Once upon a time, you could reasonably expect to find decent job opportunities by searching through the classified ads of your city’s daily newspaper (yes, people did that). Today, not so much. Competition for jobs is fierce and access to information about specific employment opportunities is available to virtually anyone at any time via desktop, laptop, smartphone. These factors now force you to utilize more than the traditional job search tools if you want to advance your career.
To that end, social media is perhaps the most effective tool available to you. And LinkedIn is the social networking site (SNS) most recommended for professionals because it’s widely used by employers and recruiters alike. Developing and maintaining a complete LinkedIn profile is an essential component of any comprehensive job “availability” strategy. Why do we say “availability” rather than “search”? Because while you might not be actively seeking other employment, you certainly don’t want to limit your options by making it difficult for employers and recruiters to find you. Keeping an online profile visible to peers, colleagues, employers and industry in general is one way to keep your options open by making you visible to potential employers and the recruiters they engage.
There is a caveat, however: Although a current, vibrant LinkedIn profile is beneficial, you don’t want it to be so vibrant that it basically screams “pick me, pick me, I’m looking for another job!”, something not likely to impress your current employer. In addition, even if your present employer isn’t monitoring your social media activity, chances are that one or more of your colleagues are among your connections on LinkedIn (or friends on other SNS) and may, for whatever reason, not be shy about bringing your LinkedIn activity updates to the attention of your boss. Uh oh.
This creates a bit of a quandary, of course: How to make yourself more visible to recruiters on LinkedIn while keeping your availability a secret (Hint: it’s similar to the notion of “hiding in plain site”. Here’s how:
- Evaluate your LinkedIn profile. Is it complete? Is it current? Is it engaging? Now is a good time to update your profile or perhaps even scrap it and start over. You’ll set a new baseline for your online persona and subsequent changes/updates won’t seem quite out of the ordinary. Things to consider:
- Don’t just state your name and title. If the first words you write about yourself aren’t interesting, they may be the only words recruiters read.
- Make sure your summary isn’t stale.
- Update your skills list so that it accurately details what your actual skills are.
- Buzzwords have no buzz. “Results-driven”, “detail-oriented”, etc. We know what they mean, yet they really don’t mean anything; they are not, therefore, useful.
- Status updates or not? This is actually a bit tricky. If you don’t want LinkedIn to notify your connections each time you update your status, set your LinkedIn privacy settings accordingly. However, if you do…
- Just the facts ma’am, just the facts. Ensure that each update relates to professional accomplishments or activities, such as an article you’ve recently had published, a certification or license you’ve just received, or association you’ve joined. You want to inform. You want your update to be interesting, of relevance to your connections, especially those in your industry.
- Prune your groups. Get rid of ones you don’t participate in and replace them with new ones.
Want recruiters to notice you on LinkedIn? Then make your LinkedIn profile worth noticing.