Anyone considering a job change should create a LinkedIn profile before starting a search, notes Chuck Hester, a LinkedIn consultant, speaker and trainer. An updated, well-written LinkedIn profile is an important tool in presenting your best professional face to potential employers.
Don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet? Not sure how to create a polished one? Or how to use the social network for your job hunt?
Here are 17 LinkedIn job search tips.
1. Be proactive
Many people set up a LinkedIn profile and “wait for opportunity to knock,” says Donna Serdula, a LinkedIn profile branding specialist and author of LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a Powerful LinkedIn Profile. “To be successful, be proactive. Research the opportunities. Network with other people. Develop a profile that showcases who you are, what you do, and why someone should take note of you.”
2. Make your online network reflect your offline connections
Once you set up your profile, start connecting with everybody you know: current and former colleagues, past employers, people in your industry, neighbors, family, friends, former classmates, says Serdula.
3. Use keywords that hiring managers and recruiters are searching for
In your LinkedIn profile headline, don’t simply list your job title unless it’s extremely descriptive of the work you’re looking for, notes Nick Parham, a career counselor and executive coach who helps clients develop their LinkedIn profiles. Instead, look for keywords in the job descriptions you’re going after and, if they apply, incorporate them in your headline. This helps your profile turn up in LinkedIn searches for those terms and shows your suitability for the positions you’re seeking.
4. Make your headline read like a newspaper headline
Along with keywords, your headline should “summarize who you are and the benefits you deliver,” says Serdula. “A successful headline compels people to read your profile.” There are several LinkedIn headline generator tools that you can find through search that can help you craft your headline.
5. Write a compelling background summary
Your summary should “differentiate you from the hundreds if not thousands of other people competing for the same job,” Parham says. Tell a story. Talk about past and current job responsibilities, achievements, problems solved and passions. Don’t use long paragraphs; be concise.
6. Mention quantifiable achievements
Write a “metric-oriented” summary, Hester advises. For example, if you’re a sales VP for a large corporation, mention that you increased sales from X to Y and developed X number of sales programs contributing to those results.
7. Don’t list jobs held over 20 years ago
The goal is to showcase your career trajectory, not exhaustively list every job, says Serdula. Don’t conceal your age on LinkedIn, but don’t accentuate it, either—and jobs held more than 20 years ago do just that.