HIDDEN JOB MARKET SECRETS
If you haven’t received the memo, a complete LinkedIn profile is no longer optional. Plain and simple, it’s smart career management to create and complete all the fields and update at least every six months to indicate significant events like a major project assignment or completion, promotion, graduation, change in authority or responsibilities, publication, award, job change, relocation, training, relevant volunteer or community involvement, etc.
- Can’t my work just speak for itself?
- Isn’t it bad to boast and brag?
- Shouldn’t I spend time working, not writing about it?
Having an impressive LinkedIn profile doesn’t just unlock gates, it actively facilitates career growth through internal promotion or reassignment (not all former and current co-workers can be aware of your track record or know specifics about how you gained an outstanding reputation, but they may be scouting to add to their team.) Keeping your public persona up-to-date enables outside recruiters and hiring authorities to qualify you as a (passive) candidate and provide important data if they are interested in evaluating you on the QT after meeting in person, noticing you online or getting your name recommended.
In 2019, it’s mandatory that you make it possible for people to get an overview of your professional accomplishments and assess your credentials without encountering barriers that turn them off or drive them towards your competition. When you reduce your visibility, you run the very real risk that another person (who may be less capable but more savvy about marketing themselves) will be contacted and you’ll lose without knowing what didn’t happen. There is nothing to stop you from choosing when to acknowledge and pursue an inquiry or discourage interaction. Since there’s no crystal ball, why not protect your future self and leave your options open?
There are many articles online offering intelligent advice about constructing a first-rate LinkedIn profile. My contribution to this vast resource is directing strategy to design a customized online presence that clearly and compelling communicates who you are and what you do to improve access to unadvertised career opportunities in the hidden job market. Here are a few of my top tips to kick-off strategizing your online presence via LinkedIn.
- Magnify your reputation. Periodically post updates and articles showing your expertise. A reverse chronological history of employers and challenge-action-results is like an outline. Original content provides color, addresses the questions, “Why and How?” and encourages social interaction. By publishing original ideas or sharing valuable content, you are using inbound marketing to attract attention, build credibility and invite conversation that might convert a stranger into a potentially meaningful relationship. Voila, eliminate cold calling by enlarging your network.
- Be very selective about what you put in the “Headline” field where you often see a position or job title. Don’t repeat your company’s label. Labels imposed by companies don’t necessarily accurately reflect capabilities or actual responsibilities. Instead, use this space to describe who you are and what you do or want to do next. Every job title is not the same among different employers or different incumbents. Your professional skills belong to you and are transportable. You want your LinkedIn profile to be your personal poster board. For example, do not put “Vice President of Retail at Current Employer Name,” but create a phrase that reflects more of your whole career such as “Senior Store, B2C, D2C Executive: Trendy Women’s Accessories, Teen Fashion and Contemporary Home Furnishings.” Incorporate keywords (**Look online for instructions by entering “How to find keywords and maximize SEO on Linkedin” in the search box.
- Ask for and publish testimonials and recommendations. No more fussing with frayed printed letters that can get lost. LinkedIn provides a place to store all the great praise people have showered upon you. Include quotes that represent different facets of your personality related to your professional talent and personal character. Open a window for others to view your winning personality. Nothing shows competency like a good report from a member of your team or customer. A few kind words from a consultant tells people that not only do you have skills, but you can get along with others. Don’t be shy about requesting a recommendation and it’s okay to offer to draft the content for the poster to approve; you want to make it simple for people to help you. While it is considered spammy to exchange recommendations one for one. It is good to pay it forward by adopting the philosophy what-goes-round-comes-round. Step up and give recommendations without being asked.
While a resume is conceived as one-and-done for a while, LinkedIn is dynamic. The good news is you won’t have to worry again that you don’t have a current resume to respond to a request. Always you can refer to your unique LinkedIn URL and include this link in email signatures to further promote your brand. While a resume length is limited to 2 maybe 3 pages, your profile can span your entire career. To be most relevant at any given time, adjust the Summary section to focus attention where you want. For example, if you are switching industries or changing roles, you can draw dotted lines for the reader to help them envision a smooth transition. Your summary can serve the purpose of a cover letter and include biographical elements as well as capture career highlights. Writing in the first person is recommended and invites engagement. Be sure to allow your personality to come through. It’s okay and preferred that the Summary sound like you, not be composed in formal language. After all, you’ll be more comfortable with people who like your style and vice-versa. Be authentic. It’s safe to weed out bad matches from the get-go.
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