In Part 1 of our Livin’ La LinkedIn Loca series (see here) we went through the detail of how to flesh out your LinkedIn profile to give yourself an all-encompassing online makeover. In this part we’ll go through the “About” and “Skills” sections, which are the two sections that recruiters and employers hone in on. We’ll also give you a final few tips on how to really stand out from the crowd. So, to get the right attention for your profile, pay attention to the following!
So….what do I say?
A strong About statement is critical, as it’s essentially your elevator pitch. It is your opportunity to speak directly to the employer to convince them you are absolutely the right candidate for the role they’ve got.
Think hard about capturing the essence of your skills and experience and summarising them in a neat written snapshot. It’s basically the words version of your profile pic. So, think through your career to date, and work out the key three or four skills and qualities that really set you apart.
Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more…
Put yourself in the shoes of the employer you want to land. Think about what they are going to be looking for. What are the key skills and experience that the role you really want needs?
A good way to pick up on the latest lingo recruiters are searching for is to search on a range of jobs similar to the one you’d like to land. Pick out the common themes and keywords used in the job descriptions, and then reflect them back in your About statement.
So that’s the what – now how about the how?
Now how you convey those sought-after key skills and experience will vary with the role you’re looking for. Every word you use has to justify its existence, so cut the waffle and the jargon and get to the essence of who you are and what you offer.
If you’re at the executive end of the market, go with a more formal third person summation of your skills and expertise, and why they make you a valuable asset for anyone to have. You can stretch it out to anything up to 200 words or so, just make sure it’s crisp and cuts to the chase.
If you’re not quite at that end of your career yet, keep it a bit shorter, and get it to match the role you’re after. If you’re in a customer-oriented role, maybe show a bit more of your personality, and go first person. If you’re in a compliance role, think about being a bit less on the informal side and signal more of the steady, stable candidate inspiring quiet confidence.
Everyone is different, and the key is to make the tone and style of your “About” section suit both the you as you are, as well as addressing the next role you want.
Now closely tied to this section are the “Skills” you nominate, which brings me to my next point: skills and the dreaded ATS review.
Filling a thrilling skills section
The “Skills” section is the second most critical part of your profile.
A large number of recruiters and employers are now including an “easy apply” link to the jobs they advertise on LinkedIn. Handy, you think. Well, don’t be so hasty. There’s a more invidious reason: automatic skills matching to sift out the wannabes from the want-to-haves.
In addition to picking up on focused keywords in your About section, the “easy apply” link will use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to assess the skills you include and check them off against the recruiters list. If there’s a lack of alignment and you don’t score high enough, it’s the big round file for you. So, this is where you really need to work hard at matching the skills you put in your profile to the skills that recruiters have on that check list.
Keep it real
Now, obviously you can’t just add skills you don’t have. You’ll need to at least be able to back up the claims you make with examples (because you’ll be asked to). But be very careful to include all the ones you can demonstrate and also as many of the ones you see repeated throughout the jobs you have reviewed and want to apply for.
For tips on how to beat them at their own game when they’re after using automated software, the dreaded ATS, see our article about winning over Applicant Tracking Systems.
LinkedIn Premium insights
Another big way you can beat the automated gatekeepers is with LinkedIn Premium.
As with most things in life, if you pay that little bit extra, you get better service. If you’re serious about looking, think carefully about getting LinkedIn Premium. It allows you to silently tag your profile as “open” to recruiters. It also gives you “insights” into the roles you are suited for, and gives you a ranking of where you sit compared to the candidates (read the competition) who’ve applied for the role.
Most helpful of all, it tells you what skills you have that match what the recruiters are looking for in the role, so you can make sure you match them as closely as possible before applying. It all helps to get you over the ATS hurdle by knowing what they’re after.
And here’s one for the road…well a few for the road…
One final tip – LinkedIn lets you put up a background image behind your profile shot. Not many people go to the effort of doing that, but it will make all the difference and really make you stand out. For an example, go look at this profile and see what an impact it can have.
Also, remember – just like real estate, it’s all about location location location. Don’t put in your suburb, it’s far too limiting. Instead, include the main city or rural region that you are based in. Employers search on “Melbourne” not “Caulfield”, so unless you’re in horse racing, go with Melbourne.
And, a crucial tip – make sure you have the “notify my network of changes” set to “off” or you’ll flag to the world that you’re undergoing renovations. Unless you’ve recently left a role and want to be in the flashing lights, it may not be a message you want to signal to your current employer or network.
There is actually a lot more you can do with a LinkedIn profile if you take some time and concerted effort – things like adding in your volunteering roles, or your community involvement. It will all go towards painting the perfect portrait of you so that the prospective employer checking you out is left with the feeling they really must contact you to discuss their role.
Spend some time going through every section that LinkedIn has, and consider whether you need to put anything in that section. Once you’re done, sit back, and take a long hard objective look at your profile, and think about whether you’ve captured your best you.
In short, be your new employer, and see what you think about you through their eyes.
Help is at hand
If this all seems a little over the top to you, it isn’t. Employers are using LinkedIn more than ever to pre-screen and to search for potential employees. So, unless you’re in the game, you’re going to be left on the bench just taking the drinks tray out to the real players.
Alpha Resumes offers an in-depth resume writing service and LinkedIn preparation service that will prepare your personal branding suite and a professional online persona, so you can maximise your skills and experience and get noticed by those who are looking. Get in touch with us and we’ll leave you in a position where new employers will want to get in touch with you.