Are recruiters ignoring you? Or worse, are they pitching you the same positions that you held years ago? Failing to optimize your profiles on professional networking sites can lower your chances of landing your dream job.
“When I take a look at the [online] profiles of the tech pros who aren’t hearing from recruiters, invariably they are nothing but an empty shell,” noted Laura Smith-Proulx, an executive résumé writer.
The first step to being found online by a dream company is to have a fully completed profile with a customized job title and URL. But effective profile optimization goes even beyond that: It’s part art, part science. Use the following techniques to grab the attention of recruiters.
Complete Key Sections
Complete the indexed sections to make sure your LinkedIn profile appears in searches and entices reviewers to click on your profile and read beyond the preview pane.
Placing certification initials after your name is a concise, effective way to communicate your qualifications and ensure that your profile matches recruiters’ complex or advanced searching criteria.
Your profile’s headline serves as a hook. It’s the first thing a recruiter sees when they quickly scan the search results on LinkedIn, so dare to be different, Smith-Proulx explained.
Your headline needs to be loaded with keywords, convey your unique value, and reflect the job you want, not the job you have. (By the way, your headline will default to your current job title on LinkedIn unless you change it.)
For instance, you can describe yourself as a robotic process automation enthusiast, or an A.I. or blockchain proponent, or perhaps a DevOps leader if you’re targeting a higher-level position that doesn’t fully align with your current experience, Smith-Proulx added. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some examples of catchy headlines.
Think of your summary as an “elevator pitch” or value proposition within the profile section, noted Abby Kelsey, social media manager for Parqa, a digital marketing agency that works with recruiting firms.
“Create a vision that will resonate with the reviewer and encourage them to read the rest of your profile by describing the problems you’ve solved, or the types of solutions or niche skills that you bring to the table,” Kelsey said. Essentially, you have about two lines to create a positive impression, so make them count.
Highlighting your most relevant technical and soft skills will greatly improve your profile’s “searchability” and ranking. In fact, profile views for LinkedIn members that list a large number of skills are four times higher than views for profiles without skills. You can list up to 50 skills and 99 endorsements, but the order you put them in matters.
Placing the most relevant and valuable skills near the top, and moving the others down, increases your chances of hearing about opportunities that actually match your current goals and interests.
The same advice applies to your repositories on GitHub. “Showcase the repositories that represent your latest skills and interests by pinning them to the top of your profile,” advised Mat Leonard, product lead for Udacity’s School of A.I. and an expert on GitHub optimization.
If you really want to demonstrate your prowess with a hot skill, or desire to enter an emerging field such as machine learning, blog about your side projects or major contributions to open source projects on Hacker Noon or Reddit. Then post those links on LinkedIn and GitHub, Leonard added.
Cross-referencing is a major sourcing method. Make it easy for recruiters to get to know you and your work by linking to your blog posts or conversations on social media and updating your activity weekly.
At the very least, you need to include a short description for each project or job that you list in your profile’s experience summary. Adding topics to your repositories on GitHub and keyword-rich titles and descriptions to projects can help recruiters locate your work.
Also, your current and former job titles are important keywords, so use alternate or hybrid titles (if necessary) to increase your profile’s searchability and marketability. (Example: Web Developer│UX Programmer │Web App Designer.)
Finally, include both the full and abbreviated name for the companies in your experience section, such as P&G and Proctor and Gamble.
Maximize your chances of being found by search-engine-optimizing your location, job title, company, and industry, and incorporating keywords into the content of your profile. Review several job postings and the summaries of professionals in your chosen field to develop a list of keywords, or use an online tool such as TagCrowd or JobScan to evaluate your profile’s SEO effectiveness.
“Optimizing your profiles to match the ways recruiters search for candidates can keep you from missing out on your next big career opportunity,” Kelsey said.