Too many of the executive job seekers I speak with tell me that LinkedIn isn’t doing much for them. When I take a look at their LinkedIn profile, the reason is often immediately clear.
They’ve made mistakes with their profile or they neglected to do some very important things with it.
No question that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for both passive and proactive executive job search and career management.
Here’s how the passive vs. proactive thing works with LinkedIn:
Using LinkedIn Passively for Executive Job Search and Career Management
So few people get it right with their LinkedIn profiles. If you create a fully fleshed out profile with the right information, in the right places, you’ll be way ahead of the game . . . even if you do nothing more.
It will sit there drawing people to it (and you) and supporting the value you offer, without you lifting a finger . . . except to respond to InMails, messages and requests to connect.
This is not a particularly smart way to use LinkedIn. Even if you’re not job-hunting, you should continuously connect with new people and network with existing connections.
But at least working on building the content in your profile is much better than leaving a bare-bones profile sitting there, doing very little for you.
For overall healthy career management, LinkedIn used proactively (and smartly) will better position you for good-fit opportunities.
Using LinkedIn Proactively for Executive Job Search and Career Management
When you’re in active networking and job search mode, you need to make use of the LinkedIn “active” features that help you connect and stay top-of-mind with people, and demonstrate your thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
Most of my c-suite and senior-level executive clients are not actively job-searching. But they wisely realize that things can change at any time, so they want their LinkedIn profiles to be in place, and their personal marketing documents (resume, biography, etc.) to be at-the-ready.
They understand that they need great content in their LinkedIn profile, to help them get found by executive recruiters and their target employers.
Now that you understand how to use LinkedIn both passively and proactively, let’s look at how to make your LinkedIn profile work better for you.
Avoid these 5 things that will sabotage the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile
1. No Attention to Keyword Density
If you want executive recruiters and your target employers to find you on LinkedIn, you need to draw them to your profile through the relevant keywords and phrases they search to source candidates like you. These typically represent your key areas of expertise, or “hard skills”, such as Change Management, Product Development, Emerging Technology Launch, etc.
Strategically placed, the right keywords elevate your search rankings in LinkedIn’s search engine, increasing your profile’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and significantly boosting the likelihood you’ll be found and considered by them.
The content in certain sections – typically those that sit higher on the web page containing your profile – rank highest with LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
Make sure these top-of-the-page sections are load with the right keywords – profile headline, your name (where you can add certifications to your last name), Featured section, job titles, and the About section. But also strive to use plenty of your relevant keywords throughout your profile.
An important caveat about keyword density. Always be mindful that human beings are also reading your profile, so make sure that your profile content overall is an interesting read.
2. Lacking Personal Branding and Chemistry
Hiring decision-makers and executive recruiters reviewing LinkedIn profiles are looking for overall good fit. They want to know more about you than just your hard skills. Chemistry is very important to them. They want to know what you’re like to work with, how you get things done, and if you’ll fit their corporate culture.
Personal branding helps you create chemistry. Don’t be afraid to give a feel for your personality, passions, and values. Branding also makes for interesting reading, unlike the possibly hundreds of similar, lifeless LinkedIn profiles these people come across.
3. Not Enough Content
A bare-bones profile with only job titles and education (and maybe a little information under each one) will do very little for you. The more content in your profile, the greater the likelihood it contains plenty of your relevant keywords. And the better picture you paint of the value you offer your target employers.
LinkedIn offers many different kinds of profile sections to fill with content. Look around for them and use all that apply to you.
4. No Professional Profile Photo
A profile lacking any photo at all will probably send up an immediate red flag. People will wonder what you’re hiding. They may wonder whether yours is a spam profile.
As I’ve said, personal branding is also about creating chemistry, or emotional connection. People connect easier and believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo.
They’re more likely to reach out to someone when they can “see” the person. Your photo helps to personalize and humanize your brand-driven content.
Use an appropriate photo in which you’re smiling and looking into the camera.
5. An “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” Mentality
Many executives have an aversion to social media, but they know they can’t ignore it entirely.
So, they put up a LinkedIn profile years ago, because too many people told them they must be on LinkedIn. Then they promptly forgot about it.
They never went back to fully flesh out their profile, keep it updated, and align it with their changing career goals.
You need to revisit your profile every few months and make sure it will position you to reach your career goals. This post of mine will help you, When Was the Last Time You Updated Your LinkedIn Profile?
Another reason to revisit your profile regularly: As LinkedIn continuously updates and improves the user experience, sometimes functionality changes and/or things go missing.
If you don’t take a look and make any needed adjustments, you could have gaps or be missing critical information in your profile.