Up until about a week ago, my LinkedIn profile was pathetic. In fact, it violated nearly every recommendation I’ve been telling you about for the last three months.
I retired from the workforce about nine months ago. And until recently, I wasn’t in any hurry to go back to work in a traditional sense. However, now I realize there may be opportunities of an altruistic nature that could lure me back to work.
But, there’s no way a recruiter would ever have found me in a LinkedIn search given the state of my LinkedIn profile over the nine months since my retirement. Don’t do what I did, there is no telling what passed me by.
The two most important things you can do to improve your LinkedIn profile
The first thing you can do is simple. Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. No one is paying me to say this, it is just a no-brainer when you understand what you get in return. In Get Noticed! 8 Great LinkedIn Hacks I explain why this is a great idea if you want to be found by recruiters.
The second thing I did, and the one I am going to focus on for the remainder of this article, was to dramatically improve my LinkedIn profile.
If you had taken a look a few weeks ago, and maybe you did (how embarrassing if that is the case), you would have seen that although my profile wasn’t as bad as a resume “cut and paste”, it wasn’t much better.
My LinkedIn profile and a free bonus:
My profile can be found here and if you send me a LinkedIn connection invitation, I’ll connect with you. You will instantly acquire about 12,000 LinkedIn second level connections. This is because I am a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION). I recommend you become the same. This is also discussed in Get Noticed! 8 Great LinkedIn Hacks.
First, your heading is the key to getting noticed
My old heading looked something like this:
Robert Baird, MBA, MS, PMP, CRM, IGP.
Any idea what is missing? If you guessed the keywords necessary to get found in a search for the position your seeking, you nailed it. This heading was almost useless without the keywords:
Also, credentials are nice, especially if you suspect recruiters are looking for someone with a PMP or a CRM, etc.
Here is my revised heading:
As you can see, I now tell prospective recruiters and hiring managers that I am looking for a position as a CEO or Executive Director with these four keywords:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Executive Director
Including the acronyms is important since you don’t know exactly what the recruiter will use in their search terms. I do provide my credentials, but frankly, I could leave them out. The reason I left them in, is because I needed them to frame and center the next line
“35 Years of Proven Leadership”
Formatting a heading can be tricky as it is a “trial and error” exercise. I recommend once you’re finished that you take a look at it on your phone and make sure it’s rendering properly there. You may have to settle with a middle ground, but make sure the one that renders on the desktop is the best.
I wouldn’t recommend overuse of special characters but a few strategically placed can make a line standout as it did for me (the stars).T
The all-important message to the hiring manager or recruiter
Opening Paragraph (Intro): A strong opening that tells them something about you as a person, leader, teammate, etc.
“I am an innovative leader who motivates others to achieve their true potential. I quickly assess an organization’s opportunities for improvement and then lead my staff to develop and implement solutions that achieve excellence.”
What you say depends on the position you are applying for, your desires, aspirations, character, passions, etc. But the bottom line is that it should be personal and it should be interesting. You want the reader to keep on reading. Do your best to capture their attention.
My opening paragraph is written the way it is because I am interested in leadership positions, particularly those that are challenging such as turnarounds. I pride myself as an innovator who can quickly take charge and move an organization forward and I have attempted to convey this.
Body (Accomplishments): Provides examples of your best accomplishments
“As the CEO of ARMA International (501(c)(6)), I led the team that restructured the organization for optimal efficiency. After putting in place a living strategic planning process, our game-changing strategies turned this 60-year-old organization back from the brink of financial disaster in just 21 months.
As the CIO of United Educators, I led a large-scale end-to-end insurance platform software development project. Implementing lean and agile, the team of 20 professionals I assembled in just a matter of months rescued this $4M project from dire straights.
As the AVP for Risk Management at United Educators, I built and led a team of six consultants who provided advice and training on a plethora of topics to campuses across the United States. Our exceptional service contributed to 99.6%% policy retention over my entire tenure (eight years).”
These three paragraphs roughly follow the rule of PAR (problem, action, result) discussed in the resource mentioned earlier. Also, numbers matter and if you have them, show them.
Body (Communication Skills): Address oral and written competencies
“I am a skilled presenter, educator, public speaker and an evangelist for causes in which I believe. I have attached a video of my opening remarks to our ARMA membership at our annual conference. Skip to timestamp 4:00 to bypass introductions.”
I am sure you’re familiar with the standard line that always appears on a position description “Candidate must possess excellent communication skills, both written and oral.” You might as well address it here as it is a critical factor for most jobs.
I’ve taken advantage of LinkedIn’s ability to attach virtually anything to a profile and have included not only a link to my resume but also a video of my opening remarks at our last conference. You can learn more about how to do this on my blog Your New Website: LinkedIn.
Body: (Academics and Credentials)
“My academic qualifications include an MBA from George Washington University, a Master of Science from The Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, an Executive MBA from the Darden School (University of Virginia) and a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University.”
This needs little explanation. You could leave this out to shorten your profile, especially if you attach your resume as I have.
Closing: (The call to action)
“I am looking for an organization or company with a compelling mission that is unafraid of change. If you are seeking a passionate innovator who can lead a struggling organization to excellence, then we should talk. (240) 676-5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org”
Except for the heading, this is the most important part of the profile. I’m clear on four things:
- I’m open to opportunities.
- I’m looking for challenging opportunities.
- I’m am approachable.
- I’m reachable (phone and personal email address).
*** WARNING ***
If you are concerned that what you say in your profile could get you in trouble or even get you fired from your current job, then read hack number four in Get Noticed! 8 Great LinkedIn Hacks.
I discuss strategies for those currently employed. I also talk about the LinkedIn privacy settings that can help to keep your company’s recruiters from knowing you are looking for a job.
Wrapping it up
It’s important to keep your profile up to date. Don’t do what I did and let it get stale. There’s no telling what opportunities passed me by when I was invisible to recruiters.
And remember, even if you are considered by recruiters to be “passive talent”, talent not actively looking for a new job, 75% of all companies are actively searching passive talent to find great people just like you for opportunities you might never have considered.
Take care till next week,
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