Improve LinkedIn Profile

Quick Fixes To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

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When you first joined LinkedIn, it made sense to fill out quick facts to get the profile up and running, just to start connecting with others.

However, if it’s been a few months and you still have a bare-bones profile, it’s less likely to generate any results for your job search, and even if it does attract visitors, they’ll quickly leave to find someone more interesting.

The reality about LinkedIn is this: it’s an amazing job search tool that brings you new leads, impresses your network, and entices recruiters to call — but only if you use it in a way that promotes your professional image.

Look at these types of problems to see if you recognize yours – and take action to improve your LinkedIn profile before it brings your job search to a halt:

Problem #1: The Minimal-Effort Profile

Here it is—your name, college education, and current job. Wait – where’s the rest?

If you haven’t added specifics (such as your full work history for the last 10 years, certifications, or skills), your hit rate among competing candidates will drop substantially. This is because your profile, just like a website, is findable based on the keywords sprinkled throughout the text.

Employers and recruiters scouring LinkedIn for talent also look for context that demonstrates your ability to perform at a particular career level. To satisfy them, you’ll need to add competencies, success stories, and metrics, with detail that resembles (but doesn’t replace) your full resume.

Even in the tight space allowed on the site, readers will then be able to identify your likely next career target and suitability for promotion – which not only improves your LinkedIn profile, but encourages others to network with you.

Problem #2: The Default Headline

LinkedIn has many shortcuts that allow you to quickly fill in crucial data. Most of these are helpful in presenting a polished, professional look to other site users—but the default headline feature isn’t one of them.

When you specify the details of your current job, LinkedIn will ever-so-subtly include a checkbox that is already set to “Update My Headline to (your job title)”. If you leave this information as is, site users will see “Bob Jones, Vice President Finance at ABC Company” throughout all your activity.

However, if you uncheck the box and then edit the Headline available when changing your name field, you’ll have the chance to advertise your career level and competencies with “Bob Jones | VP Finance, Controller, CFO | Growth, Capital, Funding, & Technology Strategies.”

The key in altering your Headline is to use terms that will trigger your hit rate for both your job target and current position (and potentially your industry). Inject a brand message related to your success, as in these examples:

Martin Forester, IT Director. SAP, Infrastructure-Building, & User Responsiveness. Manufacturing & Medical Devices

Claire Wilson | Enterprise Account Executive Accelerating Channel Sales to $40+ Million in Managed Services Markets

Problem #3: The No-Networking-Wanted Approach

If you’ve been paying attention to how LinkedIn works, you’ll make it easy for someone else to contact you. However, this doesn’t just happen unless you take steps to be findable and reachable.

First of all, join groups (a lot of them!) that represent your career goals. The benefit of group membership isn’t just the forums; it’s the fact that LinkedIn allows free contact from other users who share the group with you.

Recruiters, who often use paid memberships to access choice candidates, appreciate this effort, and it can result in additional contact requests from employers via your groups.

Next, ensure that you’ve left the “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive“ option under Settings to fully open, ensuring you’ll receive both introductions and InMail (LinkedIn’s internal e-mail).

Look at the contact information. Yes, it’s buried all the way down at the bottom of your profile, but it’s important.

Did you add a phone number, e-mail address, or both? If not, get going. You can also add this information in the summary section as needed.

There’s no need to make others wonder if you’re open to networking with them; otherwise, why use LinkedIn at all?

The bottom-line message: Making yourself a viable candidate on LinkedIn takes some time and ingenuity. Setting out to improve your LinkedIn profile (bringing it from nearly anonymous to welcoming) is a crucial first step in your search. Use my LinkedIn quick fixes on this page to get started.


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Laura Smith-Proulx

Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.

9 comments

  1. Well, this website focuses on the older job seeker and according a competitor of this site, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, doesn’t really care for older people.

    See here: http://www.cenedella.com/job-search/privacy-is-for-old-people-says-linked-in-founder/

    At least Mr. Hoffman doesn’t care for their privacy and security. I have closed my LinkedIn account. I will not help Mr. Hoffman earn more millions of dollars while he sells all my private information to data miners. Care to comment, Laura?

    • P.S. I should add, out of 15 comments posted at different sites about this subject, I have yet to receive a response. I guess no one cares about security and privacy.

      • I just found this article Charles ( i have to wonder why Caeerealism is needing to recycle articles)

        There is no such thing as privacy or security on the internet. Whether you are using Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Gmail, MS Outlook, etc, etc. I bluntly tell my clients to get over it. PERIOD!

        These online sites are tools for us to benefit from and in order for them to exist, the owners have to be able to make money. Thus, they sell ads and member statistics.

        However, you can manage your privacy and security by doing the following:
        Manage your Privacy & Account Settings – the defaults may not be what you want
        Never share any content online that you would not share with a complete stranger
        Never put your personal address(s) online (even on your PDF version of your resume)
        Pay attention to the sites you are using online.
        Only connect with people you know, trust and respect
        Use different passwords on all of your online accounts, especially your bank account
        Finally, as I discuss in the book “Success using Social Media” – Never do, say or engage on social media, in any way that you do not want to be seen, heard or perceived.”

        You can find Success using Social Media on Amazon –
        http://www.amazon.com/Success-using-Social-Media-ebook/dp/B00EWO45EM

    • Laura Smith-Proulx

      Good question! The main reasons I advocate joining Groups is that doing so will display your interests (i.e., CIOs join IT Executive groups, Sales professionals join Groups for their areas of industry expertise), plus it’s still the only way to have others contact you for free.

      LinkedIn left this as the sole “loophole” when it started to add layers of paid Profile options. Back when I joined the site, things were much more basic, and now there’s at least 9 paid levels of membership designed to promote the whole “InMail” concept.

      You’ll want to be careful, however, not to join Groups for personal affiliations (such as religion-based Groups), or simply hide these on your Profile.

      While the site allows you to join 50 Groups, it’s not necessary to use that many for these 2 purposes. One other area to be cautious is the Group forums, where too many people overshare (an understatement!). These forums are indexed by Google, so what you say can show up all over your digital identity.

      The majority of job hunters that I work with end up joining approximately 20 new Groups, with a substantial rise in their contact volume. I hope this helps to clarify the advice on Groups.

      Kind regards,

      Laura

      • Laura – it is my understanding that comments made in LI groups are not indexed outside of the group. I just tried a google search for myself and found no comments. While you do need to consider your online presence, no matter the arena-closed forums are not open to the public.

        • Laura Smith-Proulx

          Catherine,

          This change took effect in early 2011, with Groups discussions made “open” at the discretion of the Group leader.

          You can read more at: http://www.socialboomerang.com/blog/linkedin-allows-discussion-groups-open-comments-public

          While a few Group leaders kept the discussions closed, many more issued a message to members, noting the open nature of the forums.

          Most of the topics appear to be indexed by subject outside of LinkedIn, rather than your name (although an internal site search should still show your participation). I hope this helps!

          Kind regards,

          Laura

          • Laura, you are correct re comments made on open forums but I checked my groups and found that none of mine are open. When you first join a group, I believe you are informed if the group is open or not.

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