A few weeks ago, I received a random message from a recruiter on LinkedIn. She was looking for a copywriter to join the Castrol USA team as it refocuses its presence across social media and customer outreach.
I interviewed the same week and landed the one-year contract.
The reason I bubbled up to the top of her list? The keywords on my LinkedIn profile.
When a company puts out a job announcement, it uses strategic phrases to describe the roles and responsibilities of the position. For example, an open administrative assistant position might call for experience in “customer service,” “multi-tasking,” or “documentation management.”
These keywords are then input into the LinkedIn announcement and matched against potential candidates, who are flagged by the platform and sent to the recruiter for review.
If you’re like the majority of LinkedIn users I interact with, you built a profile a few years back, copied over some of the content from your resume, and that was that.
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Taking this approach leaves you climbing an uphill battle against job seekers with strategic, engaging profiles.
The good news? It’s never too late to optimize your profile. If you have a free hour this weekend, you can transform your profile from drab to fab with little effort.
If you’re not currently utilizing LinkedIn, you’re missing out on opportunities to advance your career.
Nearly 800 million users are on the professional network in more than 200 countries. According to LinkedIn, the platform is also home to more than 57 million businesses and attracts two new members per second.
The company also claims that each connection made introduces you to an average of 400 new people, making it the ultimate networking tool.
In the age of personal branding, there are large companies and expert professionals who can help you improve your LinkedIn profile. But if you’re willing to put in a little work, you can likely do it yourself.
Here are three quick tips to improve your profile:
Optimize Your Headline: Your headline should communicate your current title and include any relevant keywords. There is a 120-character limit on your headline, so avoid being too long-winded.
Here’s an example of an effective headline: Operations Manager at XYZ Company | 20 Years of Leadership Experience | Continuous Improvement Expert. Notice the strategic phrases like “Operations Manager” and “Continuous Improvement.” These will likely be in a job announcement for an operational leader, helping the profile remain in contention for related open roles.
Personalize Your About Section: This portion of your profile serves as your virtual introduction to connections. You’re limited to 2,000 characters here, which leaves more than enough space for an effective summary.
Try to write in first person and give users an idea of your current role, past experience, and specialties. Remember that LinkedIn is public-facing, so avoid including sensitive company information like revenue figures or anything that would give competitors an advantage.
Ask for Recommendations: What’s better than telling connections about your proficiencies and past work? Having someone else do it for you. In the marketing and communications world, we call this third-party validation.
Ask your closest colleagues to write a recommendation on your profile – and don’t forget to return the favor. This is one of the first sections a recruiter checks when stopping by your LinkedIn, so give them an updated collection of great references from the professionals in your network.
Once your profile is up to date, it’s time to start engaging. LinkedIn is, after all, a social network. Start by “following” your boss, other business leaders in your industry, and your favorite celebrities. Their updates will start to appear in your feed, making your experience on LinkedIn a more curated one personalized just for you.
Engage with posts and articles by “liking” and “sharing” them to your network. Leave insightful comments on posts that resonate with you. This will not only position you as a leader in your field, but will attract more connections and possibly result in future job opportunities.
It’s time to stop treating your LinkedIn profile like an afterthought. Keep it sharp and watch it become the most effective weapon in your professional arsenal.
Joe Szynkowski is the happy founder and owner of The UpWrite Group, a small local firm that has offered corporate communications, personal branding, public relations, and ghostwriting services since 2008. Email [email protected] for more information.