5 tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile

As executive recruiters, technology professionals routinely confide in us as they consider moving on from their companies. There are candidates that simply want to make us aware of their intentions. Some ask our opinion on trends in the Cyber Security market and others ask for help “dusting off the resume” (a topic we covered here). While all these approaches are appropriate, most people overlook optimizing their LinkedIn profiles when planning to go on a job hunt.

Let’s look at the numbers

  • LinkedIn user growth has been astronomical. Since going public in 2011, users grew from 160M to 660M in 2019.
  • ~50% of the 660M users are active monthly users.
  • ~172,000 new users join LinkedIn every day.
  • 30M companies are registered on LinkedIn and 20M of them are listing jobs on the platform.

(Source)

Why is optimizing LinkedIn profiles important?

While the good ‘ol resume dust off is necessary, consider the total visibility – or lack thereof – of that document. For people currently employed and confidentially keeping an ear to the ground, posting a resume risks prematurely showing one’s cards to current employers. On the other hand, it’s expected and accepted for everyone to have a LinkedIn profile. Keeping your bio on the platform updated and searchable is a great way to be found by headhunters, internal recruiters and hiring managers. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile serves as a vehicle that creates your own personal lead generation engine.

Tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile

Keep content focused on you:

Often, employers will ask new employees to put a generic company description in the “Experience” section under their job title. Many people we coach don’t adjust the content in the “Experience” section after they leave a company. The problem is that after you’ve moved on, the reader has a limited understanding of your role beyond the job title which can sometimes be misleading. When you leave a job, replace the generic company content with a description of your role and, more importantly, your accomplishments.

Context is a key difference maker, add some:

Content that seems understandable to you, may not be so clear to the intended audience. A good exercise is to have a friend that knows nothing about your job/industry give it a read. Here are some fixes we typically recommend to technology professionals:

  • Do you have a short stint because of M&A activity or an employer closing its doors? Make sure to point that out.
  • Did you leave a company after being recruited by a former manager? That should be the first bullet point in your description – it’s a good thing!
  • Is your title ambiguous or do you wear many hats? Describe all the functions you performed at a company and all the great results associated with your performance.

Make your LinkedIn profile searchable:

Recruiters will utilize several search methods including keyword search. List skills that don’t fit into the general profile content at the bottom of your “About” section.

Ensure employers you list (previous & current) are linked to respective company pages:

Headhunters poach from their clients’ competition. If you’re not listed as an employee of a competitor, you may slip through the cracks of a search.  

Get yourself an updated professional headshot:

People hire people, not profiles.

Pinpoint Search Group is an executive search firm that recruits leaders and builds teams in the Cyber Security and Cloud markets.  

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