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!
Building a Credible LinkedIn Profile – and Using it To Move Your Career Forward
“Are you on LinkedIn?” “Can I connect with you through LinkedIn?” “Message me on LinkedIn, and we will set up a time to talk.” Have you heard any of these phrases in your professional conversations over the past few years? They make a point…if you aren’t on LinkedIn AND actively engaging and networking on the site, then you probably either don’t have a great LinkedIn profile, or you are not using the site and all of its features to enhance your career.
Today’s executives are constantly on the move. If you’re an exec who is trying to increase organizational revenue, improve operating efficiency, or even build your individual value proposition for your next career move, being active on LinkedIn will benefit you in all of these areas. When creating a strong presence on LinkedIn and using it to your advantage through connecting and networking with the right people and groups, you will find that moving your career and/or business forward is easier than you thought. Here are a few quick tips on how to use LinkedIn to get you seen, heard, and respected in your professional circles:
Building Your Profile:
LinkedIn has so many features and options – it can truly be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! Building your profile to effectively market you and the value you can provide must be done creatively and strategically to show that you are at the top of the game in your field.
Fill your profile out completely. Try to put information in as many sections that are applicable to you.
Add relevant credentials after your name at the top of your profile. If the job or board position you’re vying for recommends an MBA and you have the credential after your name, then the reader does not have to go through the entire profile to find out that you have achieved this level of expertise.
Use keywords or skills in your headline and not just a job title. This not only shows your creativity but is also a strong strategy for being found through SEO searches.
Be sure your profile photo is current and professional looking. Upload a customized banner to add some pizzazz to your profile – having the common LinkedIn blue banner just doesn’t cut it.
Don’t just write a small paragraph in the “About” Instead, use this space (2,600 characters) to introduce yourself to the reader using descriptive keywords, a few quantifiable career highlights, a bulleted list of skills, etc. You can really get some bang for your buck if you can craft an innovative and clever career summary for this section.
Be sure your work experience is consistent with the experience outlined on your resume (dates, titles, achievements, etc.). Inconsistencies between the two documents (yes, hiring managers do check) will either show a lack of attention to detail or that you are being less than honest. Either way, your credibility with the reader just took a nose-dive.
Only include relevant education College degrees and professional development or training activities are great but including your high school years are not.
Certifications and licenses matter, especially if you don’t have a college degree! So many people forget to add their certifications to their profiles.
Memberships in professional organizations can be key in showing that you have been active on corporate boards or are involved in groups within your industry. Many corporations are also interested in candidates who are service-minded within their communities, so including recent volunteer work is also good to include on your profile.
Including your skills is imperative! If you are unsure of the skills that are best in your field, LinkedIn will suggest some for you! Again, this is another section where you need to be creative and strategic. Instead of “Operations”, put “Operations Management” as an entry in this section. Be sure to “pin” your top three skills so the reader can see what you excel at the most at a quick glance.
These are just a few ideas that will help you to build a strong LinkedIn profile. However, you’re not done yet, because building a profile is only the first step in showing your credibility in your field. The next step is to be active on the site.
Networking and Engaging on LinkedIn:
You can connect with hundreds of colleagues and friends on LinkedIn, but if you are not actively engaging and networking on the site, your connections really aren’t going to be of any significance in helping to amplify your value proposition or your credibility for what you do.
Give and ask for recommendations. You don’t need a ton of them – but a few key recommendations from supervisors, clients, board, members, etc. can really help to vouch for who you are, your expertise, how you lead, and the value you can provide in your field.
Connect with key people in your field. Yes, you will have colleagues and old friends who may want to connect with you, and that’s okay. But LinkedIn isn’t about the quantity of connections you have. It’s more about the quality of your connections.
Join industry-specific groups and follow their pages. Watch for posts and other publications that are of interest to you and add your two cents of expertise by commenting on the posts. If you’re in an active job search, this is also an ideal way to see what opportunities are available in your field, especially if you’re targeting a specific company.
In today’s professional (and unpredictable) world, being on LinkedIn is crucial. Making your presence strong and credible is even more important. Build your profile and connections, and then network and engage on a daily basis, or as often as you can to show who you are, what you have achieved, and the credibility and value you offer in your field. You won’t be sorry and may even snag the career opportunity of your dreams!
Did Coronavirus Send You to the Unemployment Line? How One Candidate is Bouncing Back
Adam has spent the last 10 years building a successful career as an innovative Information Technology Manager for a major Tier 1 automotive supplier. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic hindering our country’s automotive industry, Adam is currently on furlough, receiving unemployment benefits to help make up for some of his lost income, and is truly wondering if he will even have a job to go back to when his organization reopens, or if it will reopen.
While Adam knows that he is well-liked by his current employer, he still needs to prepare himself for the fact that his furlough/unemployment status may become permanent, and that he will probably have to start looking for a new job.
Knowing that he will be joining hundreds of candidates looking for new jobs in a competitive field, Adam will have to go back through his 10+ year career and start strategizing his way to a successful job search.
As we have worked with professionals like Adam for years, here are some key steps Adam will be taking as he begins a new job search:
Start with the basics – a resume that is written by a professional resume writer. Years ago, resumes were just a piece of paper that outlined a candidate’s career history; today’s resumes are strategically-written marketing tools that don’t just document each job worked, but are more focused on targeting specific jobs and industries, using a candidate’s accomplishments, experience, and skills. And yes, many employers will still want a cover letter to accompany the resume. Hiring a professional will save Adam time as well as will ensure that his career documents are up to par with other candidates who will be competing for the same jobs.
Establish a presence on LinkedIn and start networking. LinkedIn provides job seekers endless ways to market themselves, find jobs, and connect with specific companies and industry leaders. Adam needs to ensure that his profile is current, appealing, and contains the right information to position him for IT jobs in markets not only in the automotive industry, but in other industries, as well. Tip: recruiters wouldn’t be using some of LinkedIn’s premium search features if they weren’t finding quality candidates for their clients through the site.
Expand the search by looking for jobs/companies outside your current industry. IT candidates are needed in almost every industry in today’s professional world. Adam will need to be open to using his skills and experience in a field outside the automotive market.
Brush up on interview skills. Chances are when Adam does get called for an interview, it will be done via Skype or Zoom, or some other teleconferencing system. Even in a remote setting, he will still want to prepare for this interview as if it is a “in-person” meeting. Having a resume, list of his biggest career achievements, and answers to common interview questions by his side during the interview will help him to be able to speak confidently and with ease as he uses solid details to communicate why he is the best candidate for the job.
Whether our current economic crisis has you currently unemployed, furloughed, or preparing for a potential job loss in the near future, you can use the above tips to ensure that you, like Adam will be ready to take on whatever lies ahead in your career, and will find a job and success in your professional life.
Job Hunting: Best Practices for Today’s Job Market
A fortunate few never actually look for jobs: they are recommended by colleagues or recruited by former co-workers. For the rest of us, here’s a toolbox of best practices to make job-hunting easier and more productive.
Personal Branding is Part of the Process
DO have a recently-updated resume. Have it reviewed and reworked by an expert.
DO have a recently-updated LinkedIn profile with a clear, professional-looking headshot.
DO make sure the dates and titles on your LinkedIn profile match your resume.
DO ask for recommendations from those who know you and your work well.
Online applications are changing.
Let’s say you are a pharmacist and you spotted a LinkedIn job posting that looked like a perfect next role, but there’s a catch – you need your LinkedIn profile updated. Forbes wrote that more and more companies are asking to include a link to LinkedIn profiles. It is wise that before you start applying for an online job posting, your own profile should be updated too.
Where to Begin Your Search
DO pick 5-10 companies you admire and for whom you think you’d like to work.
DO your research online on each company, find a common connection, and ask for an introduction. LinkedIn is a great resource for this.
DO invite people in these companies for a quick cup of coffee near their office. Say something like, “I’d love to hear what you like about working at X. Can I buy you a quick cup of coffee?”
DO ask people you trust for a recommended recruiter who can help you.
Networking for Your Job Search
DO let friends and family know you’re looking for a new job.
DO attend Meetups in your field of expertise.
DO look for and join LinkedIn groups in your profession.
DO expand your personal network by taking part in volunteer activities. Make sure to choose a cause that you truly care about.
How to Use Company Websites
DON’T rely only on applying to jobs online unless your skills are in high demand.
DON’T regurgitate your entire resume into your cover letter if you’re using one. Keep it simple.
DO try to find an advocate inside the company as well as applying online.
DO tailor your resume to the job, highlighting the most important skills.
New to the search.
A jobseeker or maybe a new graduate may be searching for better employment. The perfect fit to get the right connection may be to check job boards online, especially for those who are looking in the finance field. Right now, this is a booming industry with an array of jobs for job seekers. Finance Jobs wrote that it helps if seekers explore their options to get the job that fits their skills.
Stay the Course
DO look for a job before you need one. 411 is easier than 911.
DON’T get impatient. Depending on your salary, it can take 6-10 months to find the next right position.
DO take consistent action so you feel empowered.
DO take good care of yourself physically and emotionally.
Looking for the right job is tough, but it gets better.
Once you’ve dealt with a couple of bumps while job hunting, you will eventually reach your goal of finding that next job. Though it doesn’t stop there. Beginning a job, whether you are new to the field or not, still takes adjustments. Pitfalls are intimidating in a new environment, says Psychology Jobs. Remember this: the velocity of your search should be the same as when you have a job.
Adding Velocity to Your Search
DO find ways to help others along the way.
DO assume that things are working out for the best, keeping a positive outlook.
DO stay curious and open-minded. That job that doesn’t seem to be a fit could end up being the best one in your career.
DON’T allow yourself to become bitter, angry, or desperate. These attitudes are a repellent, and people pick up on them, even when they can’t pinpoint what it is about you that is off-putting.
Your job search can be a trial, or it can be an interesting and exhilarating adventure. By deciding to take the long view, asking for help along the way, and refining your job-hunting skills, you’ll be giving it the attention it deserves. Happily, your results will reflect this.
Post written by Katherine Davis for ProfessionalResumeServices.com
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.
The Ultimate Must for all Executive LinkedIn Profiles, Emails, Resumes and Cover Letters
Grammar, spelling and punctuation issues can bring your job search to a screeching halt before it even gets started. Still, too many executives overlook basic typographical errors that significantly hurt their chances of landing the job they desire. Whether it’s your LinkedIn profile, resumes and cover letters, emails or anything else, always take the time to proofread your work before any other eyes see it. Some recruiters and hiring managers may forgive a typo here and there, but you shouldn’t rely on it. Here are some tips for avoiding these mistakes and why it’s important to avoid them.
Proofread Everything Before Sending or Publishing
Never rely on the spell check program your word processing software has. Many important words can go undetected when misspelled, so it’s always important to give every document a thorough proofread before sending or publishing it. When you’ve looked at your resumes and cover letters for hours, it can sometimes be easy to overlook simple mistakes. Those simple mistakes could be costly and derail your job search.
Misspelled Words Can Hurt Your SEO
Not only will a hiring manager likely push your resume and cover letter to the side if they contain typographical issues, but you might also be undiscoverable online. Hiring managers rely on online searches to find the best candidates, so if important SEO terms are misspelled, they won’t find you. Everything from the headline of your LinkedIn profile to the list of achievements in your resume all factor into your SEO. One misspelled word can hurt you in different ways, so looking at everything with attentive eyes is worth the effort.
Have A Professional Read Your Documents
An executive resume service will easily catch simple typographical errors. However, what they also do to help is make sure your resumes and cover letters flow naturally, make sense to the reader and clearly demonstrate your brand and intentions. It’s entirely possible for you to have a resume free of grammatical and spelling issues, but still not help you because the language isn’t clear. This is where an executive resume service is beneficial to ensure your target organizations understand exactly who you are.
At Professional Resume Services, we don’t want simple mistakes getting in the way of your dream job. We are here to help you with any aspect of your job search, whether it’s creating a new resume from scratch or fine-tuning an existing one. Typographical errors aren’t a reflection of whom you are necessarily, but they can severely hurt your job search efforts. Feel free to reach out to us at any time to see how we can ensure this doesn’t happen.