All too many executives follow a “build it and forget it” strategy with LinkedIn. They never revisit and update their LinkedIn profile.
They put up a perfunctory profile years ago – perhaps the last time they were job-hunting – and promptly forgot about it, once they landed a job.
They’re forgetting that their LinkedIn profile needs to differentiate and position them as a good-fit candidate for their current target employers.
They didn’t feel they needed to use LinkedIn any more, essentially ignoring the importance of LinkedIn for healthy career management and ongoing networking, even when they aren’t job-hunting.
Some don’t even remember they HAD created a profile. I hear it all the time from job seekers. I’ve Googled their names and found their minimal LinkedIn profile, but they don’t remember putting it up.
LinkedIn has been around since 2002 and has been an essential tool for executive job search almost ever since then.
I’ll tell you why . . .
8 Reasons LinkedIn Is a Job Search Must
2. Recruiters have embraced LinkedIn as their #1 tool for referrals, candidate research and sourcing, and for publishing job openings. That makes LinkedIn one of the best places to be found online by recruiters and hiring decision makers.
3. LinkedIn constantly adds new features and tools to help you advance your job search and career.
4. Networking to uncover leads and stay top-of mind with people who can help you are the best ways to land your next great gig. LinkedIn is the most important place for professional social networking.
5. Many of the people competing for the jobs you want, with the employers you’re targeting, are using LinkedIn to be found and network their way into these jobs. Just to keep pace with them, you need to do the same.
6. Having a strong, fully fleshed out, keyword-rich LinkedIn profile boosts high-quality search results for “your name”. When hiring professionals do a Google search on “your name” to assess you (a standard practice), your LinkedIn profile will likely show up within the first 3 search results.
7. Having a strong LinkedIn profile indicates that you’re social media savvy and up-to-date with the new world of work. NOT having a strong LinkedIn profile can actually be detrimental to your job search.
8. Your LinkedIn profile provides critical “social proof” corroborating the claims you’ve made about yourself on paper (resume, biography, cover letters, etc.).
So, you have a LinkedIn profile, and you know how important LinkedIn is. But have you actually gone to your profile page lately to see what’s there?
Have you done anything to update the content there − new job(s), responsibilities, achievements and contributions, training, etc.?
20 Ways to Update Your LinkedIn Profile
As you update your LinkedIn profile, always keep in mind that the content in your profile needs to position you as a good fit for your target employers.
1. If you’re in a job search, is all the content aligned with what makes you a good-fit candidate for your target employers?
2. Does the content reinforce your personal brand and differentiate your unique value to your target employers, above your competitors?
3. Does the content in all profile sections contain enough of the relevant keywords that will push your profile higher in LinkedIn search results?
4. Does your profile headline, in particular, contain the most important relevant keywords that recruiters and hiring decision makers will be searching to find candidates like you?
5. Did you populate every applicable section, with the maximum number of characters allowed for each one (or as close as you can come)? The more content in your profile, the more relevant keywords it will contain, and the more likely your profile will rank high in search results.
6. Is your profile photo/headshot good enough? It should be a fairly close-up picture of only you – no group shots, please – dressed appropriately and with a pleasant expression.
7. Did you fill in your Contact Info so people can easily get in touch with you?
8. Did you pay close attention to the visible first few lines of your About section, to capture attention and make people want to click “…see more”?
9. Did you break up big chunks of content in the About, Experience and other large blocks, adding white space for better readability?
10. Did you highlight achievements and contributions with bullet points, or better yet, with special bullet point symbols?
11. Have you joined relevant LinkedIn Groups and displayed their logos on your profile?
12. Do you regularly post updates to your LinkedIn feed, to keep your personal brand top-of-mind with your network?
13. How old is your most recent LinkedIn recommendation – 3 or more years? Time to work on getting some fresh ones.
14. Are your Skills & Endorsements piling up the way you’d like? Are your top 3 (the ones that appear without opening the whole list) the most important ones, that will matter most to your target employers? If not, re-prioritize your list.
15. Do you need to make any adjustments to Settings & Privacy? Take a look at all the options there.
16. Are you using the latest profile features? New ones may have been added since the last time you looked.
17. Can you use any of the additional sections you’ll find under “Add profile section” – Publications, Certifications, Courses, Projects, Honors & Awards, Patents, Test Scores, Languages, Organizations?
18. Are you publishing articles on LinkedIn’s long-form publishing platform (or Pulse), or at least commenting on other people’s Pulse articles?
19. Did you upload personal branding videos and/or images to appropriate profile sections?
20. Do your jobs in the Experience section include logos for the companies? Check to see if the company appears in the drop-down as you type in the name. If the company has a LinkedIn company profile, it should appear so you can add the logo there – a good visual. Do the same with schools in the Education section.
For more tips to update your LinkedIn profile, and to build your overall LinkedIn strategy see my Essential LinkedIn Guide for Today’s Executive Job Search