by Robin Ryan
Wouldn’t you think people working in HR would have a great presence on LinkedIn, especially if they are recruiters or in talent acquisition? Yet, when you search them out, you’ll find quite a few have pretty poor profiles. Karen, a director of employee relations, had an incomplete LinkedIn profile and thought nothing of it. Then her employer of eleven years started making leadership changes. Her boss departed, and she got a new manager whom she instantly disliked. Within a few months, she realized it was time to move on. In our first career counseling conversation, she said, “I knew that LinkedIn was a vital career tool, but I hadn’t cared. Then once I began my job hunt and networking, a few friends mentioned getting calls from recruiters off their LinkedIn profile. That’s when I realized I needed to completely revamp it.”
Jen had recently graduated from college with a degree in communications. She had set her sights on being a marketing coordinator. Yet, she was struggling to get her first job. Jen needed help to impress recruiters and wanted a top-notch profile. When she started to write it, Jen got overwhelmed. She needed help identifying keywords, writing a headline, and promoting her internship and academic experience. She called for assistance. Together we created a new LinkedIn profile that reflected what she’d accomplished and presented her in a positive light. Jen got a call from a major airline. Her interview went very well, and she landed that coveted position. Once she got hired, the recruiter told her, “I always check out a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before I start the interview process. If I’m not impressed, I move on. Yours caught my attention.”
Tom had years of experience and was a prominent company's head of talent acquisition. However, he had utterly ignored LinkedIn. That changed, he said, when a colleague told him that job hunters were checking him out and his current profile reflected poorly on him and his company. Tom got the message and agreed that his colleague was right. He immediately enhanced his LinkedIn profile.
Donna Serdula is the author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, 2nd edition. She explained the importance of looking impressive on that platform. “Your LinkedIn profile is all about branding,” said Serdula, who partners with companies to optimize their leadership profiles to align with the company’s messaging. “Anyone in senior leadership or HR should be a brand ambassador on LinkedIn, as they are the face of the company. When done correctly, this could be a powerful tool for recruitment and employee engagement.”
A professional profile is essential for job hunters. Serdula continued, noting a critical mistake many make is they do not think about who their target audience is: recruiters and hiring managers. She says, “Upon reviewing your current profile, does it showcase your expertise, strengths, and abilities? Will it support the new job you want? Your experience and skills should stress how they relate to performing a new job and demonstrate how you could take on a bigger role someplace new.”
Serdula advises that you not use job descriptions. They will not have the critical keywords necessary so that you can be found online. Don’t just grab the company job info and post it. Instead, feature your top accomplishments. People often confess that it is difficult to write about themselves, so they avoid doing it. “Optimizing your profile will tell the world about who you are in an appealing light. That has a positive impact on how others see you. Be strategic in telling your story as you create your headline, ‘about’ section, and work experience,” she said.
How do you come to the top of a recruiter search? It’s all about using keywords and optimizing your LinkedIn profile. You must include these keywords in the headline, ‘about’ section, and work descriptions. No list exists. You must customize your words. How? Review the appropriate employer’s job listing. Highlight the needed strengths, essential requirements, and top work tasks. Then use those details to create your keywords in your work descriptions. Do not stuff the profile with keywords. Serdula says that strategy is not effective.
Write the ‘about’ section in first person. It’s not about keywords but needs to share some insight about your personality. Who are you? Do you focus on helping others? What are your passions? Why do you do what you do? Why does it matter? What kind of manager are you? Be genuine in telling your story. Do invite people to connect and network.
Robin Ryan - A career counselor that helps clients land jobs, I offer Resume Writing, LinkedIn Profile Writing, Interview Coaching, and Salary Negotiation services. I’ve appeared on Oprah, Dr.Phil and 3200 other TV and radio shows. A Wall Street Journal #1 bestselling author, I have written eight career books including: 60 Second & You’re Hired, Retirement Reinvention, Winning Resumes and Over 40 & You’re Hired. Helping people advance their careers and land a new job is my mission. Learn more at: www.RobinRyan.com