Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedin-profile-optimization“87% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting, so it’s a good bet that your next employer will look for talent there.” – Dan Fannigan, CEO at Jobvite.

Dan’s company, Jobvite – a SaaS platform for the social web that companies use to find and hire people, discovered this statistic when it conducted a recent study. It’s a good thing to know this fact because it seems LinkedIn is becoming the best method of networking, recruiting, and sharing your resume in the job hunt. Here are some simple actions Dan gives to boost your LinkedIn profile so recruiters find you, and your profile sells itself.

1. Profile Headlines – First Point of Sale

Your headline is your tag line; it is what you are and the first thing someone sees after your name. It is just like when you search Google and you get a search result with the website’s name and a description of the site below it. The headline should be simple, and it doesn’t have to be your job title. Use it as a place to briefly establish who you are. This will establish a personal brand for the rest of the material and position it to fit the jobs you are applying to.

2. Sales and Experience – Who, What, When, Why and How

Dan explains that this section is a story and all the details should be in the beginning. Show the results of your work history and use numbers to quantify it. Recruiters love reading sales increased 150% in 6 months instead of increased sales by a large percentage. Just like a story though, you should make it interesting and easy to read so the recruiter can scan it quickly, and understand what they have read.

There is a section for Specialties underneath the summary section. Use this part for skills you have, and use it like websites use search engine optimization. What websites do is they use the most relevant keywords on their website so when people are searching Google, their website will be among the top results. I’ve covered using keywords in your resume in a similar way to make sure companies’ resume tracking software will pick you out of the plethora of resumes submitted.

3. Past Employers – How They Fit Into Your Profile

Your past employers are indication of what industries you’ve worked in, and recruiters often search by industry (ex. healthcare) instead of just skills. If you’ve worked at a company where it isn’t obvious what they do, go ahead and write a brief description of what that company does. LinkedIn should have a brief description of most companies. When a company has been acquired by another one, use the new company’s name, and if you’ve worked through a staffing firm, then you can write the company’s name via the staffing firms (ex. Kaleida Health via Superior Staffing).

Also, have in this section what accomplishments this company has. For example, Fisher Price -Chosen as #1 in customer satisfaction by JD Power and Associates. Try to have it relevant to what you do. The past example would be good if you were job hunting for customer service jobs. Everybody loves a winner so if you’ve worked at a winning company show it.

4. Recommendations – Best Utilization

Use recommendations from managers and supervisors or people of importance in your industry to give yourself more credit. The recruiter knows that recommendations are slanted to give you a positive view, but job references are still very useful. A job recommendation on LinkedIn is very similar to a job recommendation sheet and you can have the same people as references so make sure to keep and maintain relationships with those people.

5. Connections and Groups – Get Involved

Connect to people on LinkedIn and use it to expand your network. This will help you show up at the top of search results due to them being ordered by how closely connected the person doing the searching is to the resulting people. The more people you are connected to, the more likely you will be at the top of a search result. Just don’t start adding everybody because then it looks like you are just a hoarder and won’t actually have any personal knowledge of your connections. Do you think someone who is connected to 500+ people will have quality information on all of them?

Join groups and add to the the discussion. Post questions, answer questions, and give out advice to others. There’s a bunch of ways to get involved in groups. It doesn’t matter what groups you join just as long as they aren’t negative, and with tradition, it is advised not to have any political or religious groups listed. Being involved in the LinkedIn community will help discover one of those jobs in the hidden job market. Help others and they will help you.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

Originally posted on http://mashable.com/2011/08/09/linkedin-profile-job-search/

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