Tips for Composing Your LinkedIn

Many job search "must haves" have come and quietly gone over the years: video resumes and personal website portfolios come to mind, as well as a smattering of LinkedIn-esque sites (Naymz and Plaxo are two I recall of many more).

But the only one that stuck is LinkedIn (LI). (And it looks as if it may become the top recruitment site in time as it not only serves as a professional database but it's also a favourite hang-out for recruiters.)

N.B. Before you update your LI profile, which may signal your job search to all in your network, if you are in a confidential job search or simply proactively managing your career, I'd advise that you turn off the option to broadcast your updates.

Here are a few tips for composing a strong, recruiter-attracting LinkedIn:

  • Write in the 1st person. Yes, go ahead and own your talents, attributes, skills, and accomplishments by writing "I" statements, but please don't begin each sentence with "I." Balance reference to yourself with reference to your team's collaborations and to your employer's goals.
    Although writing in 1st person isn't a rule, it's expected today. The reason may have something to do with today's hires increasingly considering a good fit - with the team and with the corporate culture - and injecting your personality into this piece provides insight into how you'll fit in.
  • Get a good photo taken. A snapshot of you at the cottage, beer in hand, or at a party with non-professional clothing are not wise choices. You want to project professionalism, not fun times. A picture paints a thousand words - make sure your photo doesn't thwart your hire-ability.
  • Use key words. Although your LI is not a resume, and shouldn't read like your resume, still, it MUST contain key words. If it does not, your profile/name is unlikely to land in a recruiter's search. Therein lies LI's magic: you can be found by a recruiter who is searching its immense database for suitable candidates for an opening that you may not even be aware of.
  • Use all 2000 characters. You're allowed to write quite a bit, so make good use of the space. Along with key words (those hard skills associated with your field), demonstrate your value with results and accomplishments.
  •  Write a compelling headline. That's the space below your name. Rather than your current employer and title (that's the default that LI will plunk in if you don't change it), create a mini-salespitch. In 120 characters, you can actually share a lot of info - if you're creative and keep your target audience in mind. Check out my LI headline for proof.

LinkedIn is now a definite must for most professionals, but here's a short list of those who don't yet need this job search tool: teachers, social workers, Canadian government staff, and because I've had two of these clients: spies! But everyone else? If you don't have it, you risk losing out to the candidate who has matched you step-by-recruitment-step, but who outshines you with a knock-out LI profile.

I love composing these for my clients; if you need help, get in touch.