This 3-part series on LinkedIn, personal branding and executive job search includes:
- Why All Executives Need to be on LinkedIn
- Getting Your Personal Brand Into Your LinkedIn Profile
- Customizing Your LinkedIn Profile URL for Better SEO
- Why You Really Need to Include a Photo
- Taking Advantage of the Skills & Expertise Section
- Expanding Your Network with Quality Connections
- Benefitting from LinkedIn’s Company Follow
- Updating Your LinkedIn Network
- Getting and Giving Great Recommendations
- Getting Busy With LinkedIn Groups
- Tapping into LinkedIn’s Jobs Pages
- LinkedIn and Confidential Job Search
Why All Executives Need to be on LinkedIn
Whether or not you’re willing to accept and embrace them, the digital age and social media will impact your job search.
Taking advantage of the Internet does not mean pushing hard with job boards, and applying and sending your resume to ANY posting that remotely looks like a good fit.
Even used well, the job boards typically yield a dismal estimated 3-5% success rate.
Your time is much better spent on LinkedIn, taking advantage of the value it offers for passive job search, when you’re actively networking for jobs and for overall career management.
Did you know that many surveys indicate that hiring authorities turn to LinkedIn first when they search online for candidates – before heading to Google, other search engines and other social networks?
Recruiters have embraced LinkedIn as their #1 tool for referrals, candidate research and sourcing, and for publishing job openings. They have special applications to search LinkedIn for people like you.
In fact, NOT having a LinkedIn profile can actually be detrimental to your job search. Besides being invisible to the very people you need to find you, you’re showing that you’re out of date with the digital age and the latest career management strategies.
Many savvy executives competing for the jobs you want have already embraced all that LinkedIn has to offer. Even if you don’t use all of LinkedIn’s features, you should have a great profile there, just to keep pace with your competition.
And your LinkedIn profile provides “social proof” corroborating the claims you’ve made about yourself in your other career materials (resume, biography, cover letter, other online profiles and web pages).
Be aware that discrepancies between the documents you provide employers and what they find in your LinkedIn profile (or anywhere online) can red-flag your candidacy.
Like other social networks and social media, LinkedIn periodically tweaks its appearance, existing features and functionality, and updates the site with new features, while eliminating others. Over the past year or so, they’ve rolled out quite a few changes.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn no longer supports Answers, Applications and the ability to upload your career documents onto your profile, allowing people to easily click to open, view, print and save them.
I’ve included below the most important existing LinkedIn features, that I believe (and hope) will always be there, but you may find that some of them mentioned here are no longer available. Consult with the Help Center to fully utilize all that LinkedIn has to offer.
LinkedIn has also recently changed the way profiles look and work, but the changes may not yet have been rolled out to all members. Instructions I include here reflect the way my own profile is functioning at this writing.
You may need to hunt around a little to find everything, but then that will help familiarize you with all that’s going on at LinkedIn.
Getting Your Personal Brand Into Your LinkedIn Profile
Repurpose the content of your branded executive resume, especially the summary section at the top, to create a branded, magnetic LinkedIn profile. Don’t just copy and paste in your resume content. Change it up somewhat.
Make sure that, once people land on your profile, it will immediately capture and hold their attention, and brand your potential value to them.
To improve your profile’s search engine optimization (SEO), pushing your profile higher in search results, make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete and you have at least 100 connections. Get in your most important keywords “above the fold”, especially in your professional headline at the top, and also the “Summary” section.
As with any search engine, the LinkedIn search engine more readily recognizes and indexes the keywords in content that sits higher up on the web page.
More in my post How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Professional Headline SEO-Friendly.
Investigate and fill out every profile section that applies to you. Especially important are the Professional Headline, Summary, Experience, Education, Skills & Expertise and Recommendations sections.
The amount of content you can include in each section is limited, but you should try to use as much of it as possible. Avoid using vague, overused, and anemic phrases that waste precious real estate and do nothing to support the unique value you offer.
More content = more relevant keywords = greater likelihood
that people sourcing candidates like you
will land on your LinkedIn profile.
Whenever you’re about to make changes to your profile, first turn off your Activity Broadcasts (this is different from your “Activity Feed”, which is described in Part 2 of this series), so your connections won’t be notified that you’ve made a change and possibly be alerted that you’re prepping your profile for a job search.
The benefit to turning off Activity Broadcasts when you update your Headline, Summary or any other content in your profile is twofold:
- You’ll avoid annoying your connections with a deluge of update tweaks.
- If you’re in a confidential job search, you’ll avoid notifying your connections that you’re prepping your profile for a job search.
To change your Activity Broadcast, go to Settings, then “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.” Choose “Off” and remember to turn it back “On” (“Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies”), once you’re all finished making changes.
Each of the sections in your profile can be clicked and dragged to another position, whenever you choose. I suggest that, since your Summary section is an introduction to the value you offer, and is loaded with your relevant keywords, you place it high up on your profile.
Monitor your profile views regularly. Keep an eye on who is viewing your profile and consider adjusting it if it’s not getting many views.
Control your privacy settings. Change the defaults if they’re not right for you. For instance, if you don’t want people to know that you’re viewing their profiles, change this setting to “Anonymous”.
Customizing Your LinkedIn Profile URL for Better SEO
Often overlooked, customizing your LinkedIn profile URL can help elevate your search rankings.
Instead of this kind of URL:
See if this one is available:
Better yet, try adding an appropriate short keyword phrase:
For instructions to personalize and optimize your LinkedIn URL, see my post, Best Kept Secret to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile.