Whether you are looking for a new job or want to enhance your personal brand, LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool. In this article I will show you exactly what you can do to be found by recruiters in your field.
Passive Job Search
Many recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates. One reason is that they can search for technical skills very specifically and do not have to sort through 100s applications of which most are not suitable.
Between the Lines of the Job Description
When you apply for a position without talking to somebody at the company upfront, you know only very little about the job. What is written in the job description does not have to be the complete information and sometimes it is not even close to what they are looking for.
HR often puts together the job description with the line manager. There can be huge differences between the job descriptions because some companies want to attract as many candidates as possible and others want to have to sort through as few applications as possible and only receive the perfect candidates. This can result in very long and extremely specific descriptions that almost nobody can fully meet or very short and generic ones.
However, most of the time, what the line manager is really looking for, is not written in plain English in the specifications. I know that from experience of talking to hundreds of companies about what they are really looking for. Therefore it is easier for them to actively search for what they need instead of trying to put it into writing.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn profile
Before you start optimizing, you need to find out what your target keywords are. This will mostly include technical skills like java, c++, IFRS, US GAAP, ITIL, PMP, Salesforce, etc.
Other keywords are your job title or the job title you are interested in.
The IT Executive Example
As an example I use an executive in the IT area with specialization in ERP. This executive has worked in ERP projects since 10 years and implemented new solutions and systems in large and complex structures. He wants to work in an international organization in a head, VP, senior management or director position.
In his case the keywords could be ERP, SAP, IT, head, manager, vice president, director and global.
Optimizing the Profile for Keywords
Once you defined your keywords, it is time to include them at the right place in your profile. There are three main areas for this.
This is basically a sum up of the message you want to communicate. It is also one of the first things people see when they visit your profile. Make it compelling.
As you can see in my profile summary here http://ch.linkedin.com/in/danieljordi, I use keywords like recruitment, job search, career advice, etc. in two different areas. First, I talk about my goal and my believes. I want people to know exactly what my intentions are and why I do what I do. In the second part I list my specialities as keywords to achieve better search results when people search for them.
My headline says “Recruiter | Career Consultant | Career Coach | Job Search Consultant | Career Advisor for Jobs in Switzerland”. This gives me a very high density of keywords and at the same time tells people exactly who I am and what I do. You can use many possible variations of job titles or use a sentence.
This is basically your CV. You can simply copy paste your work experience in here from your Resume. List accomplishments and responsibilities and use your target keywords. You can also adjust the job titles to match the keywords better.
When describing what you did in these jobs, use different variations of keywords, i.e. “Java Developer” “Java Development” “Software Developer” “Java Programmer”, etc.
As a Manager or Executive you can use terms such as “Leadership”, “Lead”, “Managed”, etc. The most important area is the job titles because most recruiters search for them.
“Looking for a job”
I come across many LinkedIn profiles where people say “looking for job”, “Open for a new challenge”, etc. I highly suggest you DON’T do this. First, it makes you look desperate in the eyes of the recruiter and HR and it does not sell your qualities well. Second, this is the worst title you can use in terms of keywords. There is nothing relevant in there. No recruiter will search for “Java Job” if he is looking for a candidate, he will search for “Java Developer”.
Your Current Position/Company
If you are currently out of work, what should you say where you work and what you do? There are many options. First, in case you do some freelance work, add this to your profile. It will show that you are doing something at the moment.
If you are searching for a new job 100% of your time and are out of work since less than 2-3 months, I suggest you leave your profile as it was before you stopped working for that company. You simply don’t update your profile because you don’t have anything new to add for the moment.
If you are out of work since longer than the 2-3 months, simply update your last position by adding an end date and include the keywords and position titles you are looking for into your headline instead of your current position.
My Story With Google
I am on LinkedIn almost since the day it started and received countless job offers through it.
The most interesting offer I have received so far was from Google. One day a few years ago I received a message from a Google recruiter who wanted to talk to me. We had a chat on the phone and he did a quick interview and told me about a position they had as an internal recruiter and because it was Google, I accepted the opportunity to meet the guys and girls in Zurich. They even gave me the chance to skip the first face to face interview round and directly get into the final stage. Because they were looking for somebody 100% and I could only work 80% because of my school and because I just got offered a promotion at Adecco, I decided to refuse the offer.
The whole incident did of course not happen by chance. Because I had a very keyword rich profile, the recruiter from Google was able to find me. Once he was on my profile he saw that I was a great match and contacted me. However, I bet if I was only search result number 25, he would have never found me.
5 Actions to Take Today
1. Think about and write down your target keywords in terms of technologies and job titles.
2. Do a search for your most relevant keyword and write down your current position
3. Include these keywords in your summary, headline and experience
4. Write down your personal vision and mission statement and put it in your summary on LinkedIn
5. Do a test search for your most relevant keyword in the LinkedIn search function and post the difference it makes in the comments below