Searching for a new job or have your eye on moving up to the next level with your current employer? You never know when an opportunity is going to present itself, so you need to be prepared! One way to do so is to optimize your online presence, and LinkedIn is the premier site to showcase your experience, achievements, skills, and leadership acumen on a global scale.
Your LinkedIn profile should be one of the most utilized tools in your job search tool chest, so you need to ensure that it is sharp, fully optimized, and maintained well during your job search and beyond.
Depending on what type of device your profile is being viewed on (PC or mobile), the reader will only be able to see a fraction of your profile. That fraction has to be creative and appealing enough to make the reader want to continue to learn more about you. Don’t know where to start? Right from the top!
LinkedIn automatically gives you a default banner when you sign up. Get rid of it! This is the first place you have the opportunity to pull the reader in – be creative! You can personalize the banner to show a little bit about yourself and/or use titles and keywords to help communicate your brand. Have a special saying or motto that motivates you? It can easily be included here. Use a website like Canva to design your own banner or hire someone to do it – either way – don’t use the default banner! #lame
Your LinkedIn profile should have the same name that is on your resume, so that your name is consistently known by anyone who views your resume or online profile. Add any relevant credentials after your name, and try to ensure that you don’t use a nickname.
We all know that a lot of us don’t like advertising pictures of ourselves on social media – sorry, but on LinkedIn, people want to see YOU! Be sure to include a profile picture that is professional looking and done at a level that matches the position you’re seeking. Executives should have a photo that looks like an executive and an entry level photo could probably be a more casual photo.
Stay away from photos where you have cropped yourself out of a group, at a bar/party, or have a lot of distractions in the background. Again – people want to see YOU – not a backdrop from your trip to the Grand Canyon (unless you are a travel blogger – lol).
When you sign up with LinkedIn, your current job title automatically defaults to this section. Change it as soon as you can. Your headline gives you 220 characters to share your value, expertise, and skills. Done effectively, your headline can attract ATS systems and recruiters who are looking for candidates in your industry and is a very easy way to quickly tell people what you have to offer in your field. I like to add keywords and branding to it as well.
Take some time to reflect about what you really want to communicate in this section. Don’t just add a one-liner and certainly do not make yourself sound desperate to find a job (even if you really are). Like your headline, this is a great place to share your brand – so make it strategic, appealing, and value-added! As with your resume, the summary at the beginning of your LinkedIn profile should be strategically written, compelling, and a quick synopsis of the best you have to offer, your highlights, and even some of your skills. Using bullets and color in this section will make it stand out more than just including paragraphs of text.
Consider adding a “call to action” at the end of the summary to let people know you are available for interviews or are actively looking for a new position. You have 2,600 characters in this section, but only the first few lines may show up when people are viewing your profile, and the key is getting the reader to click on the “more” to learn more about you. Make your first few lines appealing, inviting, and clear.
The skills section is great but can also be a bit subjective. You need to add the skills that are the most relevant to your industry and position, whenever possible. Use strong keywords in this section, and make sure you are focusing on unique terms that make you stand out. “Staff Leadership & Development” sounds a lot better than “Leadership” and “Global Sales Operations Management” sounds way better than “Sales”.
As for the endorsements, this is where the section gets a little subjective. LI automatically puts the skills with the most endorsements at the top of the section; however, the top 3 skills are something you can…and should change, so that they are your strongest skills and the ones that are most relevant to your job search, regardless of the number of endorsements.
You have the option of including 50 terms in this list and that fills up pretty quickly – use the best fit and stay away from “fluff” terms that are expected in today’s professional world, like “Time Management” or “Team Player”.
These sections are just the tip of the iceberg in creating an amazing, optimized LinkedIn profile – but they are so important if you want to be “found” on LinkedIn, so you need to ensure that the content is unique to your job goals, industry-specific, and an effective marketing tool for your job search!
Using Keywords to Create a Compelling Story on your LinkedIn Profile
If you are currently employed or actively seeking employment, chances are you have already established a presence on LinkedIn so recruiters and hiring managers can find you (and if you aren’t on LinkedIn, then quit reading, sign-up on the site, and then come back to this article). My question is…what are you doing/including on your profile to ensure that you actually can be found? Are you networking in industry-specific groups?
Making connections with colleagues in your field? Applying for jobs? Whatever you are doing, you need to ensure that your profile contains quality content that communicates your value and markets you effectively for the jobs you’re applying to. How do you do that? It all starts with saturating your content with targeted keywords and keyword phrases that are in line with the skills and qualifications hiring managers and recruiters want to see when looking for candidates in your field.
LinkedIn is actually a large database that uses certain fields to sort information on user profiles. Utilizing effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies (i.e. keywords) on your profile is how you will get “selected” during database searches.
Keywords are just what they say they are – “KEY” words that you need to have on your profile to not only be found in candidate searches but also to show that your skills match the qualifications companies are looking for. Here are a few areas of your profile where it is so important that you are using keywords, and not just any words to tell your career story.
Your headline is located just below your name, so it is seen immediately when somebody clicks on your profile. You have 120 characters (yep, that’s it) to pull the reader in to want to learn about you-make the most of that space. Note: LinkedIn automatically uses your current job title in the headline when you sign-up so check to make sure that is what you want on there. Otherwise, you need to change it immediately. Use keywords that are relevant to the positions you’re applying.
For example, instead of “Sales Manager at Acme Products” (which may be your current job title), make your headline “Business Growth Executive: Sales & Operations Management, Revenue & Territory Expansion, Branding, Account Development“.
You have just used 119 characters to tell the world what you can do and not just what your current job title is.
Once the reader sees your amazing headline, the next step will be to find out more about you in your profile’s “About” section. LinkedIn allows 2,600 characters in this section-plenty of opportunity to tell your career story.
Think of your “About” section as you would a cover letter, tell a little about yourself and your career trajectory. Include some quantifiable highlights and your keyword list, or a list of core competencies.
This is an ideal section to get the most bang for your buck when you are trying to get the right keywords for SEO purposes. Be creative and clear when using keywords to share your best attributes. Don’t just put “Management”, instead use “Global Operations Management”. You have the space, you just need to use it to your advantage to effectively market your skills and competencies.
You only get 50 entries in this section, so it’s imperative that you make each one count. As with your “About” section, you want to use the right keywords (skills). Instead of “Leadership”, try “Executive Leadership”. Not only does that tell the reader that you are a leader, it also tells them what level of a leader you are! Are you in HR? Do you really want to consult and not just be in one spot? Then add “Human Resource Consulting” as one of your skills.
Once you start putting information into this section, LinkedIn will automatically give you some suggestions as to other skills you may want to use that are related to your field. If the skill fits, use it. Try to fill this entire section, but if you can’t, don’t try to fill it in with soft skills or fluff. Your skills must appear relevant and dynamic–fluff won’t help you get found during an SEO search. Hint: you can always look at the profiles of some of your colleagues to see what industry-specific keywords they are using in their “Skills” section.
The bottom line…the “key” to increasing traffic to your online profile is to ensure you are applying effective SEO techniques and strategies. Use the right keywords in the right places so that you get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters looking for candidates in your field!
Ever wonder if you are putting the *right* information on your LinkedIn profile?
This is a common question I hear, “I don’t know if this or that should be on there” or “I wasn’t sure so I just downloaded/copy/pasted my whole resume to my profile.”
While you want to establish the information you add is relevant to your brand and impactful, you don’t want it to be a duplicate of your resume. They are meant to complement one another. You want your reader to see a little more of a human side to you as well. Think of the LinkedIn profile as the friendly, humanized version of your resume.
Here are some things to think about when building and adding to your profile:
☑️ Fill out all the sections. Don’t leave anything blank. Fill in the volunteer, certifications, languages, projects, honors, awards. You can add PowerPoints, photos, samples of your work (I have these on my profile) coursework, and things you have done in your career.
☑️ Add a profile photo AND a background cover photo (get rid of that blue LI background!). This makes it uniquely you. I love seeing customized background cover photos on LI profiles. They definitely add personality and/or help brand the client by having a photo of the company, service or product they represent.
☑️ Write a headliner that sizzles. Instead of “Account Executive”, write “Account Executive specializing in the development of groundbreaking sales and service strategies internationally”. Add a little zing to it. Get your reader interested. Some even call the headliner “prime real estate” meaning it’s a great place to add keywords and branding that help direct LinkedIn’s algorithms to your profile. Get as clear and focused as you can. Add buzzwords if you know what they are. Not sure? Find jobs that interest you and notice the same words listed over and over? Add them. Don’t neglect this section.
☑️ Create an About section that speaks to the reader. That section used to be more formal and many people wrote theirs like a biography–3rd person, boring, etc. These days, it’s all about the conversation. Get them interested in what you have to say. Write in first person. It’s OK to be a little more human here. People expect it—and love it. The About section should be engaging, interesting, and conversational. Think of it as if you are speaking to someone at a networking event. How would you speak? What would you say? You’d keep it professional but interesting, right? You want to tell a story about why you do this type of work and what makes it interesting. Be enthusiastic.
☑️ Add Content! Make sure to add descriptions of what you do at your job. Add your daily responsibilities as well as your accomplishments. This is where I see clients fall short. They add their company and job title but nothing else. LinkedIn rewards content. While you don’t want to copy and paste chunks from your resume, you also don’t want to leave critical information out. Rewrite those areas but make sure to add content to your roles. What were you most proud of accomplishing? What projects have you worked on that added value? What is interesting about where you work?
You can also add numbers and percentages. If you are hesitant about sharing exact figures, you can say, “increased revenue 87% in two years”. Adding numbers adds to your credibility and gives the reader a glimpse of what you have done.
☑️ Get a recommendation. A recommendation or two on your profile livens it up and gives you more credibility. What good do thousands of connections do for you if you don’t have one recommendation? It might feel awkward, but once you’ve asked it’s done and guess what? You’ll most likely get that recommendation!
☑️ Create an endorsements section. Complete the skills and endorsements section and pin the top 3 that related to your job hunt. Again, these are key with algorithms and recruiter searches as well.
When all of this is done, remember the key to a strong LinkedIn profile is engagement. The more you use LinkedIn, the more it rewards you by showing your profile in recruiter searches. Reach out, plan on getting on LinkedIn 10-15 minutes every other day and watch it go to work for you.
I mean REALLY get to know it (more on that journey later).
What I’ve discovered—and what gets me—are the stories and storytellers.
I am amazed at the consistent content and relevant messaging these people put out.
Posts rich in real-life experiences, expertise, and valuable information about everything from job search to recruitment to resume writing and LinkedIn in today’s workforce.
There are some amazing thought leaders that consistently offer great content, tips, hacks, examples, on these topics. I’ll list my favorites—most are career-related, others are just plain interesting. If you have time, check out their profiles and see what they have to say:
Your executive LinkedIn profile brings you more benefits than simply the ability to connect with other professionals. When you incorporate LinkedIn comments into your job search strategy, you can give your online presence a boost, naturally grow your network, demonstrate your expertise and always be at the top of the mind of other professionals. Of course, the type of comments you leave makes a difference as well, so never post anything negative about anyone. Here are some effective ways LinkedIn comments can help with your c-level personal branding efforts.
Comment On Original Articles
Part of your LinkedIn profile development may be to publish original articles periodically. It’s a good strategy to implement and you’ll notice others have a similar strategy. One way to earn even more credibility is by commenting on those articles by your peers. You should only write a few short sentences about the article, stating what you liked most, what you agreed with, what you found or anything else you deem to be appropriate. The author will appreciate the time you took to comment on it and will likely return the favor at some point.
Be Active in Group Discussions
LinkedIn groups are also a great place to build your c-level personal branding. People who actively comment in groups can demonstrate their brand and what they represent as a person and a professional. The biggest challenge with LinkedIn groups is finding the ones relevant to you and your job search and knowing who to communicate with. You never know whom you may encounter in these groups, but active communication can open up many doors.
Always Look Out For Updates From Connections
When your connections post significant updates, don’t hesitate to comment and congratulate them on an achievement or start a discussion with them. Also, be sure to post updates on your executive LinkedIn profile as well so people have the opportunity to comment on your updates. You don’t want to go overboard with your updates at any given time, but it is valuable to post an update once a week or so. When your connections see you comment on their updates, your c-level personal branding efforts will get a boost since they believe you have a genuine interest in what’s going on in their professional life.
Professional Resume Services helps executives with aspects of LinkedIn profile development they didn’t think were important. Something as simple as commenting on someone’s original article can go a long way in boosting your c-level personal branding efforts and can promote great discussions. Being active on LinkedIn can tap you into the hidden job market in many different ways, so contact us today to see if your profile and activity are on the right track.
4 Benefits of Knowing and Communicating Your Personal Brand
You may not think your personal brand is important, but hiring managers and business professionals do. This means you have to understand c-level personal branding to communicate it and know how others perceive you professionally. If you think about it, c-level personal branding isn’t difficult if you are authentic in the way you speak and act around others. And doing so will help you easily demonstrate your value and differentiate what you have to offer compared to others in your industry. Here are some of the main benefits of understanding and communicating your personal brand.
You Come Across As Authentic
Understand your talents and your limitations and don’t say you’re an expert in something when you’re not. Authenticity is something highly valued by hiring managers and is usually easy to see. Being truthful and transparent are great personal attributes that can benefit you professionally as well, and will enhance your c-level personal branding efforts tremendously.
Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
No one is an expert at everything, so avoid trying to make yourself seem like you know everything. Focus on your strengths and the value you bring to the table, while also acknowledging your weaknesses. Follow-up on your weaknesses by stating ways you’re working to turn them into strengths. Doing so will give your personal brand a positive image since you’ll be seen as a well-rounded professional who is always working to improve their skills.
Know How You Are Perceived
It’s hard to know how you’re perceived without asking someone. An executive LinkedIn profile writer is a good resource to evaluate your profile and give their expert opinion on what people may think about you. And outside of LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to ask your trusted peers about how they perceive you professionally. You may be saying or doing things that are hurting your perception without even knowing it.
Demonstrate Your Value Without Having to Communicate It
When you are comfortable with who you are as a person and a professional, you don’t have to sell yourself as much. Of course, you have to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, but it doesn’t mean you have to go over the top to do so. Many times your c-level personal branding speaks for itself. It takes some time to be completely comfortable and accepting of who you are, but once you are then you won’t have to communicate it as much since it will be clearly visible.
At Professional Resume Services, we focus a lot of our efforts on helping executives with their c-level personal branding. Our LinkedIn profile writing service is popular because it is one of the building blocks for creating your personal brand. It’s no secret that developing your personal brand takes time and a consistent effort, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. Feel free to contact us for tips on how to make your branding efforts simple and effective.
The Importance of Staying Up to Date With Your Online Presence
Many executives don’t appreciate the importance of having a positive online presence. And some don’t understand their online presence should always be kept up-to-date. If you’re actively looking for a job, you’re putting yourself in a big hole if recruiters can’t find you online. Having a clean and updated executive LinkedIn profile is a necessity today rather than a luxury. It’s worth hiring a professional LinkedIn profile writer if you’ve never developed one before, and there are plenty of other ways to develop and maintain a positive online presence. Here are some reasons why it’s so important.
Recruiters Always Look For An Online Presence
One of the first things a recruiter will do when they receive a resume is conduct an online search for the person’s name. If you have a negative online presence, or no online presence at all, then your chances of moving to the next step in the hiring process are slim. At the very least, develop your executive LinkedIn profile to the point where it shows up at the top of the search results. That way, you’ll know exactly what recruiters are seeing when they search for your name.
Tips For Enhancing Your Online Presence
With the high-level of importance of personal branding for senior level managers, there is always room to improve your online presence. Being active on LinkedIn and other social media platforms will increase your visibility. You can also publish original articles to your blog or social media profiles. Joining LinkedIn groups and participating in discussions on professional forums can also help promote your name. Just be sure to think carefully about everything you post online, as anything you say can be used against you.
Monitor Your Online Presence Regularly
Once you feel comfortable with your online presence, you can’t get complacent. You should always be looking to improve your presence and brand. Monitoring your brand online is critical since anyone can post negative information about you. Do a search for your name periodically and see what results show up. While you may not be able to remove information completely, you can combat it by responding appropriately. You don’t want to let any negativity about you linger online for too long since it could tarnish your reputation.
Professional Resume Services is here to help you upgrade your executive LinkedIn profile and more. We are much more than just a resume writing service. We take pride in working with every one of our clients individually and look at the big picture in terms of job searching. Your online presence is just as important as your resume itself, so contact us to see how we can help you build and maintain yours.
How Social Capital Can Benefit Your Executive Job Search
Developing and maintaining relationships is critical in the professional world. We’ve all heard about the importance of networking when it comes to a job search, which also ties into social capital and c-level personal branding. When you help enough people get what they need, the favor will eventually be returned to you when you least expect it. People in your network may be able to offer a tremendous amount of value to you in different ways, so there’s no harm in asking for a favor if it’s done so appropriately. Just be sure you’ve built up enough social capital before doing so.
How to Start Building Social Capital
You can’t have social capital if you don’t have a trusted network of professionals. Start by focusing on your LinkedIn profile development and building your list of connections. Reach out to former colleagues and classmates to see what they are up to. But you don’t even have to stop there. Talk to people every chance you get, whether it’s your neighbors, people you encounter at different events you attend and more. As you start growing your list of connections, you’ll be taking steps in the right direction to build your social capital.
People Value Connections and Relationships
One thing about networking and c-level personal branding to always remember is people value relationships. So you shouldn’t simply ask a connection for help finding a job. They will be more likely to help you if they’ve developed a good professional relationship with you over a period of time. You can do this by reaching out periodically via your LinkedIn executive profile, talking to them over the phone or even meeting with them in person occasionally. Staying in touch even when you don’t need to ask a favor is valuable and will strengthen your social capital.
You Never Know Who Can Help You Reach Your Goals
Being genuine in your c-level personal branding efforts can pay dividends in the long run. You never know when someone you cross paths with can benefit your job search efforts, so treating everyone with the same amount of respect is important. The more you give, the more you will receive in return. Small daily actions to continue developing your social capital may lead you to opportunities you never thought were available otherwise.
At Professional Resume Services, we help executives craft the perfect resume as well as focus on LinkedIn profile development. Job searches today involve many different elements, and we are here to help ensure all bases are covered. Social capital is very valuable for executives, so feel free to contact us at any time for more tips and advice on how to improve yours.
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