Any jobseeker today knows that social networking sites like LinkedIn are invaluable resources for making critical contacts. Moreover, in addition to LinkedIn’s effectiveness as a networking tool, many recruiters are now forgoing traditional methods of sourcing candidates for openings and turning directly to this major site as their preferred method of identifying potential employees. This means, if you want recruiters to find you, you’ll need for your online profile to be as powerful as possible.
Although securing recommendations and endorsements are important, the keywords your select to include in your profile are critical. You want recruiters to find you easily and, even more, to like what they see. So think like a recruiter, highlight the skills they’re looking to find, and present yourself as the attractive, winning candidate they’ll want to contact.
Here are 3 key strategies to consider as you build your online profile:
Present a Unified Brand: It is essential that you make certain your LinkedIn profile is current, complete, and that it substantiates how you’re describing yourself on your resume and in your cover letters. Although I suggest customizing both resumes and cover letters to the specifics of any posted position for which you apply (with the right formatting, this can be a relatively easy process), the information should basically be the same as that on your online profile. The way you present yourself forms the foundation of your job search—so make certain that it’s strong, current to the needs of today’s market, and distinguishes you from the competition.
Become Highly Searchable: The strategic use of keywords is critical. You already know that recruiters (both independent and internal company recruiters) will turn to LinkedIn as a primary tool for sourcing candidates and they’re going to find you by the keywords you’ve chosen to include in your profile. Your aim, therefore, is to become as highly searchable as possible. The following are three ways you can accomplish this goal.
- An easy way to identify keywords with the potential to get you noticed by recruiters is to study the postings for your line of work. You’ll want to identify and list skills that are frequently requested in the ads and load up your LinkedIn profile with these valuable industry buzzwords. It goes without saying that you’ll need to actually have the skills they’re requesting. But employers are telling you what they want—so give it to them!
- A second way to make certain that you’re maximizing your LinkedIn profile is to take a look at how others in your line of work are marketing themselves. Use the search feature to source people in your same occupation and check out the words they’re using to highlight their skill sets. Chances are you’ll find some valuable tips that will improve your own profile.
Once you’ve determined several keywords for your area of specialty and identified those relating to your key skills and selling points, you’ll want to embed these attention-grabbing words in both the Summary and the Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile. Think like a recruiter! Which skills will they be looking to find? Be generous and make certain that each of these sections is richly populated with the words, phrases, and job titles recruiters will want to see.
Your All-Important Photo: Another important feature of your LinkedIn profile is the photo you choose to provide. Dress as you would for a job interview; you’ll want to display your image as a professional. You’ll also want to exude your warmth and personality through your photo. A smile is generally best. Your goal is to strike a balance between professionalism and approachability. Employers are looking for skilled problem solvers but they also want to hire someone who’s pleasant to be with.
As you create your profile, you’ll want to factor-in each of these elements. And, as with other aspects of your job search, you’ll want to consider your profile to be a constant work in progress. If you’re not getting results, improve it. An up-to-date profile that highlights your skills and experience to best advantage is critical. Recruiters are looking to find you and are using LinkedIn and other social networking sites as both a way to source and to vet their candidates. So use this valuable platform and turn your profile into a winner!
And for even more key strategies to successfully navigate today’s difficult job market, be sure to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. This step-by-step guide shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success.