When a recruiter or hiring manager conducts a search on the vast LinkedIn user database, they’re not browsing LinkedIn for fun. They’ve got a position they’re trying to fill, or more than one. They’re all business!
When they come across your LinkedIn profile in their searching, there are certain things they want to know about you right away. When they click through the search results page to view your full profile, you’ve got to be ready to fill them in.
Your profile has to answer questions that your hiring manager or company recruiter has in mind – and it has to answer them fast!
If your LinkedIn profile is confusing or incomplete, the recruiter or hiring manager will go on to somebody else’s profile. Here are ten vital questions your LinkedIn profile has to answer within seconds. Does your LinkedIn profile make the answers to these questions clear?
What do you do for a living?
Which job titles are you a perfect fit for?
What makes you credible in your profession?
What’s your greatest career accomplishment so far?
How’s your written communication?
What’s your career story?
What do former bosses and other colleagues say about your work?
If we hire you, can we put you in front of customers?
How well do you understand your subject matter?
Which tools and systems have you worked with, and to what end?
Right away in the Summary at the top of your LinkedIn profile and in your LinkedIn headline as well, you’ve got to make it clear what profession you’re in. That’s why vague headlines like “Experienced Business Professional” or “Strategic Problem-Solver” are no good. They don’t tell us what we most want to know about you: what do you do for a living?
Give us that answer before you tell us anything else. If you’re a Product Manager, say so! If you’re a coder, ditto. In your Summary, give us a few of the job titles that are a perfect fit for you. Don’t ramble on about your career history — that will be laid out for us below your Summary in your reverse-chronological listing of the jobs you’ve held.
Tell us what makes you credible. That means the biggest projects you’ve worked on and their impact on your employers. Tell us a story in your Summary, like this:
I was lucky enough to head up Inventory Control at Angry Chocolates while we retooled our production and purchasing systems for the company’s rapid growth phase. We grew from $10M to $55M in sales in two years and my team created the Inventory Control and Production Planning systems to support that growth.
The way you communicate in writing will make a huge difference to recruiters and hiring managers trying to fill jobs that require strong writing skills. Take the time to make sure your LinkedIn profile does a great job communicating your talents as well as your personality.
Your LinkedIn profile allows you to tell your career story to someone who doesn’t know you yet. In the descriptions of each job you’ve held so far, tell us more than just your responsibilities.
Tell us what you accomplished at each job using a quick and powerful Dragon-Slaying Story or two. Tell us how you got to the job and why you left. In our minds we will see you in action. That’s what you want us to do!
Collect enough recommendations to convey to any visitor to your LinkedIn profile that people have noticed your excellent work. The easiest way to get LinkedIn recommendations is to leave recommendations for people you know.
Your LinkedIn profile photo will instantly make it clear to visitors whether you’re someone who can interact with customers, vendors and partners in face-to-face meetings. Some unfortunate LinkedIn users have photos on their profiles that cause us to feel sorry for them because they are obviously terribly uncomfortable having their picture taken. Don’t be one of those people! Choose a photo that shows you happy and comfortable, with a sparkle in your eyes.
Use your LinkedIn profile Summary not to talk about external validation like awards and commendations (you can list those things further down in your profile) but rather than about your passion for and command of your subject matter. Rather than tell us that you were designated Employee of the Month, for instance, tell us what you did to earn that recognition.
Last of all, tell us which tools you are comfortable using and what you’ve done with each tool. Upload documents, project plans (taking out any proprietary details before uploading), presentations, images and photos to round out your LinkedIn profile and share a fuller picture of your professional awesomeness.
Recruiters and hiring managers — not to mention regular people in your industry and others — want to know what you’re all about. Don’t leave them in the dark. Your LinkedIn profile makes it easy to sing your song!
Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace.