That title is a bit harsh right? But it's true. I look at dozens of bad profiles every day. In fact, when most people learn that I provide LinkedIn consulting they quickly look down at their feet and then tell me (while not making eye contact) how terrible their profile is. It's okay. we can fix this with a couple hours of hard word. We can set up a LinkedIn profile that passively attracts job opportunities and I can show you how to actively seek out the best jobs and move yourself to the front of the application list.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: THE BEST JOBS ARE NOT ADVERTISED.
I know this may come as a surprise to most of you. By the time a job hits a formal advertising platform it is a stale, desperate add. The person who placed the add has already spoken to their employees ( did a bad job of it) about the position and talked to one or more recruiters (which they also did a terrible job with). How many times have you seen a job description and thought "no one has those qualifications!" Welcome to the club. We have all read a job description and felt like we would be a great fit except for that one thing they are asking for. Guess what those companies are trying to find...
BUT MIKE! I'M NOT A UNICORN, WHAT CAN I DO?!
The answer is simple, make the connection before they go looking, be top of mind when people need to hire someone. Several years ago I was trying to make connections in a big name retail company here in Maryland. I tried several times to engage their Director of IT, but he ignored me (after all, I am, nothing more than an annoying sales person). Several months later that company was bought by a larger competitor and many people were laid off. Surprisingly enough, that Director of IT then sought me out on LinkedIn.... Why you may ask? Because he now needed a job, suddenly, I had some value to him. Here is my point, treat everyone you come in contact with as a human being, give them an entry level of respect and be honest & kind. You do not have to meet with and buy from every person that wants to meet you, but you should take a moment to acknowledge them and their request, after all, you never know when you may need their help for something.
PASSIVE ATTRACTION ON LINKEDIN
You need to make sure your profile is complete. When you enter "edit" mode of your LinkedIn profile it shows you all the sections you can add to your profile. You need to make sure your information is up to date.
Did you change jobs or your the role with a current employer?
Do you have additional certifications, degrees or other skills that need to be added to your profile?
Do you have a phone number and email listed?
Does your "interest" section reflect personal and professional interests?
When you describe your experience do you anchor it with specific dates like "since 1995" or is it vague like "for the last ten years?"
Is your headline filled with key words relevant to your industry and skill set? Or are you one of those "seasoned dynamic professionals?"
Last one, it seems I write about this one once a month. Is your profile picture recent ( in the last 3-5 years) and taken by a professional photographer? Or is it a selfie? Or worse! Maybe it is a family photo or one of you with your dog or from the company holiday party.
BE AGGRESSIVE B E AGGRESSIVE
When I say "aggressive" I don't mean tackle people and demand a job from them, instead here is a short list to find and get the job you really want.
1: Create a list of 5-10 companies you want to work for. Make sure their culture and mission statement fit what you want. Make sure they have an office where you want to live.
2: Research the person (on LinkedIn) who would be your boss at each company. And then contact your mutual connections with each of these potential managers. Tell them what you are doing and ask for their advice on the smartest way to contact each potential manager.
This step often brings up the question of "Mike, I don't have any mutual connections with them, what should I do?"
First, use my favorite ABC "Always Be Connecting." If that doesn't get you where you need to be, then look at their profile and look for common interests or other details that you can make a human connection on. Several years ago my manager gave me an article from a local newspaper and she told me to get a meeting with the man in the story. I love a challenge and this one, was a challenge. The man is question was (probably still is) a social media ghost. I could not find any information other than the article. That article handed me the nugget of gold I needed. It mentioned that he recently joined the board of directors for a local chamber Of commerce. I was certain a friend of mine (let's call him Bob) was also a board member. I did a quick review of his LinkedIn profile and found out I was right. Bob is a good friend, I asked for the introduction, got the meeting and eventually earned the right the make the ghost, a client.
OKAY, LET'S WRAP THIS UP
Take action today! Be sure to update your profile and build your list of companies you want to work for.
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