Optimize Your LinkedIn Page During a Job Search

Published: December 14, 2012 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Job Hunting

Savvy job recruiters are increasingly relying on LinkedIn and other social networking sites to scope out potential employees. Contrary to popular belief, managing your LinkedIn page doesn't have to be a chore. By following these simple guidelines, you'll ensure that your profile impresses the right people--and, more importantly, lands the right job.

1. Reach the right audience

It's all about presentation. Before you begin building your profile, decide what your ideal job is--and then groom your LinkedIn page to target that job. For example, if you're courting a corporate gig, your approach should be more formal than if you're seeking a spot in a startup or small business. The voice you write in should convey your professional priorities.

Speaking of voice, don't forget the elevator pitch! Fill your profile's summary box with a short and sweet mission statement pitching what makes you different and what value you can offer to a company. If you're really on your game, you'll also include some keywords that recruiters in your field will be searching for.

Once your profile is almost complete, be sure to add skills that you excel in. Do not list skills that you do not pride yourself on. It is important to list skills, because of the addition of endorsements. LinkedIn now allows first connections to be able to "endorse" your listed skills. By having connections endorse your skills, you are giving anyone who views your profile a quick overview of the skills that you excel in professionally. It is just another feature that will help sell your professional profile to potential employers.

2. Mind the details

If your profile is riddled with mistakes, prospective employers are not likely to be impressed, even if your credentials are top-notch. Take the extra time to ensure that your writing is professional, free of spelling errors, and grammatically correct.

While you're crossing your t's and dotting your i's, don't overlook the small stuff. For example, fighting to have your full name as your LinkedIn URL is well worth the effort. Also, your keywords should be carefully tuned for search engine optimization--consider which words recruiters are going to be typing into search boxes. Lastly, double-check your profile settings to make sure your content is available for public viewing.

3. Manage your connections

LinkedIn is about linking up. That means you'll need to go out of your way to seek recommendations, testimonials, and connections. A few glowing words of praise from a previous employer or colleague can make all the difference in your job hunt. Additionally, take advantage of LinkedIn's tools and applications to connect all of your social media, such as your blog and Twitter page. The bigger your web presence, the bigger your impact will be.

4. Keep your content fresh

It sounds like a no-brainer, but try to keep your content as up-to-date as possible. Status updates are a great place to display your achievements and show recruiters what you've been up to. Also, the richer your content, the more employers will have to work with during their decision-making process. Add details a little at a time until you've filled your profile with useful information.

Consistency is key, so be sure to convey the same message across all social media platforms.  One way to do this is through branding. Recruiters will be looking for you online, so it helps to have the same avatar, bio, and personality linked to all your web presences.

The bottom line

Online impressions count just as much as face-to-face impressions. For a candidate hoping to stand out from the crowd, it's more important than ever to cultivate a web presence optimized to catch the eye of the ideal employer. LinkedIn is the de facto tool for Internet-savvy professionals, so time invested in your LinkedIn profile will be time well spent.

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