Job Search Tip of the Week #2 (2017)


Preparing for Your New Year, New Career

Part II: How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile as a Technology Professional

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LinkedIn recently announced that it’d reached approximately 467 million users worldwide, with approximately two people joining every second. The majority of LinkedIn users work in the Software and Information Technology and Services sectors, which means that there are millions of people who could help you find your next career opportunity. Are you maximizing the potential of your LinkedIn profile? Let’s find out!

Log into your LinkedIn and check out the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” module, which displays the number of times your profile has been viewed (and, unless you’re a LinkedIn Premium member, a limited list of by whom) and the number of times your profile has recently appeared in search results.

Are you not yet connected to any of your profile viewers?  Are any of these people “lurkers” (i.e., aren’t connected to you and sent you neither a message nor an invitation to connect)? Are you (even a little) disappointed with how often you’ve shown up in search results?

If you responded “yes” to any of the aforementioned questions, your LinkedIn profile needs some love.

Last week we discussed a behavioral analysis study that utilized eye-tracking technology to follow and record what recruiters looked at and for how long when reviewing job candidates’ applications. Regarding online profiles, the study observed that internal corporate recruiters and human resource professionals rarely scrolled down the webpage and instead spent most of their time processing information that appeared flush-left in the first-half of the screen. In addition, they spent an average of 19% of their total time spent reviewing the LinkedIn profile, fixating on visual elements such as pictures and advertisements.

The takeaway from these findings is nearly identical to that of last week: An organized and concise profile makes for an “easier read” and gives recruiters more time to discover additional information about you that’ll convince them you’re a good fit for the position.

5 recommendations for how to best leverage and maximize your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Change your profile picture visibility so that in addition to users you message, it’s visible only to your connections.

    Doing so will put the focus on more pertinent information such as your skills, experience, and accomplishments, rather than your physical appearance. Allowing your profile picture to be visible by everyone invites discrimination issues based on your age, gender, and race. But eliminating your photo altogether will most likely hinder your networking activities. After all, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable connecting with, and more trustful of, a profile that has a face to the name rather than just text?

  2. Be specific about your location.

    Recruiters narrow their search results by location, so if you keep yours as “United States” you could be missing out on networking and job opportunities. If you are an active job seeker and wish to relocate, replace the current location in your profile with your desired one.

  3. Keep the summary section specific and brief.

    It should contain the same information the purpose statement and technical purview sections of your résumé do. Think along the lines of: [Current Position] at [Current Company] with expertise in [languages, frameworks, RDBMS, software tools, and operating systems you are proficient in or currently or have recently used]. Skilled at [developing…managing…solving…] in a [start-up? fast-paced? dynamic and challenging? Agile?] environment.

    Keep in mind that keyword placement is an art. You want to use keywords to attract people to your profile, but if you over do it, you’ll come across as spammy and unprofessional. Accurately represent yourself by selecting only those keywords that best reflect your skills and experience.

  4. Don’t copy and paste your résumé into the “Experience” section.

    Instead, focus on your most recent position and/or projects. Describe your responsibilities in depth – what work products have you contributed to? What features have you conceived and built using which technologies? Who uses them? Have you led a team, or a sprint or two? Quantify your accomplishments and impact whenever possible.

    In regards to the rest of your work history: consider omitting positions that are non-relevant to the one you’re seeking and those held more than 10 to 15 years ago. If you decide to include them, keep it brief with one or two sentences.

  5. Increase your search relevance and rank by doing more than including keywords in your profile.

    The key to being a successful networker is to be proactive. Checking who’s viewed your profile and message them, even if you are already connected. It’s a good opportunity to learn what’s new and offer your assistance if needed.

    Regardless of whether they work in your industry, connect. Who knows, that someone you connect with may know someone else (who may know someone else…) who can assist you in your job search! Before you message someone, take a look at their profile to see if you have any connections, groups, or interests in common that you can reference. People respond positively to personalization!

    Also, join LinkedIn groups that are related to your areas of expertise and interests, and follow pages that belong to companies at which you hope to attain employment and those that are major players in your industry. Your search relevance and rank is affected by your activity, so remember to publish posts and join discussions!

Remember: Optimize your LinkedIn profile and increase your online presence so that your more pertinent information such as your skills and experience shines through!

Sound Off: What are you doing on LinkedIn to better connect with other IT professionals and software developers?

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