Whether you’re using LinkedIn for executive job search . . . or career management . . . or building business, you should want to make it work optimally for you.
I review lots of LinkedIn profiles every day, and see some things that still baffle me.
People put things on their profiles that don’t belong there, but they also neglect to put things on them that really need to be there.
Generally speaking, they fail to put themselves in the shoes of people assessing them, and make it easy for these people to find out exactly what they need to know.
Along with the many things people do wrong with LinkedIn as detailed in my post, 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes Most Job Seekers Make, here are perhaps 7 of the most important things too many people DO NOT do on LinkedIn, but should.
7 Thinks You Probably Didn’t Do on LinkedIn, But Should
1. Include a contact email and/or phone number, and make it easy to find.
Some people like to put this info right in their Summary section, but I think the best place is the most obvious one – in the “See contact info” spot that sits to the right of your profile photo, in the so-called “intro” section.
2. Be mindful of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Pay attention to SEO in all content throughout your profile, and fully populate every applicable section of your profile.
A quick explanation of how SEO works in executive job search:
Executive recruiters and others assessing you as a candidate search on keywords relevant to the kinds of candidates they’re seeking, such as “Information Technology Executive, Enterprise Business Systems”.
Working from this understanding, you need to determine which are the right keywords for your particular job search.
Then you need to place those keywords in the right places in your LinkedIn profile and any other online content you create.
More about this in my post, How Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Impacts Executive Job Search.
Identifying the right relevant keywords and phrases revolves around the 3 critical executive job search first steps:
When you target specific companies or organizations that will be a good mutual fit, you’ll be able to research each one to learn what qualities and qualification of yours will be important to them.
You’ll build your personal brand around those qualities and qualifications, so that your personal brand story and messaging will resonate with your target employers.
Following this strategy will make the content in your LinkedIn profile position you as a good-fit candidate for the employers you want to work for.
Pay special attention to these most potent SEO sections of your LinkedIn profile:
- Name field – add relevant certifications and/or designations to your last name
- Headline – customize this instead of keeping the default headline, which is your most recent job title
- Job titles – expand on your actual title by adding more keywords
Why do you need to fully populate every applicable LinkedIn profile section?
That’s an easy one: More content = more relevant keywords = better findability for you.
3. Balance your SEO-driven content with personal brand-reinforcing content.
You need to go beyond packing your profile content with relevant keywords.
The content also needs to at least somewhat convey your personality. And it needs to generate chemistry for you as a candidate and potential employee.
Defining your personal brand and syncing it with your hard skills and qualifications will get you there.
More in my post, How to Balance Personal Branding With Personal SEO.
4. Check all your Settings & Privacy pages to be sure everything is set right.
The four pages within Settings & Privacy as of this writing are Account, Privacy, Ads and Communications.
In general, anywhere you have the option to choose how visible various parts of your profile are should be as wide open as possible. Don’t hide information from some people’s view.
You may want to jig particular things to your own liking, so spend a little time looking around. For instance, under “Privacy”, and “Viewers of this profile also viewed”, you may want to toggle to “No”.
This will delete the sidebar list of other people’s profile thumbnails representing “Viewers of this profile also viewed”. Checking “No” will keep people viewing your profile from jumping away to look at the others.
Another one under “Privacy” to consider adjusting is “Profile viewing options”. If you’re actively viewing profiles of others, but you don’t want them to know it (for whatever reason), choose “Private mode” here. You can switch back and forth as needed, when you are and are not viewing other profiles.
One spot I definitely want you to adjust on the “Privacy” page.
Scroll down to the “Microsoft Word” option, where you can choose whether or not your “work experience descriptions from your LinkedIn profile can be shown in Resume Assistant, a feature within Microsoft Word”.
Toggle to “No” for that option. Read more about this in my post, How LinkedIn’s Resume Assistant Can Negatively Impact Your Personal Brand.
LinkedIn changes these things frequently, so get in the habit of revisiting these pages often.
5. Build up your connections to at least 500.
The more people you’re connected with, the wider you’ve cast your net for opportunities, the more people you’re staying top-of-mind with . . . thus the more likely more good-fit opportunities will come your way.
And, the more connections you have, the more people who are likely to share or like or comment on anything you publish on LinkedIn – updates, Pulse articles, comments, etc. – therefore spreading the word about your personal brand and unique value.
And, once you reach the 500+ connections mark, your profile ranks higher in search results, making you more visible and findable.
More in my post, How Many LinkedIn Connections Are Good For Executive Job Search?
It’s also important to personalize each invitation you send out.
Branding is all about differentiating yourself and standing out from the crowd. Don’t follow the crowd and send the default invitation to connect. The very fact that you take a few moments to compose a brief, personalized invitation will make you stand out. Such few people do this, that it will make you more memorable.
The people you want (and need) to connect with you will be much more likely to accept, if you take a little time to craft a personalized message.
6. Share updates regularly and support other people’s updates.
A powerful tool that most people don’t use on LinkedIn is the ability to “share (or post) updates”. You’ve probably seen other people’s updates in your LinkedIn stream when you first log on.
Take a look at those updates to get ideas for your own updates. Click on “Home” in the menu at the top of your profile and fill in your update where it says (as of this writing) “Share an article, photo, video or idea”.
A few things you should do to help boost brand evangelism and keep your brand top-of-mind:
- Tag people
- Include hashtags
- Include an image or other visual
- Control who sees your updates
Another important thing to do regarding updates:
Combine your sharing updates activities with supporting others’ updates.
For other people’s updates:
“Liking” their updates is okay (and better than doing nothing), but “Commenting” and “Sharing” them is much better.
Actually contributing a compelling comment on someone else’s update gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your subject matter expertise and thought leadership.
And, taking the time to compose a meaty comment helps build brand evangelism for you. It makes people very happy. They’ll be more likely to comment on, or share, your updates.
7. Give and get good LinkedIn recommendations.
Write brand-driven recommendations for others and request recommendations from those who you know will write you a good one.
Having at least a handful of persuasive, brand-reinforcing recommendations, posted within the past few years, make you a more attractive candidate. Of course, more recommendations is even better.
If you’ve been viewing other people’s LinkedIn profiles for research or any reason, I’m sure you’ve been impressed when you come across recommendations for these people.
Good recommendations support your personal brand and ROI to the employers you’re targeting. The true measure of your brand to future employers is reflected in what those who know your work the best have to say about you – co-workers, peers, top management, team members, Boards of Directors, vendors, customers, etc.
More in my post, Give To Get the Best LinkedIn Recommendations.