Along with being an essential tool for executive job search, LinkedIn plays an important role in overall career management. Did you optimize LinkedIn for your job search and career?
I’ve found that many executives have a “build it and forget it” mindset with LinkedIn. They put up a minimal profile, and never revisit it, and never take advantage of all the things LinkedIn has to offer.
They don’t seem to realize that LinkedIn is a primary destination for people who are sourcing and assessing good-fit job candidates and people to do business with.
That means executive recruiters and other hiring professionals are all over LinkedIn, looking for candidates like you.
If your profile is less than stellar and doesn’t contain the most-searched relevant keywords and phrases for your particular circumstances, you may be overlooked for great new career and business opportunities.
40 Things You Need To Do To Optimize LinkedIn
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you can and should do on LinkedIn. But doing these things will put you way ahead of most others, who do very little there.
Build Your LinkedIn Profile
- Create a billboard (the column-wide space that your profile photo lays over) with an image and/or content that supports your personal brand.
- Create a keyword-rich Professional Headline, instead of leaving the default, your most current job title.
- Make your contact info easy to find. Put it in the “Contact info” spot that sits under your name, at the top.
- Customize your LinkedIn URL to include your name and a relevant keyword or certification acronym.
- Upload a professional photo to your profile. Profiles with photos get more views.
- Know who you’re targeting and build keyword-rich content designed to resonate with them.
- Add the maximum 50 skills in the Skills & Endorsements section, positioning your most important 3 skills first.
- One of the most important ways to optimize LinkedIn: Fully populate every applicable profile section with content that supports your personal brand, generates chemistry and positions you as a good-fit for your target employers.
Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
- Tell your personal brand story in the About section. Don’t be afraid to give a feel for your personality. Add images and kinetic animation videos in this section. Generate chemistry!
- Include plenty of white space throughout your profile, so it’s easier for people to read, and encourages them to read down the web page.
- Use bullet points to highlight relevant achievements and contributions.
- Add other special characters to distinguish standout content.
- Be ever-mindful of Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keyword density in your profile content.
- Build content to populate these little-used profile sections, if they apply to you – Languages, Volunteering Experience, Organizations, Honors & Awards, Courses, Patents, Publications, Projects, Certifications.
- Check Privacy and Settings to be sure your profile is set to allow anyone to see your public profile.
- Every time you make changes to your profile, save a copy as a Word or PDF document. Profiles have been known to disappear suddenly.
- Make sure all of the content in your profile has been well-proofread and contains no grammatical, punctuation or spelling errors.
Build and Engage Your LinkedIn Network
Now that your LinkedIn profile is up and working passively for you, drawing people in, work on proactively using all the features you can to optimize LinkedIn for your job search.
- Get LinkedIn Premium, especially if you’re actively job-hunting.
- Check “Who viewed your profile” regularly to identify warm leads to reach out to.
- Build your connections to at least 500, to boost your LinkedIn search ranking.
- Develop a strategy and scripts to connect with people you don’t know, who will be important to network with.
- Search for LinkedIn Company profiles of your target employers and follow their employees.
- Connect with employees at past and current employers.
- Connect with executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies.
- Use LinkedIn Alumni feature (https://www.linkedin.com/alumni) to find and connect with alumni.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume and in your email signature and website (if you have one).
Research and Market Intelligence
- Study the details on LinkedIn (company) Pages of your target employers. Use them to assess the company and to identify employees.
- Look at the profiles of employees of your target employers. Connect with them and scan their profiles for market intelligence and relevant keywords to boost your personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- Search job listings for your target employers in LinkedIn Jobs. A wealth of information about the company is provided in these descriptions.
Keep Your Personal Brand Top-of-Mind
- Prioritize Skills and Endorsements regularly, as people give endorsements and your list shifts.
- Post relevant updates regularly, say, once a week or so. Include hashtags and tag people, for better impact.
- Refresh the content in your profile regularly to align with your current job search/career focus, and to upgrade with current relevant keywords.
- Join and participate regularly in LinkedIn Groups to demonstrate your thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
- Write articles for LinkedIn’s long-form publishing platform Pulse.
- Write recommendations for colleagues, co-workers, team members, etc. and ask for recommendations for yourself. Having at least 3 recommendations is acceptable, but strive for at least 10.
- Reach out to your network regularly to see how they’re doing, offer support, and pass along something of interest to them.
- Support your network with “Likes”, shares, other reactions, and comments on their updates and Pulse articles.
If You’re Job Hunting Undercover
- Strike a balance in your profile content to support your current employer, while positioning yourself as a good-fit for target employers.
- Change your profile settings before and after posting new content, so that your network won’t be alerted.
- Be ready in case people notice your new profile content and ask you about it. Formulate a brief explanation for why you’ve updated your profile content, that doesn’t “out” your job search.