LinkedIn, what a magical platform, filled with corporate insanity. But even if you don’t like the platform it’s important to use it correctly today if you want to maximize your chances of getting a job.
So I want to talk about how to make a great LinkedIn profile and increase your success with the platform as a job seeker.
An important reason for making a LinkedIn profile for this is because LinkedIn is basically mandatory today and everyone looking to employ you will check it out, and people expect you to have it only your resume.
Additionally, we also want to maximize the exposure of ourselves through Google and LinkedIn search so we can attract quality recruiters and potential employers, and for that we need a great profile designed for search engines. And to do that we need to do something called search engine optimization, so we’ll talk about that also.
So what is the strategy to success on LinkedIn?
– Get the highest visibility in the LinkedIn search algorithm
– Maximize the amount of quality traffic in the form of great recruiters that cares about what you want to do and potential employers
– We show these people relevant and impressive information about ourselves so that they become interested in us
– Minimize the impact of crappy, spammy recruiters. You might have experienced those
I’ll be honest, I’ve had very little use of LinkedIn, because I got my jobs through personal contacts. But even if you’re like me it’s basically mandatory to include your LinkedIn in your resume, and since everyone will look at it and it’s an extension of your professional image it’s a priority for it to be top notch.
You want your profile to be as high quality as possible, in the eyes of the LinkedIn algorithm. This will help quality recruiters to find you and
recommend you to employers, and employers will be impressed with your profile, and you’ll get the job you want, and everyone will hopefully be happy.
If it only was that easy 😉
One of the main things you accomplish really is to get this All Star thing on your profile and you’ll show up more in search results – which convert it into page views – which converts into more chances of landing a job. You get this star by having a lot of contacts, filling out a lot of information and having a lot of views on your profile.
You also want Career interests to be On, if you want more visibility.
Let’s check out our profile settings. You want your URL to be your name, if possible, as exact matches are very highly ranked on search engines.
To begin with, be sure that your profile is Public, so that it’s visible in Google, to get the most exposure.
To get a good ranking and make a great impression you should try to fill out as much information as possible, however there’s a few key important factors.
Have a nice picture and a banner, it’s an important first impression, and this is the first thing people see in search results, and will convert to clicks.
Then contact information (Don’t do phone number. Recruiters will call you with irrelevant crap. Email is more useful – because recruiters can mail all what they actually want to say and you can read it later). Email is a wonderful technology, phones are not, in my experience.
Have the usual stuff here, GitHub, resume, stack overflow, personal website etc, try to link as many things as possible. People really like to see what you’ve done. It’s very important to drive traffic to your other accomplishments since LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to describe code or projects and details. Quality recruiters will look at your GitHub or Stack Overflow for example and see what you’ve done.
It’s very important that you can show code and projects if you have little professional experience. It will greatly increase the confidence in the viewer that you are honest and competent in your skills.
Try to convert traffic to your actual resumé, put a link at the top if possible. Iny our resume you can show people exactly what you want them to see with your customized experience. And of course put the resumé into contact information.
In the description it’s also important to write how you can help others, how you can provide value to the employer reading it. They need to visualize you as an asset to their company. This will make them remember and associate you with something to be desired.
People generally don’t want to read about your interests sadly, but they really want to hear about how you can help them with their interests. How you can do the specific things they want to accomplish. So I have written some broad and generic things about what I can do for others with my skills, and you should do the same.
Use action verbs and keywords, like IoT, .NET, Big Data etc. You can google action verbs and get a good idea of what to write. Look up SEO (search engine optimization) to get more information. This will greatly increase your exposure on the search engines.
Then you outline a bit of details of what skills you want to highlight, because LinkedIn does a pretty terrible job of showing these.
On to experience.
On your resumé you might not want to fill out all your experience, just the really relevant parts, otherwise the document gets lengthy, but on LinkedIn more total work time looks good and means better LinkedIn ranking, so fill as much as possible here.
A big criticism of mine here is that LinkedIn forces you to display dates, which I dislike due to the fact that lack of experience can be used as an argument to lower your pay. Our skill and value to a company depends more on the person, not the amount of time worked, but this discussion is outside the context of this video, so let’s continue.
Be sure to have a link to the company.
Education, certifications, very important if you got these. Many recruiters expect you to have a formal education.
You should remove the date of education because it’s a hint towards your age and can make people become biased towards your age, either young or old. As I said before, age has little to do with your skill – there are no upsides to display it.
Something that LinkedIn recently introduced is Assessment. From what I’ve tried the difficulty is mostly targeted to junior developers, so it doesn’t hurt to get it if it’s available, since it’s a mini certification and is an objective proof of your skill. This seems to be a very good idea to do if you want to stand out , it’s one of the most useful things LinkedIn has made I think.
Most likely LinkedIn will take into consideration how many assessments you’ve completed to show you in search results. And most likely recruiters can filter for people that has completed assessments, however I’m not sure about that.
On to endorsements.
The issue with endorsements is that it’s basically a metric of how many people you’ve nudged to endorse you. I don’t find this metric valuable, it’s basically a metric showing your social influence more than anything else, however people glancing over it might find it impressive with some high numbers. And that is a good thing of course. So if you want to play LinkedIn game you should try to get it very high.
A basic advice here is that people will be a lot more inclined to give you endorsements if you give them some first. *wink*
On to recommendations.
I started out with having linked my letters of recommendation which contained some personal information about my previous employers etc, but I removed these because it was a bad idea was abused by recruiters. Recruiters started calling the guys who recommended me and that was totally unacceptable. Now I only provide references on very specific requests. Don’t repeat my silly mistakes. Oh god.
So what you can do instead is to use the LinkedIn recommendation system which is actually pretty good.
If you really want to have something like letters of recommendation just get a recommendation through LinkedIn like Fredrik did for me here.
Do check Fredrik out and what he’s doing, he’s possibly the best and most inspiring programmer I’ve ever met and I’m really happy to have his recommendation.
I havn’t put a lot of work into this system but it’s there if you think it’s useful, which it is if you want exposure. A good idea is to write recommendations to others and they will be very glad to reciprocate.
Important to have English here if you want to attract international traffic.
Projects with code are very important.
And that’s about it for the profile.
In other tips, it can be very useful to try to directly connect and message a manager or similar person of influence in a company you want to work at, so that they get a face on you and a personal interaction and you’re showing that you’re especially interested.
But a problem with LinkedIn is that you can’t send messages to strangers without paying, unless you have a connection to them, and you can only connect to people that other people in your network is connected to. so 2 steps away maximum. So complete strangers you just can’t interact with really. So a practical solution to this is to just connect to as many people as possible and you’ll get a very broad net of people you can message, and hopefully the person you’re interested in won’t be far away. And this has helped me a lot actually.
I’ve connected to a lot of people lately and everyone who reads this is welcome to connect to me on LinkedIn. So thanks everyone. Let’s help each other.
Okay, to summarise
– Open your profile to Public
– Don’t have your phone number on display
– Fill out as much info as possible, avoid info that crappy recruiters abuse
– Get action verbs and SEO in your description
– Link your resume in the description
– Do assessments
– Get endorsements and recommendations
– Connect to everyone