You know the drill. You’re unhappy in your current job — or unhappy with no job — and are desperately updating your LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been touched since the last time you were in this situation.
Well, you’re not alone; this sums up the dysfunctional relationship many professionals have with their LinkedIn profiles. While some flock to LinkedIn only when in need and apply to already posted positions, the platform is at its best when maintained regularly and optimized to allow hiring managers to reach out to you.
LinkedIn’s career expert Nicole Williams helps elaborate on six ways to optimize your profile and attract more recruiters to you now.
1. Develop a Keyword Strategy
If search engine optimization is not your expertise, here is a mini lesson. LinkedIn’s search functionality makes it easy to find people by their name, skills and any other words that appear in their profile — which is why these words should be chosen with thought.
First, make a list of terms associated with your skills and experience. Ask yourself, “What words would someone search for to find me?” If strapped for terms, seek inspiration from a job positing you are interested in.
Next, take those terms and rework them from the perspective of a searching recruiter. For example, you may have the term “digital strategy” in your LinkedIn profile; however, a recruiter would be more likely to search for the term “digital strategist.” Synonyms are also important; you never know if recruiters will search for “digital,” “online” or “Internet,” so include them all. Lastly, you want to organically incorporate these key terms into your profile to attract both the search engine and human reader alike.
2. Say Cheese
Williams says that “hiring managers are seven times more likely to view your profile if you have a photo; it’s a must have.”
Not only does a photo allow your profile to stand out in the search results, but also shows recruiters that you are active on the network and LinkedIn is a viable way to contact you. Williams suggests using a photo that places you in the context of your job. You want to help hiring managers envision you in that position.
“If you are a chef, feel free to show yourself in a kitchen, or in front of a whiteboard if you are a marketer,” Williams says. “But don’t use a picture of yourself with your dog, unless you’re a veterinarian.”
3. Be Vain
Williams also prompts all passive and active job seekers to claim their vanity URL. This is a customized URL that drives directly to your profile.
“Using your name in your vanity URL gives it a chance to appear in a Google when someone searches for you,” says Williams.
This makes it easier for hiring managers to find you and share your information with other hiring managers. If your preferred vanity URL is already claimed, incorporate a relevant key term, for example www.linkedin.com/in/CarlySimonSinger.
4. Rack up Recommendations
Solicit recommendations from people you have worked for or with. “Make a strategic plan for your recommendations,” says Williams. “Approach different people and suggest particular skills or experiences you would like them to highlight.”
This strategy helps provide hiring managers with a more holistic view of you and your past work. However, the most important part of the recommendation is not necessarily the content, but that it exists at all. It shows that someone was willing to take the time to personally vouch for you.
5. Strategic Connections
The more connections you have on LinkedIn the more likely you are to come up in a hiring manager’s search results. Strategically identify people you’d like to be linked to and approach them with a custom connection request.
“The biggest mistakes users make is asking for too much in the first request,” says Williams. LinkedIn are no different than connections in real life.
“Find an affinity you have in common, ask a question, but don’t ask for a job in the first connection.”
Groups work similarly and if you and a recruiter are in the same group, you can rise to the top of their search results. Join groups that are relevant to the industry you are in and a few recruiters in your field will most likely be members as well.
6. Now Share with your Connections
“Don’t just set up your profile; actively engage in LinkedIn,” says Williams. Share useful content or comment on the shared content of others to make your profile more viewable. Interacting with others on the platform not only makes you visible to them, but also their connections.
If you don’t have time to scour the Internet for shareable content, Williams suggests leveraging LinkedIn Today, a feature that allows you to receive the most read news on your chosen topics. Choose one story per day from that feed and not only will it help you in your current job, but it might catch the eye of a hiring manager for a future position.
Try out these six LinkedIn tips and post your results below. If you have tips of your own, share them in the comments.