Mir is a certified professional resume writer and volunteers her time with Dress for Success.
LinkedIn facts: (from Kinsta.com)
- Users only spend about 17 minutes on LinkedIn per month.
- 39% of LinkedIn users pay for LinkedIn Premium
- Only 3 million users (out of the more than 500 million) share content on a weekly basis. This means that only about 1% of LinkedIn’s 260 million monthly users share posts, and those 3 million or so users net the 9 billion impressions.
- With more than 20 million companies listed on the site and 14 million open jobs, it’s no surprise to find out that 90% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn.
About 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions (managers, VPs, Directors, C-level).
So, to use all of these statistics to paint a picture:
There are many more or less “inactive” users on LinkedIn, and there are two main groups of people who use LinkedIn regularly:
- Recruiters and hiring managers who are using LinkedIn to find and vet candidates
- There’s the 1% of the 260 million LI users you talked about, Katie: these are ambitious, career-focused professionals who are using LinkedIn to make connections, to stay informed about trends in their industry, to market themselves for future career opportunities, and to build their personal brand.
So what I’m excited to talk to your listeners on today’s podcast is how to be one of the one-percenters. Katie to introduce the three things.
1. Create a well written, complete, and keyword optimized LinkedIn profile2. Build your network, give/get recommendations, and follow target companies3. Engage with others and write/post original content for your network/followers 1. Create a well written, complete, and keyword optimized LinkedIn profile. There are a few components to your LinkedIn page and you want to fully flesh out your entire profile. Complete Your Personal Profile. LinkedIn research shows that users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities via their LinkedIn activities. Also, LinkedIn takes into account the completeness of your profile in its search algorithm, which means you’re more likely to rank higher on the search results page if your profile is 100% complete. Get the Headshot Right. It might be worth hiring a professional photographer to work with you. The photo is crucial. One study used eye-tracking software to find that recruiters spent 19% of their time on any given LinkedIn profile just looking at the photo. So, it’s important to get it right. Also, profiles with a photo get up to 21x more views and 36x more messages. You definitely don’t want to leave the photo space blank. Use good lighting to get a crisp, clean image. Choose the right top, jewelry, hairstyle, and so forth. Smile and look at the camera. Keep the background simple and crop appropriately: head and shoulders. Not too close, not too far away. I’ve been writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles for 10 years and I think people are now really starting to get the photo right. I used to see a lot more people using photos of themselves in formal wear — like from a wedding photoshoot, in spaghetti straps or a tuxedo — or in a much too casual setting — in sunglasses, with a child, with someone obviously cropped out. Use Your Headline to Get Noticed. By default, LinkedIn assigns you a headline that consists of your job title @ your company name. So, it might read something like, “Sr. Software Engineer at IBM.” Many people don’t realize that they can use this space more strategically. Your headline should clearly explain what you do and who you do it for—in language a hiring manager or recruiter would use. When someone conducts a search on LinkedIn, possibly looking for potential candidates to fill a role, the search results display, at a glance, a few key pieces of information.
Also, you want to be strategic about keywords; your headline is a great place to include keywords that will position you for the jobs you’re seeking. What about your job title? There really isn’t one “right” way to address this, but my favorite tactic is to use the headline to promote what you want to do next, while not overtly advertising the fact that you’re not currently working. So, for instance, if your last job was as a project manager, but that job ended five years ago, you put an end date of 2014 on that job and use your headline to say something like: Experienced Project Manager …or go with something more specific and memorable that also builds your credibility, like: PMP-Certified IT Project Manager For people who want to shift careers, you can’t do too much to change the job titles you have had in the past, but you can use your headline to position yourself for the job you want next. So, for instance, if your career so far has been in one thing and you want to move into another thing, your headline is a great place to highlight that. I’ll use the example of a 12th grade English Language Arts teacher who wanted to leave teaching and get a job with an educational software company as an English language arts subject matter expert. Her headline used to be: English Teacher at Sanderson High School ….and, when we gave her a LinkedIn makeover, we changed her tagline to: Educational Software Development Consultant with an M.Ed. in English Language Arts and 15+ Years of Classroom Experience (remember that you only have 120 characters) Nail the “About” Section. Whatever message you decided to promote in your headline, elaborate on it in your About section. Start with a compelling opening statement. If you’ve been on LinkedIn lately, you know that you can only see the first line and a half of the summary and you actually have to click “See more” to continue reading that section. You want to make that first interesting enough to get someone to keep reading. Use keywords throughout your summary. You have up to 2,000 characters to play with. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality, tell a story, use a casual, conversational tone, and talk about what makes you unique or what your professional passions are. Keep it readable by using short paragraphs or bullet points. And definitely highlight your qualifications and skills. These are most likely going to dovetail with some of your most strategic keywords. So, when you are thinking about what kinds of things you might want to talk about in your LinkedIn About section, you might want to consider how you got into the career that you now have — or the career you want to transition into. You can focus on what do you take pride in at work, or what you’re most known for, or why you’re good at what you do. You can think about things you have overcome to get to where you are today. Maybe tell a “before and after” story or describe your professional journey. Sometimes we can write great LinkedIn profiles for our clients that center on that person’s professional or leadership philosophy. Exploring that can be the beginning of a really interesting, passionate About section. And I always like to ask my clients: “What one thing do you want to make sure people know about you after having read your new LinkedIn profile?” Think about that and be sure to capture that in your new About section as well. How do you find the right keywords? I’ve already mentioned keywords a few times already because, yes, they’re so important. I have three ideas here for how people can do a little research to better understand what types of keywords it makes the most to sprinkle throughout the content on your LinkedIn page. 1. You can use LinkedIn’s “Skills” section to research skills and job functions. If you start typing a skill, LinkedIn will auto-fill in the rest of the skill, so you can see what keywords others use most commonly. 2. You can look at the LinkedIn profiles of your colleagues and counterparts to see how they are positioning themselves and what keywords they are using. 3. You can browse job ads on LinkedIn that are typical of jobs you would be interested in. Keywords that come up, again and again, are probably good keywords to incorporate into your profile. Also, a note about what to put for your location. Number one, you don’t want to leave that section blank. It’s really important with respect to LinkedIn’s search algorithm. But number two, if the city where you currently live is different from the city where you want to work, list your location as the city where you want to work so that recruiters there can find you more easily. How long should your About section be? I mentioned that LinkedIn gives you up to 2,000 characters. How much of that you decide to use is really up to you. I sometimes prefer shorter, more formal About sections for CEOs and high-level executives. Some profiles are longer, and that’s fine too. Use as much or as little space as you need to tell the story that you want to tell. Your About section should really feel authentic and should “sound like you,” even if you paid someone else to write it for you! 2. Build your network, give/get recommendations, and follow target companies What we’ve talked about so far is the set-it-and-forget-it aspect of LinkedIn. Now that your profile is populated with content, you’re done, right?
Well, you could do that. And that’s how the vast majority of people on LinkedIn treat it.
But LinkedIn is much more than just a static record of your career history or an old-fashioned Rolodex of your contacts. It’s your online reputation. It’s a living, breathing record of your professional life as well as a platform to deepen your professional network and position yourself as an expert in your field. Someone who is informed about their industry, current with trends, and generous in sharing resources and information with others. So, first, let’s talk about building your network…. LinkedIn search algorithm favors profiles that have more than 500 connections, so work to get at least that many. When LinkedIn first launched, the common practice was to connect only with people you’d actually worked within a professional setting. Over the years, that has changed and now most people connect pretty openly with not only co-workers and colleagues, but also personal friends, counterparts in the same industry, people they’ve met at professional conferences, customers or clients, LinkedIn influencers, and people they may know at companies that they’d like to work for. I like to advise job seekers to create a shortlist of companies they’re targeting and then follow those companies on LinkedIn. You’ll start to get news from those companies in your daily feed, which will help you keep tabs on company news product releases, hiring announcements, and so forth. You can also see if you know someone that works at one of your target companies — or if you know someone who knows someone who works there. If you have a second-level connection with someone at a target company, send a personalized connect request, mentioning your mutual connection. Or, ask your mutual friend to make an email introduction. This kind of online networking can lead to face-to-face networking. My LinkedIn pet peeve: people I don’t know who invite me to connect without a personalized message. I’m really open to connecting to people I don’t know, but I can’t figure out why people would invite me to connect without introducing themselves, or telling me what we have in common or why they want to connect with me in the first place. It’s so simple, but so many people overlook this. Is it OK to ask for recommendations? Yes, absolutely. If someone has a number of great recommendations, it shows that people enjoy working with them, and I would probably like working with them, too. Having solid LinkedIn recommendations acts as proof that the skills and credentials on your profile aren’t made up or exaggerated. LinkedIn even makes it easy to ask someone for a recommendation. Right on the Recommendations tab of your LinkedIn profile — which you have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see –, there’s a link that says “Ask for a Recommendation.” Click the link, personalize your request, and click send. Don’t be afraid to give the person you’re asking for some guidance. Not only will you end up with a better, more specific recommendation that’s better aligned with your professional goals, but the chances are also good that the person will appreciate the guidance and will get around to writing the recommendation sooner because you’ve made it easier for them. Just point out two or three things that you’d like them to speak to in the recommendation. Maybe it’s your team leadership skills, or your ability to build rapport with customers, or your ability to prepare and deliver great presentations. Sometimes, the best way to get a recommendation is to give a recommendation. People will often just “return the favor.” When you give a recommendation, that recommendation will be listed not only on the LinkedIn profile of the person you’re recommending but also on YOUR LinkedIn profile. Many people don’t realize that. Giving a recommendation to someone else is an opportunity to “sound smart” on LinkedIn by posting insightful and well-written recommendations for your colleagues and connections. What you notice, comment on, or admire in someone else says a lot about your own values, so keep that in mind. 3. Engage with others and write/post original content for your network/followers So when we talk about using LinkedIn to promote yourself as someone who is engaged and informed, current with respect to trending topics, and generous in sharing resources and information with others, how are you going to do that? You’re going to do it by liking, commenting, and sharing the content that other people post AND by creating and sharing your own unique content in your own unique voice. Post regularly. Daily, or a couple of times a week. No more than twice a day, though, ideally. Research shows that engagement drops steeply after two posts/day. If your content is interesting and compelling, people will react to it. If a connection of yours likes/shares your post, it will be seen by your 2nd-degree connections and help you get more engagement. Use images to increase your views by 11 times. If you’re linking to an online article, LinkedIn will pull an image from the article, but if you’re posting a unique piece of writing or idea, think creatively about what kind of image you could use to go along with your post. Ideas for LinkedIn Posts: Advice or information geared for your target customers.A relevant YouTube video or Ted Talk.A link to an article in which you were quoted.Information about the launch of a new product or service.A promotion or special your company is running.Tips, tricks, and how-to’s; experiment with video.Industry trends and your observations about them.Predictions or opinions; try to get a discussion going.Lessons learned; share your journey with others.Job postings that your company has open.Customer testimonials.An inspirational or motivational “quote of the day.” The last thing you could think about doing, and this takes a little more time and effort, but you could write and publish articles on LinkedIn to help establish your brand and share your expertise. Think of LinkedIn as your professional “blog” with a base of readers already built-in. You can write quite long posts, but the ideal length seems to be between 500 and 700 words. Write about the things you know about. So for instance, if you look through the articles I’ve written and published on LinkedIn from 2014 till now, I have covered topics like: What to do when you’re laid offHow to job search before you relocateWhat shows up on a background checkPhone interview tipsHow to conduct salary negotiations Whatever field you’re in, what do you know a lot about? What can you teach people about? Think about those things and consider putting together a LinkedIn article. Some people post monthly. I try to post a new article about four times/year. content published on Thursday tends to perform the best. Of the 10,000 most shared posts on LinkedIn between 2012 and 2016, only 6% were written by LinkedIn influencers.
Let’s wrap up with a quick review of the 3 steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile for job search.
If you need a professional to help with your job search tools, here’s how you can reach Mir:
firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.linkedin.com/in/mir-garvy/
You can also see Mir in action at the Back to Business Women’s Conference in Research Triangle Park, NC on February 21 where she’ll be speaking specifically about how to write your resume if you’ve got a gap in your career because you took time off. You can find more information about the conference at BacktoBusinessConference.com.
1. Create a well written, complete, and keyword optimized LinkedIn profile2. Build your network, give/get recommendations, and follow target companies3. Engage with others and write/post original content for your network/followers
Now that you know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, go do it! I believe in you!