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Candidates Can’t Afford an Uncontested Loss, How Your LinkedIn is Failing You and How to Fix it

Some are ringing in the new year unemployed as tech companies adjust to the current recession (yes we are using that word), leaving thousands on the job hunt. The last thing you need is an uncontested loss– losing before you have a chance to sell yourself. As a recruiting agency, we know the reality of a failed LinkedIn. In these cases, we spend seconds on your profile. Click. Scroll. Next.

To stand a fighting chance, your LinkedIn needs to reflect the best version of yourself. Here are four ways you can fix your LinkedIn (and some tips beyond just your profile) to be as scrappy as possible in the coming quarters and stand a chance against an uncontested loss.

#1 Update your profile picture & profile background

It’s clique advice, but few people lean in. Anything older than a year isn’t cutting it. As a recruiter, I can tell you a bad profile picture doesn’t dock you, but a good one propels. We remember candidates' names with good profile pictures. Make an impression.

High resolution, great lighting and personality make a memorable profile picture. We have access to great mobile phone technology so use it! Your face should take up between 60-70% of that precious real estate. Show some personality– whether that’s in the background, facial expression or shirt choice. Do not leave the background image on default. Use it to expand on yourself– your travels, a tagline, or company logo. In both your profile picture and background of the header, reveal something about yourself that’s indescribable.

#2 Keywords

Many candidates religiously update their resumes. This is great, but to stay competitive you should spend just as much time on your LinkedIn history, if not more. To do this, utilize keywords.

Think about what recruiters or companies need to find you. Most folks are too zoomed into their niche and job responsibilities that they take for granted what they do and who they do it for, resulting in missed opportunities. The things you assume people know about you are the exact things the algorithm needs to find you.

To fix this, write 20-50 words about each of the companies you’ve worked for. What are their niches and their vision? Include how their values align with yours. Describe in 75-100 words on your role, responsibilities and achievements in the time you worked there. You have about 5 to 10 seconds to make a first impression so selling yourself and your accomplishments is essential.

#3 Leave no questions

Within these short but concise descriptions or bullet points on your LinkedIn you should leave no questions about your career choices, internal achievements or training, or certifications you sought on your own.

Your summary should be an elevator pitch that can blow us away, not just about your work life but who you are as a person. Tell us how you are staying vigilant in the ever-changing business landscape, especially if you are in the job market. Just under your name (at the top of your profile) you may choose to add something about your role and what you do rather than just your title.

If you were hired for a start-up that was then acquired, explain that in a short sentence. If you were a little job hoppy, explain what happened. Were you recruited out, did the company fail to get funding, or did you move on due to mismanagement? (This will require you to be careful in your choice of words). You could say “decided to leave as the company no longer aligned with my values.” Hoppiness is a huge concern for businesses, explain yourself. If you took some time off from work, expand on those gaps and what you gained during that time. Either way, leave no question marks.

Finally, showcase your facts and figures. You’d be surprised how many candidates we speak to who don’t know their most recent numbers. In sales you should know your quota, % of quota, and largest deal, etc. Put these accolades in your profile– on the phone we can get granular about numbers.

#4 Stay engaged

Attend seminars, read the latest business, marketing or technology books in your field, listen to trending podcasts, follow YouTube channels that teach you something and get certificates for things in your field. Do not shy from flaunting your studies. Showcase your humanitarian efforts– your work with the animal shelter or your passion for giving blood every month. Share this on LinkedIn to showcase yourself and stay competitive.

Keep a keen social engagement with companies, business idols and fellow colleagues you admire. Follow the C-suits, VPs and managers of companies you want to work for and with. Comment on things they post. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to be seen and interact with the folks you want to work with.

Follow these four tips and ensure that you won’t lose an uncontested loss at a job just because you’ve failed to manage your LinkedIn properly. We encourage you to comment and share any feedback and keep this dialogue going.

Talent House is a direct placement search firm helping high-tech startup and growth companies with sales, marketing and other go-to-market and technical hiring needs. We’re happy to speak to you if you’re a hiring manager or CEO or a candidate that has questions and would like our help.

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