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LinkedIn: Tips for the Passive User

When it comes to LinkedIn, I often hear statements such as, “I have an account but I don’t know much about its use” or “can you really find jobs on there?” In February of 2015, statistics showed 3 million jobs posted on LinkedIn. The opportunity certainly exists however; it seems to be an untapped resource to many. After creating an account and adding a few job titles and skills, many are left asking, “Now what?” Here are a few ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and become more relevant to recruiter searches.

The All-Star Profile:

To attain an optimal level of exposure on LinkedIn’s ‘Advanced People Search’ used by recruiters, it is necessary to meet the preference of its search engine optimization (SEO): profile completeness and connections. To achieve this, you must complete the following:

  • Summary
  • Profile photo
  • Industry
  • Postal code
  • Education
  • 5 Skills
  • 3 Job titles (1 current position with description and 2 previous)
  • A minimum of 50 connections

Resume writing and self profiles can be daunting. Some find it difficult to write about themselves. Where do you start?  I find it best to think of yourself as a product. Create a brand that represents your unique skills and knowledge and use this for the basis of your profile.

Your Headline:

Capture your target employer with a unique branding statement. For example, “Jane Doe: Reducing turnover by 70% using recruitment strategies, employee engagement and compensation management” is more effective than “Jane Doe: HR Generalist”. Use this formula as a guide: (accomplishment) using (skill 1) + (skill 2) + (skill 3).

If you are currently job hunting, while it may seem ideal to state “looking for new opportunities”, this fails to feature your main attributes. If a company selling cars used “looking for consumers” as its tagline, would you be interested in purchasing? Toot your own horn. Tell us what you do and how.

Your Summary:

Expand on your headline by summarizing aspects such as career highlights, accomplishments, certifications and industry preference. Think of this as a brochure featuring the bells and whistles that set you apart from your competitors. List your core competencies using keywords specific to your target industry in bullet style form for easy reading.

Remember to let others know how they can contact you. This is critical since only your first degree connections are able to see your contact information. Include an email address or phone number and a line stating that you open to discussing new opportunities if applicable.

Your Profile Photo:

Many a profile are without a photo, which is limiting because having one increases your credibility, forms a personal logo, aids consistency with other forms of social media and makes you 14 times more likely to be viewed. Ensure that your photo illustrates your best professional self. Choose work-appropriate attire, a business-like pose and have the photo taken by someone else in good lighting. Selfies excluded.

Building Your Network:

Although the All-Star profile strength requires only 50 connections, great power is in the numbers. A greater sized network increases your ability to find people, information, and jobs and in turn and increases the likelihood of others finding you. Recruiters receive numerous search results when looking for candidates; to avoid becoming invisible on those double digit pages, forge connections to work your way to the top of the ranks. Easier said than done some may say. To grow a small network and increase your reach, use these tips:

  • Join groups popular within your industry and companies you wish to work for. This will connect you with like minded individuals to begin conversation. Also, start or participate in discussions. Be seen and be heard. Recruiters and hiring managers will take notice when you frequently appear on their newsfeed with meaningful contributions.
  • Make friends with a LION

LIONS, (an acronym for “LinkedIn Open Networkers”) have thousands of connections. Once you are connected with one, you can connect with anyone on their list as a second-degree relationship. Then, connect with a second-degree contact and their list now becomes…well, you see where I am going. This is a great way to expand your network if you are new with few connections.

Pauline Rampersaud is a Human Resources professional working in Toronto and has 5 years experience in a predominantly generalist capacity. Pauline enjoys learning of the latest industry trends to promote continually professional growth and innovative ideas. This is her first blog posting with hopes of becoming a regular contributor.

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