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“ACTIVATE” YOUR LINKED-IN PROFILE

Recruiters and employers alike scour the pages of LinkedIn endlessly. Various experts, called InFluencers, post insider news and opinions on what seems an hourly basis. People find new jobs and research companies while employers find their new employees daily. If you are a professional working in any city, state or country of the world you need to be on LinkedIn. If not, you are missing a great potential for professional growth and recognition and to simply stay informed. However, you can’t just join, upload a cute pic, list a few past job titles and call it a day. Being an active participant in your profile, common ground groups and InFluencer Posts will boost not only your street cred but your marketability as well.

I once sat with Career Readiness Expert, Rick Sears and he said something that forever changed the way I looked at jobs, companies and careers. He said, “99% of employers are hiring.” As a Career Services Director at a local college at the time I thought; “How is that possible? I call companies every day and they tell me they are not hiring.” He went on to explain that there is always someone who will work harder and better. A good leader will recognize a weak link and replace them appropriately. Where do they find this stronger, smarter, faster employee?   Do you really not know the answer at this point? Let me spell it out for you… L I N K E D I N.

That being said, take a look at your profile. Will your profile pass the recruiter test? Don’t care? I know what you are thinking. “I love my job and don’t want to leave so why would I need to make my profile shine?” Let me ask you this. Is your company 100% secure financially? Are you sure you meet and exceed your manager’s expectations every day? Are you 100% sure that there is not someone who can do your job better than you with a bright and shiny LinkedIn profile just waiting to be found? I will let you ponder that while I go over some tips Recruiters would love to tell you about your profile. Now this stuff isn’t rocket science and it certainly is not new. I found a blog referencing some of this stuff since 2011. Just taking a few minutes to spruce yourself up will pay off.

1.  Headshot: A picture of you and only you. Your head should be the majority of the little square they give you but should certainly not take up the whole box. Take off your sunglasses and put down your beer. This is not the place for a #selfie. Let someone else take a pic of you.

2.  Headline: That line under your name that most people waste with a bland statement or worse their current title at their current employer. BORING! Just like a headline on a newspaper, your headline needs to attract the attention of its reader. I recently came across several Headlines that caught my attention. “The Swiss Army Knife of Strategy and Innovation”, “The Lion of Search” and “The Bearded Businessman.” What do these have in common? They all leave you with wanting more, they make you want to read the rest of the profile. If you are feeling very confident you can even try something like these headlines; “The Right Man for the Job” and “Until You Have Seen Digital the Way I Do Digital, You Haven’t Seen Digital.” Think that’s over the top? I don’t and employers won’t either if you have the skills to back it up. You can try a more conservative approach and use a generic job title. For example: Fashion Advertising Expert, Customer Service Consultant, and Experienced Management Professional. These too will leave your reader wanting to see what exactly qualifies you by reading through your profile.

That brings me to my next point.

3.  Summary, Experience & Education: The easiest and fastest way to spit shine these sections is to mirror your resume. Recruiters and employers want to see consistency. So make sure you are CONSISTENT! LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to elaborate and you can certainly take advantage of that to an extent but make sure the base of the content is the same. As my father used to say (and I suspect he got it from an old John Wayne film, but I can’t be sure), “keep your cards close to your chest.” You don’t need to divulge everything, leave some information to discuss at the interview.

4.  Skills: Find out what key words are popular in your industry and if that happens to be a skill of yours, list it in the skills section. Here is a spot where more is not always better. Fine tune your list to important skills, technologies and certifications related to your field. Then start gathering endorsements. Recruiters check this section all the time to see if other people agree with your statement about your “MS Word Expertise” for example.

5.  Other Stuff: Don’t forget awards, publications, volunteering and languages. These help to round out your profile. Advice for contacting you? Please give recruiters and employers a fighting chance at reaching you. Don’t tell us to send you a LinkedIn message but have your account set not to accept messages. Yes! That happens. Just the other day actually. Give us an email address at the very least; a direct phone number would be even better. I love to see a note that says you are open to new employment opportunities. Why wouldn’t you be? Quick Story: After a few weeks of reaching out to (ie. relentlessly tracking) a fellow I found on LinkedIn we finally got to chatting. A long story short we discovered that he was being grossly underpaid for his experience and expertise. The industry standard was $20,000 more for his exact position in a similar sized company. Needless to say he was now open to new opportunities. I do want to say that pay is not always the motivator.  Working environments and company culture rank among the highest of reasons why people are willing to move on. But that’s a topic for a different day.

6.  Recommendations: Write them and ask for them. That’s enough on that section.

So now you know why it’s important for your profile to be a diamond in the sky and how to get it to really shine, but there is one last thing:

BE ACTIVE.

Read articles, post comments, write blogs, follow important companies and people. This will help you stay current and relevant. Most importantly, it will show recruiters and employers that you care about your field and want to be an influential part of your industry, thus making them want YOU to be on their team.

In conclusion: 

Classy Headshot + Shiny Profile + Active Contributions = Endless Career Growth Potential

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