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Optimizing Linkedin

LinkedIn is the modern resume.  In many cases (particularly for executives) you may no longer be asked for your resume. LinkedIn is the first thing recruiters and hiring managers look at.  They make a VERY fast judgment about you based on your profile.  So, invest the time to clean up your profile.

ℹ️ Important:  Before you start editing your LinkedIn profile, make sure your network doesn’t get notified about updates by turning off notifications.  You can do this by going:

  • Settings & Privacy >

  • Visibility >

  • Visibility of your LinkedIn activity >

  • Share profile updates with your network > No

Best Practices

Below are best practices for cleaning up your LinkedIn profile before beginning a search.

  • Background image:  Be thoughtful about this, have fun and be memorable.

  • Your Photo: Make it a good one - don’t get funky. If you are going for a C-Level role, a professional photo of you on stage with a microphone makes you look even more important;). If you need a more professional photo check out Secta Labs

  • Headline: Align this with your one-pager to be really clear about what role you do, your super-power.

    • Remove pieces of the headline that could suggest you aren’t focused on full-time roles (i.e. advisor, thought leader….)

    • Be specific: Highlight your unique skills, experience, and achievements. Use keywords: Include relevant keywords that recruiters are likely to search for.

    • Be concise: Keep your headline short and to the point.

    • Be creative: Use action words, power words, and attention-grabbing phrases to make your headline stand out.

    • Headlines like “3x Leader at Unicorns”.... Can be powerful and succinct

  • Experience:

    • Never have an experience without a logo… you can always create a company with a logo if it doesn’t exist or link to something fun

    • Since you are looking for a full-time job, We recommend NOT listing each advisory role as an experience - it will look like you aren’t focused on full-time work. Instead, put all advisory roles under a single item on LInkedIn (here is our favorite)

    • Be really thoughtful about the top experiences “above the fold”. You want the key elements of your career story front and center. While they will always show by date, you can merge/delete/don’t show things that will push your key experiences “below the fold”

    • Put quantitative results where you can. On LinkedIn you can have more swagger and fun with the impact you drove but put numbers!

    • As you get older, feel free to pull off your very early experiences. Nobody needs to see you worked at a movie rental store.

  • About (Description):  Have a punchy description that engages people in the first person (3rd person is creepy:). Use stories to engage people who visit your profile. A simple approach is to use the “Value I Drive” content from your 1 pager. Also add a few side passions to give yourself some personality / provide hooks for people to engage with.

  • Recommendations: Asking for recommendations on LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase your skills and expertise to potential employers and recruiters. Try to have everyone I would give as a reference to also add a reference on LinkedIn. It is a great way to warm up references and reconnect by saying “I’m about to look for the next role, I wanted to ask if you would be a reference (and also share one on LinkedIn)”.

  • Open to Work: Turn on LinkedIn “available for hiring mode” to appear on recruiters radars. This is especially effective if you are in a role similar to the one you are searching for. It can yield a lot of inbound opportunities. Note: We don’t suggest to make “Open to Work” visible for all on your LinkedIn profile. From convos with recruiters / execs, “it can appear desperate”

If you have a strong network, have worked at good companies and have had success - you will never "look" for a job or need a banner. If you don't have those things, you need the banner and all the help possible. Michael King, Executive Recruiter  
  • Dates: Feel free to remove dates from education if you don’t want to state your age

  • Skills:  There is debate on whether to include them. Generally I advise against for senior roles

    • Positives: They make you search-optimized for recruiters

    • Negatives: They make you appear focused on skills rather than strategy which many senior people are looking for. They can clutter up the story you are trying to tell

  • Custom URL:  You can customize the URL of your profile. This looks better on your resume / email signature. You can find it by going to your profile and clicking “Contact Info” (located right below your photo)

Other LinkedIn strategies

  • To Post / Not to Post That you are looking on LinkedIn?: For junior roles, we love posts that share that they are searching. But for more senior people, recruiters/hiring managers have shared they see it as a negative.

  • Content: Content can add more depth to your LinkedIn profile. See this article on the power of writing.

Do you know how to find your next role?


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