The job hunt usually starts out pretty optimistic. You’re hopeful about the future, confident in your potential, and determined to do what it takes to get the job.
But it doesn’t take long to become discouraged. The process is arduous, the competition is stiff, and when you are not receiving any response from the various directions in which you sent your resume, the feeling of defeat overcomes. (Read: it sucks). It’s a vast, wide world in the job market. In this case, it’s vast with competition and wide with confusion. You’re no longer looking for THE job. You’re looking for ANY job.
Enter LinkedIn. It is an established professional social networking website and when used correctly, it can be a prospective employee’s best friend. The site that has become a valuable tool to both employers, and those individuals currently on the job hunt looking for a different way to access the market and get connected. It could resolve your seemingly endless job search for a great career. If you need convincing of LinkedIn’s relevance, here are some figures that are sure to help: LinkedIn has 364 million members, with new members being added at a rate of 2 per second. There are over 3 million company profiles, and more than 88% of Fortune 100 companies heavily use it for recruitment.
With so many companies trusting LinkedIn to help them find talent, job seekers should use their LinkedIn profiles as a chance to build a compelling case as to why they should be hired. This includes your profile’s content of course, but it is also about search engine optimizing your page so that companies you are interested in will be able to find you and recognize you as a strong candidate. In other words, you want to be found. By implementing small changes that fill your profile with the same terminology employers are looking for, you optimize your chances of coming up when searched. Once you have grabbed their attention, your LinkedIn profile becomes an opportunity to elaborate on your skills and abilities. As your LinkedIn SEO increases, your chances of being pursued for a job do as well.
Search Engine Optimization on LinkedIn
A job posting goes up. It’s likely that numerous candidates apply. On the back end, the company is able to use recruiting tools to assist them in finding candidates based on the job criteria, location, and a number of other parameters. This is where the words that individuals use on their profile become extremely important. If the company is looking for the same things that you are offering, the likelihood of your profile coming up and you being considered as a candidate can significantly increase. We are told to use buzz words like this within our resumes, but using them on our LinkedIn profiles can be just as beneficial.
To help improve your advancement in this process, we have compiled some quick fixes that can set your profile apart from other candidates. Here is a quick and dirty guide on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
- 1. Create a custom profile URL: Usually, your unique LinkedIn URL will contain gibberish letters and numbers. But you have the ability to personalize it as your own full name! And if by chance that is already taken, try recognizable iterations of your name or initials. The goal is to get a URL that is immediately identifiable as your own. Not only is this an easier way to find your specific page, but it makes returning to the page quick and seamless for both yourself and potential employers.
- 2. Identify Keywords: Research your desired jobs and make a list of common terms used within that field and industry. You can also use Google AdWords Keyword Tool to figure out which terms will increase your likelihood of being discovered when searched. You can harness this tool as a chance to add popular terms and buzz words to your profile and even your resume.
- 3. Upload a profile picture: In the digital age, your picture is your first impression. Most times employers see your photo before you get the chance to meet them in person, so it is important to put some thought into it’s selection. Use a high resolution profile picture with a simple background. The photo icon is small, so your head should be focused and visible. Make sure you present yourself the same way you would in a face-to-face interview. They say “dress for the job you want.” You should treat your profile picture with the same mentality.
- 4. Be strategic with content: Develop content that tells a comprehensive, consistent story about your career history. Make use of the keywords found in Step #2 by incorporating them into your previous job descriptions, skills, and “About Me” section as much as possible. Pay special attention to strategically using keywords in the titles of your posts in order to optimize their chances of higher rankings.
- 5. Optimize your anchor links: You can add up to 3 of your own websites to LinkedIn. This gives you the opportunity to showcase a variety of work to potential employers that may be looking for different types of content. When it asks you for “Type,” choose “Other” and use the keywords that you researched to specifically describe it.
- 6. Complete your profile: That means that all fields are 100% complete. The more fields filled, the more views you’ll get. If there is one section that you were shying away from finishing, go back and get it done! It is worth your time to use all that the profile has to offer in order to paint a full picture of yourself for those who come across it.
- 7. Upload samples of your work: If you have videos/presentations/publications that qualify your expertise, share them! Previous work you have done helps to validate your skills and showcase your abilities. Posting that content is another great way to optimize your profile and stand out.
- 8. Group membership: Ideally, you’ll join relevant groups to get involved, participate, and transfer ideas with other LinkedIn members. Realistically, you should definitely join groups to increase your search engine visibility. Companies actively scout potential hires in various groups and forums, and staying active can help you stay relevant. Being engaged allows your LinkedIn profile to stand out and provide you with another opportunity to get noticed.
- 9. Recommendations: Reach out to past and present colleagues for reviews. It may feel awkward (“Hey, can you publicly flatter me?”), but having other people vouching for your skills and abilities is another advantage your profile will have over the competition. The likelihood is that more often than not, people will be happy to help, and will be pleased that you valued their opinion and sought out their input.
- 10. Interact: Expand your network. Participate in groups. Make yourself prominent. Endorse your connections. There is a good chance they will endorse you in return! Building a great profile and then abandoning it is just plain silly. Use it even after you get that dream job so you stay current. You should be regularly updating your profile with new skills you may learn, or works of yours that have been created or published. Staying active keeps you involved, and keeps you relevant.
Take some time to review your profile and see if you are making the most of its potential. Following through on these steps can send many more views in your direction and lead to increased interaction. Whether you are currently on the job hunt, or just trying to prepare your profile for the future, these small changes can yield large results. Happy hunting!
Let us know how these changes have improved your LinkedIn profile! Did we miss anything? Leave a suggestion, question, or comment below or tweet us @BFMWeb.