This is part 1 in our series Leveraging LinkedIn for a job
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The best approach is to be authentic

Nick KossovanA reader emailed me the following question:

I was an exec at a small oil exploration services company. We closed our doors due to the economy in 2020, and I’ve been trying to pivot since then. I’ve never been on LinkedIn as I was employed for over 30 years at the same company and didn’t feel I needed the exposure. Do you think it’s a detriment/impediment to not be on LinkedIn?

My answer: Not being on LinkedIn isn’t detrimental to a job search, but it’ll lengthen your job search.

Job seekers gain two advantages by having a complete LinkedIn profile they keep current:

  1. Employers and recruiters find them and approach them with job opportunities (optimized LinkedIn profile = more views = more opportunities), and
  2. When short-listed for a job they’ve applied to, their LinkedIn profile, when visited by the employer, which is inevitable, will validate they’re interview-worthy.
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A September 2020 Forbes article stated that 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates. What’s more efficient for a recruiter; searching LinkedIn and reaching out to qualified candidates or posting a job and being inundated with resumes, many from candidates who don’t meet the job requirements?

To gain every advantage possible during your job search, you must have a LinkedIn profile that’s attractive to employers.

Maximizing your LinkedIn profile requires, at minimum, doing the following:

  • Keeping your profile current (regular updates).
  • Being comprehensive about your skills.
  • Highlighting your experience and, most importantly, your value to your employers. (Remember, numbers are the language of business; therefore, use numbers throughout your profile to support your claims.)

I’ve found the best approach to making the best use of LinkedIn is to be authentic. Be yourself, represent who you are. LinkedIn isn’t your resume. On LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to dynamically represent your experiences (and show your work), skills, career objectives, what you know, and what you’re interested in. However, LinkedIn’s power isn’t dependent on how all-inclusive your profile is; it’s dependent on how current your information is.

In this column, and the next three (a four-part series), I’ll be offering tactical tips on how you can make LinkedIn your job search partner.

My first two tips will immediately boost your LinkedIn profile views.

  1. Have a current, no older than six months profile picture.

A profile picture is a crucial element of your LinkedIn presence, generating 14 times more page views. In addition, a hiring manager who sees your photo on LinkedIn will develop a specific impression of you. Therefore, it’s critical to consider “strategically” what a person might conclude about your personality and competency from your profile picture.

Job seekers have told me they don’t have a photo because they feel uncomfortable “putting themselves out there” so visibly. Several have said they believe showing a picture of themselves could lead to discrimination because of their age, weight, or race. I tend to look at this last reason from the viewpoint that who you are will become apparent during your first meeting. I’d rather be upfront and be discriminated against, which I won’t really know, than spend my time interviewing only to end up not getting the job due to the interviewer’s bias.

Bottom-line, the lack of a photo keeps your profile from being complete. Complete profiles appear higher in search results than “incomplete” profiles.

  1. Get your headline right.

When people search for you, they only see your photo, name, and headline, which appears beneath your image. Worth noting: in August 2020, LinkedIn increased the number of headline characters you have from 120 to 220.

When composing your headline, focus on these elements:

  • The role you want (use the job title that matches your goal).
  • Your qualifications.
  • Challenges you enjoy solving.
  • Your track record.

Here are some examples:

  • B2B Inside Sales Representative | $2.7MM generated in 2021 | Digital Ads Manager | 5 years experience managing 7-figure ad budgets | Bilingual (French)
  • Digital Marketing Manager for gaming apps | Increased Subscription Growth From 12k – 55k Users in 8 Months (Without Spending a Dime on Ads) | Google Analytics IQ Certificated

Note: While there is no shame in being unemployed, it’s not a selling point. Employers and recruiters are interested in your skills, not your current employment status. Don’t make the common mistake of adding “Actively Seeking Opportunities” or “Unemployed.” to your headline.

In my next column, I’ll be discussing the following:

  • Being comprehensive about your skills.
  • Build your network to the 1st degree.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in joining.

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.

For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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