Your LinkedIn profile…how you craft it determines if a recruiter will call you!
As one of the major executive recruiters in the country, Key Corporate Services works with hundreds of candidates each year matching them to new jobs with great companies. Many come to us after “going it alone” in the job hunt for a period of time. They may have had success in connecting with potential employers through various means. One such method is through a robust LinkedIn site. If their profile is well-written, this may help them connect with interested companies.
However, candidates often tell us they never got any calls from recruiters who saw their profile on this social media site. While they may have a 100% rating on their profile from LinkedIn, they are mystified that they never got a single inquiry about a job opportunity.
This is a common complaint.
You see, most people spend so much time crafting their LinkedIn profile “pitch”, they forget about how they appear in a search result. That’s a big mistake. “It’s the first thing that recruiters look at,” says Nicole Greenberg Strecker, managing director of recruiting agency STA Worldwide in Chicago, Ill.
The truth is, while LinkedIn has become a powerful tool for job searching by companies, unless a candidate understands how recruiters use it, LinkedIn will not be the automatic panacea to a new job they hoped for. For this professional career site to work in their favor, the candidate must understand just HOW a recruiter is likely to find them using LinkedIn. Marketwatch.com highlighted several considerations a candidate should make if they want to improve their chances of having their profile seen by a recruiter.
The way you format your profile is critical!
There are several simple, but critically important, ways you must format your profile if you want to maximize the chances of being noticed above the “noise” of millions of other candidate online profiles.
Craft your bio title for maximum search results
Your bio should include title, industry and location. “If you want to work in Silicon Valley and live in Kansas, change your location to Silicon Valley on LinkedIn. A profile with a targeted headline not only shows that you’re job searching; it helps you to stand out in a keyword search. For instance, a headline that reads something like, “Experienced Advertising Account Executive Seeking Employment in NYC” contains the valuable keywords recruiters are looking for.
You should know that recruiters search zip codes. And the title should be razor-sharp. Be as specific in your title description as possible. For example, don’t write senior analyst at Ernst & Young. Instead, write hedge fund financial analyst at Ernst & Young.
Focus on keywords, not the buzzwords
Recruiters search LinkedIn by keywords, not buzzwords. For example, they may fine-tune their search to find high-performing candidates by looking for keywords like “won”, “sold,” “achieved,” “build” and “president’s club.”
Recruiters are turned off by buzzwords like “maven,” “guru”, “prophet” and “ninja”. With some 300 million users, recruiters economize their search methods when searching LinkedIn for potential candidates that match their needs. Their search is going to be using targeted key words that match the skills, certifications, and experiences they need. They almost never use keywords describing personality traits or personal strengths!
Instead, employers are searching for keywords matching hard-skills with specific education. Examples of keywords used when searching for accountant positions would be terms like “CPA”, “SOX”, “GAAP”, “Accounts Payable”, “Oracle”, or others.
Regardless of an individual’s qualifications, their profile must include those keywords that an employer is using to find candidates. Otherwise, that wonderful profile will never be seen by a recruiter and they not be contacted.
Mention all software experience
If you have experience in software, mention it. Don’t worry if the software is old. Nothing related to technical knowledge is outdated. Technology recruitment consultants look for people who are proficient in WordPress because many companies don’t have the latest programs. Conversely, if you use in-demand open-sourced software like Ruby on rails, say so.
It’s not the job duties, but the results of those job duties that will impress a recruiter.
When it comes right down to it, recruiters and employers want to know what you can do for them, so, the outcomes of your efforts become a very important addition to your LinkedIn profile. When you note your work experience, don’t just list your job duties; list what those job duties resulted in. A recruiter can then see where your strengths lie, and what those strengths can do for an organization.
Recruiters are looking for numbers!
Numbers are an excellent way to denote duties and results. Not only are they measurable, they provide a recruiter with real evidence in regards to your skills. So, a result along the lines of: “Created a new company website, which led to a 15 percent increase in Web traffic,” clearly indicates the duty, but also the result.
In addition, leave a trail of virtual crumbs that lead to your profile. Join LinkedIn industry group discussion boards and blogs. This is a place many recruiters lurk anyway. Joining them and participating in online conversation (if you have something to say) is a great way to get noticed by recruiters. And, it provides the virtual crumbs that will lead back to your profile.
The challenge is to keep a recruiter there (on your LinkedIn profile page) once they find you. Think of it as a professional virtual version of “speed dating”. You really only have 10-15 seconds at most to impress the recruiter. Like a single person on a speed date, he/she is looking for reasons NOT to court you and anything that appears odd will be a red alert.
Fill in those employment gaps!
Simple things like gaps in work history could be a deal breaker. So, fill in those gaps. While many people have been laid off and have periods of unemployment, you still need to include details of volunteer work or, if it’s true, add “consulting.” You can’t hide it, but you can account for those periods in productive ways.
There’s little reason to spend much time detailing job experiences more than 10 years old. The same goes for college. If you graduated more than 10 years ago, you may want to exclude the date you graduated. Yes, discrimination based on age is wrong, but the reality is it happens all the time.
Endorsements are not as important as recommendations
Having a large number of endorsements is not that important to recruiters. They look at such as confetti of the digital world. What does catch their eye are thoughtful recommendations for a well-respected peer or former employer. It’s the solid relationships that impress recruiters. An endorsement, however, from a well-known individual in the industry could be a definite plus!
Write your profile in first person. You don’t want it to sound like a memoir. So, don’t refer to yourself in 3rd person. When it comes to photos, be sure the photo is current (less than 2 years old). DO NOT make it a selfie! That’s a no-no. Believe it or not, there are blurry profile photos lurking out there on LinkedIn that were taken in bedrooms!
LinkedIn is a great tool to use in connecting with a new career. But, understanding how a recruiter is going to use it and crafting your profile accordingly will go a long way towards increasing your chances of being successful in landing that next job.