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Discover how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and effectively use the platform to enhance your job search in this episode of the Career Strategy Podcast. This episode tackles common LinkedIn mistakes made by job seekers and provides actionable advice to stand out from the crowd. Forget about focusing on the size of your network or the number of posts you make. Instead, learn to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your network and engagement on LinkedIn.
The first step is ensuring your LinkedIn profile is ready for the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. Like preparing a house for sale, your profile should be enticing for recruiters and hiring managers. The episode delves into four key areas of your profile that need optimizing, including your LinkedIn headline and about section. Learn how to create a headline that grabs attention by using the job title you desire and highlighting unique factors, such as your years of experience or specialized education.
In the about section, expand on your headline, incorporate relevant keywords, and showcase notable achievements. By implementing these LinkedIn profile tips tips, you’ll increase your chances of appearing in search results and attracting job opportunities. Don’t miss this insightful episode that will help elevate your career and optimize your LinkedIn profile for your job search now and in the future.
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Discussion Questions About The Episode
- How do you currently use LinkedIn in your job search, and do you feel that you are effectively utilizing the platform to build trust and relationships? Are there any changes you can make to improve your LinkedIn presence?
- Reflect on your own LinkedIn connections – do you prioritize building a large network or forming genuine, valuable connections? How might shifting your focus to quality over quantity impact your career?
- Take a moment to review your own profile – is it in tip-top shape? What improvements or additions can you make to highlight your skills, experience, and unique value to potential employers?
- Consider your own headline – does it accurately reflect the job you want next and include any unique factors about you? How can you tailor your headline to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in your field?
- Reflect on your own about section – does it effectively showcase your skills, experiences, and achievements? How can you enhance your about section to capture the attention of potential employers and highlight your expertise?
Sarah Doody [00:00:00]: Hey there. I’m Sarah Doody, host of the Career Strategy Podcast. Many professionals are seeking more impact, flexibility, growth, and let’s face it, getting paid what they’re worth. But how do you unlock this in your career? It starts with strategy. I’m taking you behind the scenes of what’s working for my career coaching clients. You’ll hear strategies an actionable, yet sometimes against the grain, advice for how you can be the CEO of your career and stop dreading Mondays. Less. Ready to level up your career? Let’s get after it.
Sarah Doody [00:00:39]: How do you use LinkedIn more efficiently in your job search, whether you’re job searching now or in the future. So Like it or hate it, LinkedIn is this tool that can be very useful and also, yes, somewhat frustrating to use as you try and advance your career. Right? And the problem that I’ve noticed is that many people don’t understand how to really effectively use LinkedIn to build trust and relationships that will help them ultimately accelerate their job search. And even if you aren’t actively looking for a job right now, these tips are really gonna help you jump start the next time you might end up in a job search. So here’s the thing. Professionals like you often focus on the wrong things when it comes to using LinkedIn professionally, and maybe you’re guilty of some of these things. I noticed a lot of people focus on the size of the network, the number of connections they can acquire versus the quality of their network, or they focus on the number of posts that they can make each week versus what’s the quality of those posts? Right? If you’re just reposting memes from 6 months ago about user experience, then is that adding value? I don’t know. The name of the game here is we need to focus on quality and not quantity.
Sarah Doody [00:02:17]: And as a result, this focus on quantity of people in your network, of connections, of amount of stuff you’re posting, that focus on quality can actually inhibit your relationship buildings and your job search. So before you start to connect with people or get serious about posting kinda strategic content and not just memes and things that will help position you as a really high value candidate. You really need to make sure that your profile is in tip top shape. Right? It doesn’t make sense to drive people to your profile if your profile isn’t really good. It’s kinda like you wouldn’t list your house for sale before it was ready for people to come to an open house. Right? It would be a massive waste of time to find a realtor and get your home listed if you then still needed 2 or 3 month to get the inside or outside of the house, like, ready for potential buyers to see. And that same principle really applies to your LinkedIn profile. You don’t want to send people to your profile if it’s not ready for the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers or, you know, peers in your industry.
Sarah Doody [00:03:44]: So that’s part of what I hope we can fix today. So I wanna give you tip number 1, which is 4 parts of your LinkedIn profile that you must optimize whether or not you’re looking for a job right now or 2 years from now. If you optimize these 4 parts of your LinkedIn profile, you are gonna increase the chances that you show up in search results, and your profile is just going to hopefully bring more people to your inbox, whether that’s recruiters with job opportunities, people with similar interests, etcetera. So the first part of your LinkedIn profile that you have to optimize is your headline. So in case you don’t know, the headline is the text that appears below your name, and feel free to bring up your own LinkedIn profiles so you can follow along because I want you to look at your profile and really let some of these changes sink in or do them in real time. So the headline is super important because this is heavily factored into the algorithm of LinkedIn, and it is one of the things to get factored into whether you show up in search results or not. So if you’re a user researcher and a recruiter is searching for user researcher, you’re gonna increase your chances that you show up in their search results by having a quality headline. So how do you write a quality headline for your LinkedIn? Okay.
Sarah Doody [00:05:30]: Here’s kind of the basic formula. You wanna use the title of the job you want to get next, user researcher, product designer, UX designer, content strategist, UX writer, whatever it is. You wanna put that exact job title in that headline. And then you also wanna add any, what I call, unique factors about you that could spark their interest or that might be things they might add to their search when they are searching for candidates. So let’s continue with our UX researcher example. If you’re a UX researcher, you’d have UX researcher in that headline, but maybe another thing you might add is do you have specific experience with more quantitative or qualitative research? Those are things that would be valuable to add into your headline, and recruiters or hiring managers could be adding that to their search. So they might put UX researcher with qualitative experience or qualitative UX researcher or quantitative UX researcher. Right? So that’s how you have to think when you form this headline.
Sarah Doody [00:06:51]: Other things that you could include in that headline might be your years of experience or seniority. If you have 3 years of experience or 13 years of experience, you could put that in your headline. Or if you don’t wanna say the specific number of years, you could just say mid or senior level. And another thing that you could include is unique factors regarding your education. So if you have, say, postgraduate degrees or in a previous career because you’re a career switcher, you were a journalist for 10 years. You might add previously worked in journalism for 10 years or previously a journalist for 10 years. So that’s the basic formula. Job title for the job you wanna get next combined with some unique factors.
Sarah Doody [00:07:46]: And this is why it’s hard to give an exact formula for how to do this like Mad Libs style because you kinda just have to think critically about your own experience. If you don’t have a graduate degree or you’re just getting your 1st UX job, then, you know, you can’t apply that tip of focusing on education to your headline. So look at your headline and determine, a, do you even have 1? And if you don’t have 1, make a point to rewrite it today. And side note, if you do not write a headline, LinkedIn will just automatically put your current job title and then at the word at at your company name, which is not very exciting and doesn’t really help you tons in the search results. So that’s part number 1 of your LinkedIn profile that you need to optimize. Part number 2 is your about section. So why is this important? Again, it’s another place that the algorithm looks to to determine if you are a good match for whatever that recruiter or hiring manager is searching for. So what should you put in your about section? Your headline is kind of a good starting point.
Sarah Doody [00:09:12]: You want to make your about section expand on what you said in that headline. And this is also a great chance in the about section to add in various keywords that relate to the job you want next. So you might talk about different qualitative or quantitative research methods if you’re a researcher. You could even mention specific software that you have experience with. And you could also mention a couple of awesome accomplishments or outcomes or kind of accolades from previous roles you’ve held to get people’s attention. So if you worked on a research project that helped save the company x amount of dollars or increase revenue by x amount of dollars or increase sign ups by this many people, you could include a couple of those kinda accolades or accomplishments to serve as evidence that, hey. This is what I can do, and here is an example of how I’ve done it in the past in previous jobs. So if your about section is empty or if it’s only couple of sentences, you wanna go back and rewrite it so that it is reiterating what you do, going a little deeper than what you wrote as your headline, including different keywords, methods, processes, software, etcetera, and having 1 or 2 little brag sentences about you and your previous experience.
Sarah Doody [00:10:50]: You could also, of course, go into more details about your education or your previous career. If you’re a career switcher, that could be interesting as well. Alright. The 3rd part of your LinkedIn profile that you really need to optimize is your work history. This is one I see all the time where people leave it blank. And what I mean is, it’ll say the companies you previously worked at, but you don’t include anything under each of those items in your work history. And the thing is, if you have an effective resume, this is not rocket science, and it’s not gonna take you a long time because it can literally be a cut and paste job from your resume to your LinkedIn. But when this is blank, it makes your profile look kinda incomplete.
Sarah Doody [00:11:46]: And to me, I think it makes you look a little lazy. Like, you didn’t fill out your LinkedIn profile. So that is something you could do, especially if you already have a resume that you’re proud of, that you’re confident in, etcetera. And another thing that I’ve learned through talking to a lot of recruiters and hiring managers over the years is one of their kind of pet peeves slash yellow flags is when your resume and LinkedIn don’t kinda match up if there are companies missing or if your job title is radically different or if, you know, your resume has, I don’t know, 3 things in your job history, but your LinkedIn only has 1 or it has 10. It just is a weird experience for them. And like I said, turns into a bit of a pet peeve or yellow flag for them. So there’s really no excuse not to have a flushed out work history if you have a solid resume. Alright.
Sarah Doody [00:12:52]: And the last part of your LinkedIn profile that you really need to optimize is the skills section. I just read an article the other day that said according to LinkedIn, people with, I believe it is, 5 or more skills listed on their skill section are 27% more likely to be contacted by recruiters and hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists. So if you’re on your LinkedIn right now, scroll down to the skills section, see if you even have any skills in there. If you do, you wanna make sure you have at least 5. If you go into kinda edit mode for your skills, you’ll see the ability to highlight. I believe it’s 5. I could be wrong. LinkedIn’s always changing things, but you wanna be strategic about the ones that you highlight or mark as your top skills or whatever, you know, they call it these days.
Sarah Doody [00:13:56]: But here is the thing about skills. Don’t just rely on the skills section of your resume profile to communicate your skills. The real secret here is that you want to integrate those skills into the text of your about section, into the kind of bullet points or text that you put under your work experience section, and that will increase the chances that you’re going to show up in search results for when recruiters and hiring managers are searching for people that do whatever you do. Tip number 2, which is 2 hidden features in LinkedIn to help you be more visible to hiring managers and recruiters. Alright. So these 2 are very simple. You could do them in 2 minutes. Number 1 is you want to use what’s called the I’m interested feature.
Sarah Doody [00:15:02]: Now LinkedIn is rolling this out still. So if you don’t see this, don’t panic. Just keep coming back. But what you wanna do is for companies you want to potentially work at now or in the future, go to that company’s page on LinkedIn. And then in the about tab, there’s going to be I believe it’s a button, but just look for something that looks clickable that says, I’m interested. And by doing that, that’s gonna do a few things. That is going to kind of behind the scenes signal to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re, you guessed it, interested in that company. And when recruiters and hiring managers are using LinkedIn Recruiter, which is the premium tool that they pay for to find and manage candidates.
Sarah Doody [00:16:00]: When they’re searching, by you clicking the I’m interested it is going to increase the chances that you kind of bubble up to the top or higher up in their search results. And one of the things that’s really important to know about how LinkedIn recruiter works is that depending on what plan they have, they might have a limited number of InMails or messages they can send out to potential candidates, and they don’t wanna waste those. Right? They don’t wanna waste them, and they don’t wanna waste their time. So they rely on LinkedIn to kind of let them know, hey. These 4 candidates might be more likely to respond. This is also known as something that’s called spotlight, which in LinkedIn recruiter will, quote, spotlight candidates that it thinks might be most relevant, most qualified, most likely to reply. But you’re not going to be spotlighted or highlighted, whatever word you wanna use. If you don’t do this, I’m interested on the company’s about tab.
Sarah Doody [00:17:20]: So that is super, super easy to do. The other thing you wanna do, though, to get visibility with recruiters and hiring managers, you want to go and follow people who work at companies where you want to work. And don’t just stop at following them. I would really encourage you to also turn on the bell, which is the notification button on their profile. Whenever they post, it will show up in your notifications so you don’t miss one of their posts. And this is really important because Oftentimes, recruiters, hiring managers, people who work on teams that are hiring, they post messages such as, hey, everyone. My team is hiring a UX researcher, blah blah blah. I just saw, like, 3 of these this morning, so I know these posts happen all the time, but you will increase your chances of seeing these posts if you follow the people.
Sarah Doody [00:18:30]: But there’s another reason why it’s really important that you follow people who work at companies where you wanna work, which leads us to kind of the 3rd tip I have for your LinkedIn profile and how you use LinkedIn. And tip number 3 is you need to strategically increase your visibility with the people and the companies. Now beyond saying you’re interested and beyond following them, what you wanna do is engage with their content. And engage means way more than just going and liking tons of their posts. What I mean by engagement is leaving comments, but not a comment that just says cool or awesome or an emoji, you wanna leave an actual thoughtful comment that is a couple of sentences long. And a good rule of thumb might be, if you were sitting with them at a coffee shop and you were going to respond to their post, what would you say? That little prompt will help you, hopefully, not just do an emoji or say awesome or something like that. And in doing this, it’s going to build and nurture a relationship with this person so that you become a familiar name and a familiar face to them on LinkedIn so that 2 weeks from now, 2 months from now, 2 years from now, if you see their hiring or you apply to a job at their company and you have a question about the job or you wanna see if you can get a referral, they might be more likely to respond to you because no longer will it be a cold email or cold message, which I know so many of you dislike sending, it won’t be cold anymore. It’s like it will be lukewarm because you have invested the time and not a ton of time.
Sarah Doody [00:20:40]: You’re just, every now and then, leaving a comment on things they post to remain a familiar face and a familiar name on their profile. And another kind of tip I have for you because I know some of you could think, oh, I’m not good at writing posts and comments and all this stuff. Just ask questions. It’s not that hard, and we can get back to the basics and rely on, you know, the 5 w’s from journalism, who, what, where, when, why, how, to spark ideas of what you could respond to in a comment on their post. But in order to build these relationships with people, it’s really helpful to go follow them and turn on the notification bell so you actually see their posts. Now I know that was a lot, and you probably have multiple pages of notes at this point, but I wanna do a quick recap here to make sure that you like one of you said, make sure you have your marching orders. So the 3 things you can do to use LinkedIn more strategically now or in a future job search. Number 1, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile, your headline, your about, your work history and your skill sections.
Sarah Doody [00:22:09]: Why? Because we don’t wanna drive people to our LinkedIn profile if the LinkedIn profile is not optimized. Now there’s more you can do to optimize your LinkedIn profile than just those 4 sections, but bare minimum, do those things. The second thing you can do is to use those 2 little known LinkedIn features of going to company pages that you wanna work at and clicking on that I’m interested button and following people who work at the companies where you wanna work and turning on that notification bell. And then the third thing you can do is to increase your visibility by engaging with people, actually getting social. Right? It’s social media. So writing thoughtful comments on people’s posts. And another little tip I’d add here is that if you feel like you’re getting momentum with someone and maybe you’ve gone back and forth, maybe take it over to DMs. Right? And that allows you to maybe further build that relationship or ask some questions that maybe you don’t wanna ask out in the public world of LinkedIn.
Sarah Doody [00:23:26]: But if you do these 3 things, you will likely see a difference in the feeling of your LinkedIn, who is reaching out to you, the types of conversations that you are having. Of course, you need to give it maybe 1 or 2 weeks. But people that have done even the bare minimum of headline about work history and skill sections often come back to me and say, oh my gosh. I did this, and next thing I know, I had inbox messages from people for roles that actually aligned with what I’m not I’m looking for and not weird roles that have nothing to do with your actual skill set. I would also love if 2 days from now, a week from now, you start to realize, oh my gosh. I did these tips Sarah told me, and my LinkedIn is transformed. Tell me about it. I wanna know.
Sarah Doody [00:24:23]: I really, really would love to hear how this helped you super tangibly. Thanks for listening to the Career Strategy Podcast. Make sure to follow me, Sarah Doody, on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn. If anything in today’s episode resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Tag me on social media or send me a DM. And lastly, if you found this episode helpful, I’d really appreciate it you could share it with a friend or give us a quick rating on Spotify or review on Apple Podcasts.