Ok, I get it. Not everyone on LinkedIn is looking to be found nor are they networking to find a new job. However, if opportunity knocks at your door, it makes sense to at least see who is at the door. Whether you are exploring new career opportunities or not in 2017, may we recommend updating your LinkedIn profile in a way that makes you relevant for that “can’t miss” career opportunity? Start the new year by looking at your profile from the eyes of possible employers. One quick self-assessment question to ask would be – “What am I using as my professional headline?” “Does it describe what I do or what I can bring to a new employer?” Another mental exercise is to ask – “If I were a recruiter/new employer looking for me, could they find me?”
The professional headline used to describe yourself on your LinkedIn profile is of paramount importance, and often the difference between someone considering your profile or scrolling on by. IF you are seeking employment, DON’T make the mistake of some by using titles like these (Yes, these are actual titles seen on LinkedIn profiles):
- Energetic, happy, and a go-getter!
- Seeking Employment
- Currently Available
- Seeking New Career Opportunities
- I am currently available for a new opportunity!
- Looking for the next exciting career path.
- Looking for new opportunities
How ever it is worded, it is just not helpful. Why is this a bad idea? Many LinkedIn users hesitate to “click-through” and reveal their visit to your profile. Rather than know what you can do for them, they are left to guess – and likely won’t. You need to let them know how you can help them.
Your headline should always describe your position or talent in a succinct, direct way. Consider retooling your long title to start with a two or three word, more direct and general description of your work – followed by additional detail that is relevant. Also, recruiters will search by title and usually by “current title.” If I am looking for the best “widget maker” for a client, I will type exactly that phrase in current title. If you change your title to “now exploring new career opportunities”, you might be the best widget maker on the planet but I am not finding you in my search.
As you develop your headline, a tip to consider when branding yourself is the limit of the review pain. If you “hover” your cursor over a name on your LinkedIn feed, you will notice that only a small portion of a title is viewable. It requires a user to click through to a profile in order to get the whole story. This may initially sound like a good idea, but as mentioned before, they won’t click through to your page.
The First 40 – The first 40 characters of your headline are key. When a profile reviewer looks at your profile on a feed, highlighted will be 40 characters that should be fine-tuned to your value statement. As an example, a long headline like:
“Passion for Developing Forward Leaders | Adding value to People, Organizations, and Communities | Network Development Representative/XYZ Corporation” will only be viewed when highlighted as: “Passion for Developing Forward Leaders…”
See the problem? It doesn’t tell the viewer anything about who you are or what you bring to table. Make it easy for them, don’t make them guess. You will see a larger number of profile views – maybe the one that can change your career!
Tom King is an Executive Recruiter with Bell & Associates, Inc. He has brought exceptional career opportunities to top talent for more than 20 years.