LinkedIn Executive Profiles
I consider LinkedIn to be a Flashing Digital Billboard that I change every Sunday at 3:30. I call this changing my oil.
A resume is an historical document highlighting past jobs, achievements, education, and community involvement.
As a futurist and strategist, career coach and LinkedIn specialist, I teach my clients how to leverage LI to get what they want going forward, not to get what they have always had.
Having written over 7,000 successful LinkedIn profiles for job search and business development clients, here are my tips for making a LinkedIn profile Look Great and Be Found for success, differently from a resume:
1) Know Your Goals – the first and most important tip is to understand the purpose of your LinkedIn profile and the goals for being on this tool. My clients must complete my workbook with many questions that help them discern their goals. Here are seven important questions:
2) Look Great – In Europe, the Vita / resume includes a photo, in the USA a resume does not include a photo. On LinkedIn, a photograph is important as this is a social media tool and people want to know that the profile owner is real, authentic, and genuine. Be sure to get a professional head shot for your LinkedIn profile. (I do not even click on profiles without photos).
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Do not use a selfie for the LinkedIn profile.
3) Know Your Branding – Take time to unearth and understand your brand and communicate that in the Professional Headline area on LinkedIn, under your name. This area allows for 120 characters – start with the title that you desire, your brand statement and the industries that you desire. This area is high in search engine optimization.
Headline Example: Technical Project Manager that Every Engineer Loves to Work With in Electric or Industrial Manufacturing. This headline got my client found for a great job within four weeks.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: I change my headline based on what I desire, adding and removing keywords, titles, and industries that I am targeting. My branding remains consistent but the keywords may change based on the jobs or industries that I am targeting – i.e. LinkedIn Trainer, Sales Coach | Attorneys Look Great, Be Found, Get Know and Make Meaningful Business Connections. By adding the word ‘Attorneys’ I got two new law firm clients, as the found me on LinkedIn.
4) Be Aspirational – In your Summary area, which has a 2000 character limit, make sure that there are at least 50 keywords. If you are seeking a job and are unemployed start the first two lines (50 characters) with the job title that you are seeking and your contact information. This way recruiters can easily reach out to you. In the Summary let people know what you desire, what your goals are and what you have accomplished. Here are few samples of successful Summary samples that I share, from the Forbes article by William Arruda.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: if you are employed, DO NOT say that you are desperately seeking new opportunities.
5) Summarize Achievements in the Experience Section – Do not just copy and paste your resume into the Experience area. I coach my clients to create their accomplishments and rank them based on what they want to do in the future.
Next, study job descriptions that you are targeting and make certain to plant those keywords or requirements from those job descriptions in the Experience Description area.
I coach clients to use my ‘frosting and cupcake’ formatting. That means to create a headline for key accomplishment that quickly tells the story with keywords. This is important because when you apply for a job through LinkedIn or download your LinkedIn profile into an online resume format then the formatting is very easy to read and the keywords stand out. Example:
CREATED STRATEGY TO LAUNCH NEW REVENUE STREAMS
- Created $25 million dollar business – launched the in-store experience, procedures, tools and measurements for the initial launch of in-store gaming software trade-in.
- Developed the sales plan, trainings and tools that supported entry into selling eReaders in-store and online which is now a $60 million business.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Never use the words ‘Responsible for’ in the Experience section. Recruiters want to know what you have achieved and not what the responsibilities were. Always put past job accomplishments in past tense.
6) Highlight Successes – There are many new areas on LinkedIn where you can display your experience. Begin adding the Volunteer, Honors and Awards, Publications, Organizations, Certifications, Courses and other sections to the profile.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Each Sunday when I change my oil, I add a new keyword to the Interest area on LinkedIn. This area is high in search engine optimization and I use it as my ‘secret sauce’ to help get picked up in searches. I have hundreds of client success stories about clients who added a new keyword and were quickly found for a great job.
7) Show Your Stuff – In the new media-rich formatting area in the LinkedIn Summary, Experience and Education sections, you can add links, videos, PPT, PDFs or photos. If you do not have any of these, then create some visuals.
Visit www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor to view many media-rich format suggestions. With one client, we created a PPT slide showing how he has been successful in creating business analytics. This visual got him noticed by a potential employer.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: You can also create visual resumes to put in this area using tools such as www.branded.me, www.resume.linkedinlabs.com, or by creating a resume on your Pinterest and adding that account (see www.pinterest.com/annepryor).
8) Flaunt Your Skills – The Skills and Endorsements area is important on LinkedIn. Add up to 50 skills and make certain that the top 10 skills get the most endorsements and that they are in the top 10 slots. Get at least 12 Endorsements. Give to receive! You can move these around now by clicking ‘Manage skills’ and then clicking on the skill and dragging it to a new position.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Every Sunday I remove skills that I no longer want to show and add a new skill that I have found on other expert’s profiles or that are in job descriptions. If I do not have that skill, I visit www.lynda.com (LinkedIn owns this company) and take a tutorial about that skill and I add that word to my Interest area.
9) Recommend Others First – Give recommendations to former bosses, co-workers, staff, and vendors. Give three recommendations per week and watch how many you receive back. Recommendations are important as recruiters, HR and hiring managers want to understand your character.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Always highlight their brand attributes and accomplishments in the first 6 words of a recommendation. This is all people can see on a LinkedIn profile and it is all they notice.
10) Invite Top Influencers – Once you have your profile Looking Great, invite your top peeps to your network. Get your targeted list of industries (I call them HUBS) then the top 66 people that refer business to you and that you refer business to.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Always add a personal message when inviting people to LinkedIn. My five step process: 1) say where you knew them from 2) give them a complement or a connection point, 3) invite them to connect, 4) ask what you can be on the lookout for them, 5) sign off with your brand statement, name, phone, and twitter handle (LinkedIn does not allow you to add a URL on the Invitation message prior to connecting).
To you success, my friends,
Anne Pryor is a Universal Connector, Recognized as a Top 10 LinkedIn Trainer in the World, Certified Online Brand Specialist, Future Mapper and Co-founder of Meaningful Connections, a national leader in personal branding, online visibility using LinkedIn, and career and new world of work strategies. See her other blog posts at www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor, www.MeaningfulConnections.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, @annepryor
My friend Andrew Ronningen, a retained executive recruiter and partner with a great guy, Doug Franchot, of Frachot Associates, met me for a meaningful connection lunch last week. I asked Andrew if he would share tips on how executive job seeker candidates can help recruiters be successful. He was thoughtful in his answers. See if you are doing these things on your LinkedIn profile:
1) KEYWORDS, keywords, keywords – recruiters search for keywords from the job descriptions. Be sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated with keywords for the positions that you are targeting. TIP: Update keywords in your Interest area each Sunday. I do and I come up higher in searches.
2) Add SKILLS – include technical skills that are listed on job descriptions. TIP: Add up to 50 skills. Recruiters with premium service get the top 24 LinkedIn profiles with top keywords skills searched pushed to them.
3) Ensure that the INDUSTRIES that you have experience in are listed in the profile. TIP: Change your Industry targeted each week. You’ll come up in different searches.
4) Add the ZIP CODE, city and state where you choose to live. Andrew said that he often starts a search within 25 miles of the zip code of the job he’s targeting. TIP: Change your zip code each weekend if you’re targeting different locations.
5) Add COLLEGES and HIGH SCHOOLS – Andrew often searches for colleges and high schools as many executives are interested in returning back to their hometown areas. TIP: If you don’t choose to add your high school to your education then put it in the Interest area or under awards, if you have them.
6) Add AFFINITIES to your profile – Andrew often searches for an executive candidate that my like to return back to their home community. An affinity might be the name of a MLB, NFL, National Football, or other college or high school team, leadership style, fraternities, sororities, associations or groups. TIP: You can add this to the Volunteer, Associations, Causes, Organizations or Interest areas and it will be picked up in search.
7) Get RECOMMENDATIONS – a LinkedIn recommendation can show characteristics not called out in the job descriptions. These can justify or solidify a candidate. TIP: Recruiters do look for back scratching (you give and they give you one). The first sentence of a recommendation is important.
8) Add MEDIA RICH FORMAT – recruiters like to see examples of candidate’s work. Andrew likes to see thought process. Often they can see the strategy and tactical skills with examples like reports, PowerPoint documents and whitepapers. TIP: If you don’t have such documents recreate a PowerPoint presentation to show process, strategy and thought leadership.
9) Number of CONNECTIONS matter – get more than 500+ connections. This ensures that if you’re in a sales role that you can hit the ground running. TIP: Be sure your connections are people you know, like and trust that know, like and trust you. Make sure the connections are in the Hubs that you are targeting.
10) Add GROUPS – recruiters join and leave Groups based on their targeted search. It’s important to participate in Discussions, recruiters take note of people starting and commenting in Discussions. TIP: Ask a smart, insightful question in a Group. When answering, be resourceful and add value.
11) Use INMAIL – Andrew uses InMail to connect with potential candidates. Check LinkedIn and respond via InMail quickly. TIP: If you do not respond within three days the InMails are returned to the recruiters.
12) PERSONALIZE INVITATIONS – Always personalize your invitation to a recruiter. Mention someone that you know in common or why you choose to connect. TIP: Don’t click the blue circle with the + sign or connect through a mobile app as these tools don’t allow for a personalized message.
13) BE OPEN TO LISTEN – If you receive a call or email from a recruiter, be open and listen to the opportunity. TIP: Even when you are not in search be courteous and reply to the recruiter. You never know when you will need their help. Recruiters remember people who help them.
14) Add a CURRENT position – even if you are not working have a title and industry in the Current position. This way you will come up in searches. TIP: Also add your Board Positions, Associations and consulting opportunities if you have had them. Recruiters want to know what you’ve been doing.
15) Add a GREAT PHOTO: LinkedIn statistics show that you are 7 times more likely to be clicked on if you have a professional picture. TIP: Andrew suggests that executives should dress as professionally as possible for the photograph. A Shirt and tie and suit is always appropriate.
16) Remove the words RESPONSIBLE FOR – recruiters are interested in quantifiable and measurable results, not just responsibilities. TIP: in the Experience area under description be sure to add your key accomplishments and measurable results.
I am proud to say that Andrew and I were colleagues at Carlson Marketing Group where he was a successful executive and general manager. Everyone loved working with Andrew – from colleagues to clients. He always had a unique approach – he listened, asked great questioned, cared and thoughtfully created solutions that client’s loved – and he and Doug have taken that approach at their firm – a partnership based approach between employer and employee.
Andrew said that he always looks in his resume database first. He invites you to send your resume to him at Frachot Associates. If you do, BE HELPFUL, if you are contacted by a recruiter and you are not the perfect candidate suggest other people in your network. TIP: Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn and keep your Connections open, when in job search.
Good luck to you, my friends,
Marni Hockenberg, Principal of Hockenberg Search, the premier manufacturing retained executive recruiting firm in Minnesota, shared her tips for executives when creating a great LinkedIn profile:
“Based on the hundreds of profiles that we review each week, we need the right information quickly,” said Marni Hockenberg. Here are tips that Marni shared with Anne Pryor, for a presentation to members of the Minneapolis / St. Paul RockStars Executive Networking Meeting.
- HELP US GET INFORMATION QUICKLY: recruiters don’t know everything about every company in the world and don’t have much time to look it up.
- COMPANY DESCRIPTION – of your company that includes product or service, the markets you sell to, size of company in revenue and employees (if can be revealed), public or privately held, company location.
- JOB SCOPE – of your job –where did you reside in the org chart?
- REPORTING STRUCTURE – what was the title of the person you reported to, and how many direct reports did you have?
- PROFESSIONAL PHOTO – Recruiters are reticent to refer a good candidate with a poor photo to a hiring manager. A poor photo includes dead animals, sports vehicles, boats and yachts, beach scenes, your pets and kids, you in an evening gown or tux (yes – no tuxes unless you are applying as a host for an awards show). Look like you are going to work, not be on a perpetual vacation. Send a visual message that you are serious.
- GET RECOMMENDATIONS – Get and give them. Recruiters read them. They are fully aware that no one posts a nasty recommendation, but there are themes that come out in them. Recruiters look for themes such as leadership, interpersonal skills, making good decisions, staying calm in a bad situation, etc. These are things that don’t come out in a resume. This gives a flavor as to who you are as a leader or co-worker.
Thanks for your great tips, Marni.