in an address file at the lower right hand corner of your intro box—alongside your LinkedIn URL. This makes it easy for you to find info to contact people on your target list and simpler for hiring managers to contact you.
BONUS! Claim A Vanity URL:
It’s a lot easier to point people to your LinkedIn profile, when you have a direct link with your name in it. LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL easily, and you should absolutely change it.
Remember, LinkedIn, like every other social media site out there, is constantly changing and (hopefully!) improving … Make sure you are staying on top of these changes so that you aren't left in the dust, particularly when it comes to your job search and being out in front of hiring managers who need to see you. I always try to communicate changes as I see them, and how they affect our faithful followers. Feel free to comment and share any information you see, as we are all in this learning journey together.
Looking for more tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile will set you apart from your competition? Register for my No-Cost "How to Create Your LinkedIn Profile to Generate 6-Figure Job Interviews Faster" online training session on Tues. 12/10 or Thurs. 12/12 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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