Part Eight: LinkedIn

This is the eighth part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals who I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

LinkedIn plays a very important role in your job search: it is used not only by the vast majority of recruiters but also by in-house recruitment teams and by hiring managers themselves. As such so it’s very important that your LinkedIn profile reflects the message that you want to get to market. Don’t just take my word for it this is what others have said about LinkedIn:

“Update your LinkedIn profile in line with your C.V”

“Your LinkedIn profile title has to reflect the skills that you possess (keep away from your company job titles). Remember, your Profile is your best chance to make an immediate impression. A good profile picture and summary of your key skills is essential. Seek / give endorsements. Always connect with recruiters. Check the number of profile views that you are receiving. If i feels low, ask yourself what steps can I take to make my profile more attractive?”

“Linkedin led to a quick approach from a Consultancy I'd worked with and once back in employment I had a number of approaches.”

“LinkedIn is key. Even if a potential opening doesn’t come directly through LI it is safe to assume that a potential employer / interviewer will look at your profile. It needs to be up to date and consistent with your CV and any covering letters etc. I started my job search slightly cynical of LI but then ended up doing an interim role which came about through an ex-colleague from 15 years previous looking at my LI profile.”

“Invest in your LinkedIn profile – get people to feedback on it and experts like Tracy who really fine tune it to position you in the market place”

“Linkedin is critical- spend a lot of time a lot of time getting this right (and seek advice as to what getting it right in the eyes of a recruiter means). I actually got offered 2 jobs and both came through agencies I wasn't connected with who found me on Linkedin.”

The first thing to think about is your headline - this is the line underneath your name and it is the only information people see about you when you appear in a search or when you post, like or share anything on LinkedIn. Your headline should be a condensed version of your elevator pitch which we discussed in guide six, but you only have 120 characters including spaces so you need to make sure that every word is relevant. In terms of recruiters and hiring managers doing a keyword search to find candidates, the headline carries the most weighting, so make sure you understand the keywords they will be using. One of the ways of doing this is to collect 10 to 12 job descriptions and put into a word cloud, (you will find free word clouds online). These will give you a pictorial representation of the number of times words are used, the more times the words are used the bigger the word in the picture. From this, you will get a really clear idea of what keywords recruiters and hiring managers are putting into job descriptions so you can match these in your LinkedIn profile, particularly your headline.

In the About section you have 2000 characters to give an overview of your strengths and experience. You can expand on your headline and give more detail as to what you can offer including the long version of your elevator pitch plus maybe some of your areas of expertise from your CV (guide seven). It is good to have a consistent message on your CV and your LinkedIn profile. It’s where focus really works, giving you a strong message on LinkedIn rather than a more general one that is unlikely to be seen.

When you put your experience in, think carefully about your job titles. Like your headline, job titles have high weighting in searches, particularly your most recent job titles. If you have a job title that perhaps doesn’t sum up what you did think about changing it to a more commonly used title. You don’t need to include your whole CV in the experience section but do make sure there’s enough information to get recruiters interested.

You can have up to 50 skills and I would recommend you putting 50 skills in and make sure that you rank them in order of importance, particularly the top three, as these are seen without clicking see more.

“Following the advice (from you) I quickly got my LinkedIn page up to date by volunteering people to recommend me for the six key skills that would support my CV. Found that process quite therapeutic and it involved contacting people I'd worked with over the years!!"

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about your routes to market.

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