LinkedIn really works magic if you use it to its fullest potential. If you have an all-star, keyword optimised profile you will be literally flooded with job offers. I can say that with full confidence, as I’ve experienced all that first hand.
Here are my personal tips how to have your very own top-notch profile - so that headhunters like me can easily find you…
Step 1 - YOUR ATTITUDE
A LinkedIn profile can be set up from scratch in 10 minutes, but to create one that truly reflects who you are is a very time consuming task. Be prepared to invest your time and energy to create a profile that portrays you in the best possible light and makes you visible to the right people.
To illustrate, I encourage you to conduct a little exercise. Select 3-4 keywords from your profile that you want to be known for (e.g. Automotive Marketing Manager Germany) and put these words to your homepage search box next to the LinkedIn logo. If your own profile appears on the first page you are in good shape, page 2 and onwards you are basically buried alive. Try my keywords (e.g. Automotive Executive Search China) - I should certainly be on top of that list.
I promise you that by the time you finish these steps you will move up considerably on this all-important ranking.
Step 2 - YOUR PRIVACY
You certainly don’t want your HR, line manager or your workmates to know that you are going through this exercise. LinkedIn profile optimisation doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to change jobs, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. In order to block LinkedIn sending out all those annoying notification messages to your 1st connections you will need to update your privacy settings.
Go to ME > SETTINGS & PRIVACY > PRIVACY. Here you will need to change 2 things. First, WHO CAN SEE YOUR CONNECTIONS. Select ONLY YOU. What this does is that in case you start connecting with Headhunters in Dubai for example (no, not for a new job of course) it won’t send out a notification that “Congratulations! Zoltan is now connected to XY at Michael Page UAE” - very insightful, isn’t it? Second, you will also want to turn down the know-it-all auto emails that will inform your entire LinkedIn universe of every tiny tweak you made during your lunch break, uhm, I mean during the weekend. Go to SHARING PROFILE EDITS. Select NO.
Well done! You are now LinkedIn privacy proof!
Step 3 - YOUR PICTURE
Your profile picture is arguably the single most important element of your LinkedIn presence. Having a picture not only makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others, but it will also be the first impression that people will have of you as a professional.
Here is a quick checklist - use it with caution as for certain roles (e.g. Creative Director) some rules won’t apply:
- Up-to-date photo in high resolution
- You must be front, centre and the focus
- Head to shoulder or head to waist in the frame
- Simple, professional background
- Warm and friendly smile (ideally with teeth if you are comfortable with it)
- Appear to be confident but approachable
- Dress and groom for the role that you want
- Make eye contact with the camera
- Cropped group shots
- Distracting pets/kids/partners/cars/accessories/make-up/etc.
- Party/bar/beach/holiday/wedding/etc photos
- Face only close-ups and full body shots
- Too much Photoshop
By now I hope you are convinced that you’ll need to hire a professional…
Step 4 - YOUR BACKGROUND
According to entrepreneur.com profiles with pictures elicit a 40% InMail response rate and your LinkedIn has 11 times more chance to get viewed. Give your profile page a bit more personality or branding with a visually appealing background image.
There is small problem though. The way this background image is set up, viewers can only see a portion your photo so you will probably have to upload and preview a few versions before you are happy with the result. It is your chance to stand out from 519+ million professionals using the platform so go creative with photos of workspaces, office related objects, non-figurative art, nature shots, city shots and so on.
Step 5 - YOUR HEADLINE
The LinkedIn algorithm puts a lot of emphasis on the words used in the headline when ranking people (second highest rated field after your name), so unless your current role (default) is descriptive enough or a big enough of a statement (role or company) that you don’t want to exchange for higher ranking make sure your headline includes your keywords - role, industry, attributes, benefits your company offers or even your geographic location if you serve a specific area - whatever you can squeeze within the 120 character limit.
Again, your headline is the most prominent personal branding message on your profile (basically acts as a mini value proposition) and also one of the most critical when it comes to SEO. What does this mean? Keywords listed in the headline field will have a greater impact, increasing your ranking amongst other users for the same terms.
Step 6 - YOUR URL
When you create your LinkedIn profile the default URL that you get will be your name and a random combination of letters and numbers - doesn’t set to impress you viewers I’m sure you agree.
Make your public profile look more professional and easier to share by customising your URL to something like this: www.linkedin.com/in/zoltanzorkoczi. This you can do in the CONTACT AND PERSONAL INFO area. This personalised URL is more effective also from a SEO point of view (you can even include your keywords here) and is a vital opportunity to have your profile rank higher in search engines and to make it easier for (the right) people to find you.
Step 7 - YOUR WEBSITES
This again is precious opportunity to optimize your profile and also to drive your inbound/outbound links. LinkedIn allows you to tailor make the anchor text for website links of your profile. Each profile can display up to 3 website links and they can be customized by editing your CONTACT AND PERSONAL INFO area.
The trick here is that instead of generic web content types that the system offers you as standard you can select OTHER in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text in the TYPE (OTHER) field. No matter whether you want to include personal/company websites, blogs, RSS feeds or portfolios always select OTHER as you can include attention grabbing, keyword rich details here. Guess what, the more often these keywords appear in different sections of your profile the higher your ranking gets. Ka-ching.
Step 8 - YOUR SUMMARY
This one is hard work. Nowhere should your profile be more unique and tailor-made than here - the summary section is your golden opportunity to describe and position yourself. It’s your place to shine and glow, but be sure you stay away those irritating and overused empty phrases like ‘strategic’, ‘motivated’ and ‘passionate’. Cross-check your summary with the most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles and come up with your own alternatives.
Recruiters review hundreds of candidates every week thus have very short attention span for each profile. What you need to do is to make this skimming through exercise as easy as it can be with short sentences, tight paragraphs, bullet points and sub-headings.
Have I mentioned keywords before? You will have 2000 characters to mention as many as possible.
Step 9 - YOUR NETWORK
Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network. People have different opinions on this, but for me it’s very simple: the more connections you have the merrier. LinkedIn is a social network after all, not a private golf club - you need to be inclusive, not exclusive. This ultimately includes people you don’t know personally - they can be your future clients, employers or simply people who will read/like/comment your posts and thus enhance your overall footprint and profile views. Remember, the more connections you have, the more relationships you will forge and your extended network grows exponentially.
LION - you may have seen this acronym before. It stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. If you want to quickly boost your network size without risking being banned connect with these open networkers who will never IDK you (reject your invitation with “I Don’t Know” this person feedback). Simply put “LION” in the search box.
So, are you LinkedIn or BoxedIn?
Repeat the exercise mentioned in Step 1 and see how your ranking improved - you should certainly be more LinkedIn than ever before. If you are still not happy with the outcome (well, actually you should never be) go back and finetune further. Besides, watch out for Part 2 of this blog for more tips - coming soon…
If you found this useful please:
- Like/comment this post
- Visit my profile and endorse my skills
- Write personal recommendations (only if you know me personally)
- Refer/commission me as a headhunter
About the writer:
Zoltan is a well-rounded international executive leader. Having spent 15+ years in various management and leadership roles in the automotive industry he decided to put his expertise to best use as an executive search consultant.
With a truly holistic view of and first hand exposure to the automotive & luxury industries Zoltan offers a very unique proposition as a headhunter. With his multi-brand, multi-national and multi-functional experience he is set to succeed in bringing first class talents to businesses worldwide.