By: Dorian Merrill, Managing Director
In my line of work I spend a lot of time seeking candidates for opportunities that my firm is retained to conduct the searches for. I consider 500 or more people for every search, using a wide variety of resources including LinkedIn. In recent years LinkedIn has become THE platform on which to “see and be seen” in the professional world. According to statistics, there are now 500 million members, with professionals joining at a rate of two per second!
What does this mean to you if you are passively open to a new opportunity or actively seeking your next position? It means that setting yourself apart is increasingly important as membership continues to grow. Add to that LinkedIn’s progressive shift towards a more social media-inspired platform and you may find yourself just one of the millions lost “in the haystack” instead of being found like the “needle” on LinkedIn.
The good news is, most experts agree on what it takes to optimize your presence on LinkedIn and you don’t need to be an expert yourself to craft a profile that will significantly improve your chances of being noticed.
How do I know? Well, the members of my firm recently engaged in an interesting debate with each other about what really does impress when it comes to LinkedIn profiles. Our aim was to create a set of recommendations and guidelines for the clients who participate in our Executive Transition Services (ETS) program, and we all came armed with the latest research and insights from leaders in the fields of recruiting, marketing and personal branding.
While we didn’t agree with all of the experts’ opinions, we did come to a consensus among our team and honed in on three main points.
First and foremost, make an effort!
Your LinkedIn profile is a valuable way to represent yourself professionally, so make the effort to optimize it. To get noticed, you’ll need a profile that’s strong both visually and in content. Include a great headshot, dynamic headline and summary (hint: “keyword rich” is best), and full career history with highlights of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
While you are at it, pepper in some graphics to increase the attention grabbing impact of your profile, and make sure your contact information is visible to everyone, not just 1st-degree connections.
Next, your LinkedIn profile does you no good if…
…you don’t show up in search results. If someone doesn’t find you then they can’t reach out to you. You don’t have to be an SEO genius to optimize your standing, just make sure you have a fully completed and keyword rich profile, grow your network of 1st-degree connections and join groups to expand your broader network, and participate by publishing and/or sharing content through your LinkedIn feed.
Lastly, remember that your profile is dynamic, not static.
If you last updated your profile a year or more ago, that’s a problem. Like most social media applications, LinkedIn is a fluid platform and those professionals that keep their profiles current and actively participate in the networking process through messaging connections, joining groups, and contributing through status updates are the ones who shine like needles in the long run.
If you want customized guidance and support with your career transition, reach out to me and we at Leading Principals can help you. Either way, get out there and put these tips into action. Who knows, your next career opportunity may be a LinkedIn profile update away!