LinkedIn SEO: how to optimise your profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to SEO optimise your Linked profileHave you ever wondered how to get more eyes on your LinkedIn profile? Enhancing it for SEO (search engine optimisation) is one of the most effective things you can do. SEO – in relation to LinkedIn – refers to the way you write and use your profile to increase its ranking in a search and therefore its visibility. The higher your profile is ranked when someone searches for a particular term, the more views your profile is likely to get.

There are many factors that affect your SEO and visibility, including LinkedIn’s ranking process. Like most search engines, LinkedIn uses algorithms to select and order the results provided when someone searches something. Each LinkedIn user is given a unique relevance score based on various factors to determine the order in which profiles are ranked. These algorithms and factors are complex and kept secret by LinkedIn.

However, there are many things you can do. Other factors that influence your ranking and visibility include keywords, profile completeness, user activity, number of connections, content relevance, endorsements, recommendations and your relevance/relationship to the person searching.

To optimise your profile so more people view it, try focusing on these areas:

  • Keywords: Come up with a list of words or terms that a recruiter looking for someone like you might use when searching – for example, ‘project management’ or ‘software development’. Then use these keywords throughout your profile in as many sections as possible, including your headline, role descriptions and Skills & Endorsements. In the Skills & Endorsements section, LinkedIn prioritises skills already in its database, so when adding a new skill, start typing it, then select the most relevant suggestion that appears.
  • Headline: Customising your heading is not only critical for SEO, it’s also an important part of your personal brand. LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your current or most recent position – however, you have the option to customise it. We always recommend doing so, as well as using all 120 characters available to create an informative and impactful snapshot of yourself. For example, a profile’s ‘automatic’ headline might read “CEO at ABC Company”. But a better option is to customise it to something like: “Senior Leader & CEO ♦ Technology Sales/Operations ♦ Transformational Change ♦ Business Turnaround Expert”. The second headline is much more descriptive and impactful, and helps to build a strong personal brand.
  • Profile completeness: If your profile isn’t 100% complete, try to fill out every section with clear and concise information that includes your keywords. Consider using bullet points rather than paragraphs, and format the text so it’s easy to read. Using up all the character limits in sections can also help improve your SEO. Use LinkedIn’s automated guidance to help improve your profile – it prompts you to add to incomplete sections. Broaden your network with quality connections – think superiors, colleagues, clients and customers. The more connections you have, the better chance you have of being found, but it helps to focus on quality over quantity.
  • Job title optimisation. Including keywords in your job titles assists with SEO. Ensure they are optimised for the roles you are seeking and they accurately reflect what you did. If a title doesn’t properly reflect the role, consider tweaking it so that it does.
  • Vanity URL. LinkedIn allows you to personalise your URL, changing it from the automated URL, which is usually quite long and contains a random assortment of numbers. Taking advantage of this feature can make it easier for people who know you to find you. You can also more easily add it to your email signature, business cards and other marketing material.
  • Group Participation. Joining, and actively participating in, groups may improve your profile’s visibility, while also helping to expand your network with like-minded people. Here’s a bonus tip: choose groups relevant to your keywords. They appear publicly on your profile, so your keyword usage increases. Join local groups but also seek out national or international groups. These can help increase your ranking as well as showcasing your successes and the value you’ve created. Don’t be shy – ask colleagues, superiors, customers, etc. for recommendations on work you have done in the past. If you feel uncomfortable asking, you could offer to write one for them and ask them to return the favour.
  • Photo. Profiles with photos are viewed significantly more than those without. Include a clear, good-quality photo of yourself taken against a white or plain background. You ideally want to show head and shoulders and be dressed in professional attire. Read our previous article for tips on how to get a professional head-shot without hiring a photographer.
  • Anchor text links. Where you include a website address, you can customise the ‘anchor’ or ‘search’ text to a title that makes more sense – for example, your personal blog might be called ‘xyz.com.au’ but you could change the anchor text to ‘CEO Advice Centre’. Again, this is an opportunity to include your keywords.

Follow these simple tips for optimising your profile and watch your activity rise. LinkedIn has a feature that lets you see who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days and allows you to access trends and insights – so use this to monitor your success.

Do you need to strengthen your LinkedIn profile so you can get more views – and more opportunities? We can help you develop a professional, keyword-optimised profile that sets you apart from your competitors. Learn more about our LinkedIn Profile Writing Service.

13 things you’re doing wrong on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

13 things you're doing wrong on LinkedInLinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 575 million users. It’s become an indispensable tool for recruiters, which means your profile is often the first impression a recruiter gets of you. Does your profile help you put your best foot forward? There are many ways to get it right – and many ways to get it not so right.

Here are the most common mistakes we see and how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1 – No profile picture: LinkedIn says that profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without one. And a professional-looking photo makes a big difference. For tips on how to get a great-quality photo without paying a pro photographer, read our previous article on getting a professional headshot. Just remember: no dogs, babies, partners or party shots!

Mistake 2 – Not customising your headline: LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your current or most recent position, but you can, and should, customise it. We recommend using all 120 characters available to create an informative and impactful snapshot of yourself. This is an important part of building your personal brand.

Mistake 3 – Skipping the summary: This is one of the most common areas we see clients overlook, but this is a wasted opportunity. Use it to provide an overview of who you are, who you help, what you specialise in and what you’ve achieved, using short, sharp wording broken up with subheadings and bullet points. Optimise your summary using keywords related to the roles you’re seeking.

Mistake 4 – Not making it consistent with your resume: LinkedIn should not be a cut-and-paste of your resume, but the two should align. While LinkedIn is more personal, less formal and may contain additional information, make sure your roles, dates and qualifications match up.

Mistake 5 – Forgetting to customise your LinkedIn URL: When you set up your profile, you’re automatically assigned a long combination of random letters and numbers as a unique URL. Take advantage of the ‘vanity URL’ option and customise your URL to reflect your first and last names or your business name (if you’re a business owner).

Mistake 6 – Not having recommendations: Recommendations are the easiest way to show credibility. They’re the modern-day version of a written reference, so spend some time requesting them. Approach appropriate 1st level contacts and ask them if they’ll write you a recommendation, specifying what you’re after or what you’d like highlighted. Be specific and most people will oblige. If you’re finding it hard to ask for a recommendation, offer to write one for somebody you’ve worked with and ask them to return the favour.

Mistake 7 – Sending random or non-personalised connection requests: While it’s not essential to restrict your networking to people you know well, you should always provide context when sending a connection request. For example, if you know the person, ask them about their business or personal life; if you’ve met the person briefly, remind them how you met; and if you’ve never met, do some research and tailor your request to explain why you’d like to connect.

Mistake 8 – Not building connections: Many employers place high value on a candidate’s connections. In many roles, you might be hired because you know certain people in your industry. You might be amazed at just how many people you know on LinkedIn. Seek them out and connect with them. You should be constantly building your network, adding contacts and accepting connection requests.

Mistake 9 – Not using web-friendly content: To improve readability and highlight important points, use bullet points and subheadings in relevant sections, including your summary and experience. Consider adjusting the order of your experience, skills, education etc. to suit your target role or industry. Be sure to use keywords and phrases specific to the position(s) you’re seeking throughout your profile.

Mistake 10 – Having an incomplete profile: Completing your profile not only helps more recruiters find you, it also sends a great message about your professionalism to people viewing your profile. In addition, it provides more networking opportunities. Complete as many sections as possible to achieve an ‘All-Star’ level.

Mistake 11 – Not including supporting information: LinkedIn lets you link to blogs, websites, presentations, projects etc. where people can learn more about you and your professional achievements. Including this supporting information will help strengthen your profile.

Mistake 12 – Not making it easy for people to contact you: LinkedIn is all about engaging with people. Invite people to connect or to contact you for advice if relevant. Including some personal information like volunteer work can also encourage like-minded people to connect with you. Take some time to learn about privacy settings to ensure you’re happy with how others see your profile, activities, and network information. Set preferences regarding job seeking, including letting recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.

Mistake 13 – Not responding professionally: Not responding to emails and connection requests in a timely manner looks unprofessional. Likewise, making judgements about people’s motives could be a mistake. Try to treat any enquiries or connection requests in the same way you would treat a business or sales enquiry. You don’t want to waste time obviously, but try not to ignore people you initially perceive as not able to add value.

LinkedIn is a fantastic professional networking tool with many features and benefits that you may not be taking advantage of. Optimise your profile using our tips above and you may be surprised by the results.

Do you need a stronger LinkedIn profile to help you connect with like-minded industry experts or boost your job search? We can help you develop a professional, keyword-optimised profile that sets you apart from your competitors. Learn more about our LinkedIn Profile Writing Service.

4 tips to supercharge your LinkedIn profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

The world’s largest professional networking platform is constantly evolving and has become a critical part of any successful career plan. These days, many employers use LinkedIn to find the right candidates. Whether you’re searching for a new role, developing your career while in a stable position, or working for yourself as a consultant or business owner, using LinkedIn effectively can give you an edge.

If you already have a LinkedIn profile, there are several ways to update it to improve your overall presence. Many of these tips are very quick to implement but could make a huge difference to your profile and presence. Here’s how to optimise your profile and help give your career a boost.

Tip 1: Boost your visibility by optimising for SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves using keywords and other techniques to optimise online content to improve its search ranking. When ranking profiles in a search, LinkedIn considers several factors, including how often a keyword appears. With more and more recruiters using LinkedIn to source candidates by conducting keyword searches, having a keyword-optimised profile will help you rank higher.

We recommend first identifying keywords that recruiters may search to find candidates like you. Use these throughout your profile in as many sections as possible. For example, in the ‘Skills and Endorsements’ section, prioritise skills that already exist in LinkedIn’s database by starting to type a skill, then selecting one of the relevant suggestions that appears. List up to 50 skills and change the order by dragging them up and down. Using up all the character limits in various sections may also help improve your profile’s ranking.

Tip 2: Understand and articulate your value

Your ‘Headline’ and ‘Summary’ are high-visibility sections that allow you to communicate your value as a professional and what you have to offer. These sections also contribute to your ranking. Your headline automatically defaults to your most recent (or current) job title, but this might not capture the value you could provide in a future role, so it’s best to create a customised headline. Change it by clicking the ‘edit’ button next to the headline.

You should also avoid simply replicating the content in your resume. LinkedIn is a form of social media, so we recommend injecting some personality (while remaining professional, of course). The best place to do that is your summary. Create a clear picture of you and your ‘personal brand’, state what you’re passionate about, showcase your success and highlight what makes you stand out as a candidate. Write it in a way that’s warm and conversational – not too formal or stuffy.

Tip 3: Look to the future

An exact description of your past experience may not be reflective of where you’re wanting to head. We often talk to clients about using LinkedIn to create impact and interest for the job you’d like in the future – not necessarily for the job you have right now. This is especially true when crafting your headline and summary, but also when detailing your employment history.

Rather than simply listing your title, responsibilities and achievements, use up the available 2,000 characters to add keywords to improve your rankings (as discussed in Tip 1). Include transferrable skills and talk about experiences and successes in a way that highlights your potential for the types of roles you’re hoping to secure in the future.

Tip 4: Add value and engage

One of the great things about LinkedIn is the ability to share content. This includes sharing content such as articles that are relevant and valuable to your network, as well as adding links to projects you’ve worked on or successes you’ve had. Since each profile edit and update you make can get broadcast to your entire network (check your settings to enable this), you’ll constantly be top of mind.

When sharing content, you can either create your own or share other people’s content. Think about things like videos, presentations, publications and articles, and use them as opportunities to interact with others and have conversations. Ask questions and answer questions. Increase engagement with your network and you should start to see positive results.

If you’re using LinkedIn to find a new role or build your career, updating your profile will increase your chances of success. Stand out from other professionals by highlighting the value you offer. Optimise your profile to increase your rankings, inject some personality, look to the future and engage with your network. At the end of the day, it’s a social media network – the more active you are, the more you’ll get out of it. 

If you’d like help developing a professional, keyword-optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and helps you stand out from the crowd, take a look at our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

How to use LinkedIn to find a job

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to use LinkedIn to find a jobIt’s no secret that LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional network, with over 562 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. In the Asia Pacific region alone, membership is now well over 100 million, and we know that most recruiters use the platform to find and/or screen candidates. So how can you leverage the power of LinkedIn to find a job?

If you’re searching for a new role, optimising your LinkedIn profile and taking advantage of the additional tools can be a powerful step. Here are our top tips for making the most of LinkedIn:

  • Search LinkedIn Jobs: Browse the LinkedIn Jobs section to find relevant roles and use filters to refine your search. Create a search alert so you’re notified every time a job that meets your criteria is posted.
  • Update your career interests: Let LinkedIn know you’re seeking work and share your career goals. You can specify the types of companies and roles you’re interested in, so recruiters can match your interests and background to available roles. Your career interests will be shared with recruiters for 180 days before being automatically turned off, but you can manually change this to continue sharing. Find ‘Career Interests’ in the ‘Jobs’ tab at the very top of your profile.
  • Keep your profile up to date: A complete profile will strengthen your image, increase your visibility and bring you more networking opportunities. Complete as many sections as possible to achieve the ‘All Star’ level indicated by the profile strength metre under your summary when viewing your profile. Include everything that’s relevant to the roles you’re seeking, with a focus on your recent experience.
  • Customise your headline: When users search for people with certain attributes, they only see their photo, name and headline. Your headline automatically defaults to your current (or most recent) job title, but you can – and should – customise it to ensure you stand out. Change your headline to encapsulate what you do, the value you offer or the type of roles you’re seeking. Simply click the ‘edit’ button next to the headline (and try to use all 120 available characters).
  • Upload a photo: A photo makes your profile more likely to be viewed. It’s the first thing people see when they’re browsing, and if you don’t have a photo you’re missing out on opportunities. A professional shot is great but not essential – just don’t use a cropped photo from a social situation or an obvious ‘selfie’. Get someone to take a clear head-and-shoulders photo against a white or plain background, and wear something professional. Don’t forget to smile! For more on getting the perfect picture, read our recent article on DIY-ing a professional headshot.
  • Include a summary: Your summary (the overview section at the top of your profile) contributes to your LinkedIn ranking and is one of the first things people read. Use yours to create a concise snapshot of you and your ‘brand’. Describe your background, experience and skills in a way that demonstrates your potential for your target roles.
  • Add a comprehensive list of skills: Your Skills & Endorsements section also helps build your brand and improve your ranking. Select skills that already exist in LinkedIn’s database by starting to type a skill, and LinkedIn will make relevant suggestions. To boost your chances of getting the job you want, don’t leave anything out – you can list up to 50 skills and change the order by dragging up and down.
  • Get recommendations and endorsements: These are invaluable and boost your profile’s strength and personality. Try to get recommendations for each role and include superiors, clients and colleagues since this will boost your credibility.
  • Make your content web friendly: Aim for short paragraphs and concise sentences. To improve readability, use bullet points and subheadings. Consider adjusting the order that things appear within each section to suit your target role or industry.
  • Be active: Share content regularly, making sure it’s relevant, authentic and valuable to your network. It might include articles, blog posts and quotes. Interact with other people and get involved in groups (click ‘My Network’ in the top menu and you’ll see your groups listed in the left-hand sidebar; use the search bar in the top left to search for new groups). The more you interact and post as a professional, the more you’ll get noticed and build recognition.
  • Build your network: Connections help you increase your own exposure and access others. They also allow you to keep track of industry trends and news and create more opportunities for introductions.
  • Research companies you’re interested in: Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for and follow them on LinkedIn. This will help you stay up to date on company news and new positions. Identify which of your connections are associated with the companies. Reach out to them for advice, support or an introduction to HR.
  • Research your recruiter: Before an interview, use LinkedIn to research the interviewer – whether they’re internal or external to the company you want to work with. Use that knowledge during the interview to demonstrate you’ve done your homework.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for finding and securing the job you want. But it takes a bit of effort to get it right. Take a look at some of the top profiles in your industry for inspiration, and spend time getting to know LinkedIn so you can make the most of its tools. Your dream job could be waiting for you!

If you’d like help developing or optimising your LinkedIn profile so you stand out from the crowd, take a look at our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

 

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next job

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next jobApplying for a job these days usually involves sending your resume electronically, which may then be processed using an applicant tracking system. Recruiters and organisations are also increasingly using LinkedIn to recruit. This means that using keywords is an essential part of getting your application seen and demonstrating that you’re the best person for the role. Here’s how to identify the right keywords and use them effectively so you can get the job you want.

A high percentage of resumes are now scanned using applicant tracking systems (ATS), which means your resume may not even be seen by human eyes – unless it makes it through the initial round of scanning. More organisations are also using LinkedIn to find candidates. That means you need to use the right keywords in your resume, online profile and other content if you want your application to be seen.

A keyword is simply a specific word, set of words or phrase that relates to or describes a job, skill or experience. They can be general or specific – for example, ‘general manager’, ‘administrative assistant’, ‘report writing skills’ and ‘agile software development’ are keywords that a recruiter might use to search for candidates.

Regardless of the job you’re applying for, there are some common principles for selecting and using keywords effectively. Here are our top tips.

  • Your name: Use your full name and ensure your online profile is consistent with your resume and other application documents. For example, if your resume says Greg Smith but your LinkedIn profile says Gregory C Smith, you’ve made it difficult for a recruiter to connect the two. There’s no need to include your full birth name if that’s not your preferred name. While we don’t recommend using nicknames, we do advise shortening (for example, Christopher to Chris) if that’s how you’re known in the workplace.
  • Job title: Recruiters need candidates with experience that matches the role requirements. To get noticed, you should include your target job title. This doesn’t mean deceptively changing previous job titles, but simply tweaking title(s) to better describe what you did. With many of today’s organisations opting for more ‘interesting’ titles for employees, it can result in the title not necessarily articulating what you do (think ‘Director of First Impressions’ versus ‘Receptionist’). A good solution can be to use a slash to include two titles – for example, ‘Receptionist / Director of First Impressions’ or ‘Senior Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant’. This will help you get found regardless of which title is being searched.
  • Qualifications: Include relevant education, licences and certifications with the organisation that conducted the training as well as the year you completed it. Always include study you’re currently undertaking (with an estimated completion date/year). And translate difficult-to-understand qualifications (or those gained overseas) into the commonly understood equivalent. There’s no need to include high school qualifications unless you’re a recent graduate with no other training or education.
  • Skills: Include a succinct list of relevant skills and capabilities focused on those most frequently mentioned in the job ad. You should create a section in your resume called ‘Key skills and capabilities’ or similar, which could include up to 15 individual skills, if necessary. This helps a recruiter to match your strengths with the right opportunity. And it’s just as important for your online profile as your resume. According to LinkedIn, members with five or more skills listed are contacted (messaged) up to 33 times more by recruiters than other LinkedIn members, and receive up to 17 times more profile views.
  • Location: Many recruiters check your location so it’s important to include a city and state on your resume. If you’re searching for a new role in another state, you could say ‘relocating to Queensland in June’ or something similar. It’s also important to include your location on your LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn, more than 30% of recruiters will use advanced search based on location, so omitting it will reduce your chances of being found.
  • Industry: Be sure to use commonly used keywords in your industry, such as ‘sales’, ‘marketing’, ‘information technology’ and ‘customer service’ to describe your field and area(s) of expertise. For LinkedIn, select an industry and sub-classification from the ‘Edit Intro’ section to better define your focus.
  • Seniority: If it’s not clear from your job titles, use words such as ‘graduate’, ‘mid-level’, ‘senior’, ‘executive’ or ‘C Suite’ to show the level of seniority of past roles you’ve held or people you’ve dealt with.
  • Legislation and regulations: Many roles require an in-depth understanding of, or experience interpreting and applying, laws or regulations. If that’s the case for your role, include the names of these laws, acts, regulations and codes of conduct on your resume, including shortened and extended versions if possible. Including memberships of industry groups and specific licences can also demonstrate in-depth understanding of a specific area and provides another way to include relevant keywords.
  • Jargon: Include industry jargon and technical terms that are relevant and appropriate to your expertise and future goals. This includes acronyms, with the full description in brackets the first time they appear, so both versions are included.

When preparing your application and online profile, think like a recruiter filling the job you want. How is that job described in job ads? What skills, capabilities, qualifications and tools are required? Decide on your keywords based on the categories we’ve listed above. Then incorporate those keywords logically into your content.

Avoid madly listing or repeating keywords – this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and applicant tracking systems can easily recognise it and may reject your application. But get your keywords right and you’ll be well on your way to your next great job.

Would you like help preparing a top-quality job application or LinkedIn profile that focuses on the right keywords? Our experienced writers can help you create a professional resume and LinkedIn profile designed to make employers sit up and take notice. To find out more, read about our Services.

 

 

How to get a professional headshot today

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to get a professional headshot todayIf you think you don’t need a professional headshot in your line of work, think again. We regularly view professional social media and other profiles that include blurry or inappropriate photos, or even no photo at all. This situation directly impacts whether or not someone decides to reach out to you.

According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos are far more likely to receive connection requests than those without. I’ve also read countless articles that point to profiles with photos being viewed up to seven times more by potential contacts or recruiters than those without a photo.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, we’ve put together some tips on how to achieve a professional result with no budget at all:

  • Enlist a friend or family member to help who is good at taking photos – preferably someone with a camera but a late model phone will also do. Avoid taking a selfie!
  • Put on some professional attire – whatever you’d wear to work is best – and make sure you’re well groomed. We’re taking a head and shoulders shot so don’t worry too much about what you’re wearing below the waist. Make sure you wear a different colour to the background to create a good contrast. For example, if the background is white, avoid wearing a white top or shirt.
  • Find a plain background with great natural lighting – use the natural light from a window for indoor shots, however, avoid standing directly in front of a window or anything too busy. Try different rooms to see which area works best.
  • Stand just far enough away – making sure your face is level with the camera so it’s not shooting up your nose, or down from above. It should be far enough away so that your head and top of shoulders are included in the shot. You don’t want your face filling the whole frame.
  • Smile and go for it – take lots of photos so you can pick the best shot. Try to look natural, open and friendly. Smiling photos are best so as to avoid the ‘mug shot’ look. In my experience, most people hate having their photo taken so my only advice is to stand in front of that camera, look directly at it and smile – then have your friend take lots of photos.
  • Pick the best one – save it and use it for all your work-related profiles and bios.

Of course, you could also enlist a professional photographer if your budget allows for it. A good quality headshot can be used for so many situations in your professional life – your email account, email signature, LinkedIn profile photo, Twitter and Facebook photo, company bio/website, personal website or portfolio, for guest blogging or article writing. So just go for it and once you have one be sure to update it every couple of years. 

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice. If so our career advisors are experts in their field and can provide comprehensive Career Counselling. We also have experienced writers who provide professional Resume and LinkedIn Profile writing services designed for people who want to make employers sit up and take notice.

Tis the season! Holiday job search tips

Article by Belinda Fuller

Tis The SeasonIt’s about this time of year that people begin to think it’s too late to start applying for new roles. Even if you believe you won’t be able to secure a new role between now and the new year, there are things you can (and should) be doing over the festive season to help you gain a great head start come January. Whether you’ve been at it for a while, or are just starting your job search, keep it up during the holidays.

While it may be unlikely you’ll be offered a job between now and the new year, that doesn’t mean you should cease all activity. On the contrary, using this time could pay huge dividends down the track. Here’s our top five things you can do now to help your job search in the new year:

  1. Know what you want: Go through job search sites such as Seek and LinkedIn and search for specific titles, companies, industries and keywords. Play around with combinations and open your search out to other geographical locations or industries to expand results. While the market may be quiet and you might not find exactly what you’re looking for, there’s a strong chance that some positions will be a close match to what you’re after. Read the job ads closely and get a feel for what’s required. Doing this allows you to decide what’s important to include (and just as importantly exclude) from your application – as well as determining if you have any major gaps in your capabilities.
  2. Get organised: Today’s job market is not only competitive, it’s complicated. There are many avenues to tap into – including advertised and unadvertised job markets. Getting organised will help you to more efficiently find and apply for all the positions you may be suitable for. Set up automated job searches, identify relevant recruiters, update your application materials, polish your interview skills, use LinkedIn, check your social media settings, and think about who you could be networking with. Read our previous article Winning Job Search Strategies for detailed tips on developing a structured job search strategy.
  3. Update your materials: This includes your LinkedIn profile, Resume and Cover Letter. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find suitable candidates, so it’s important to optimise your profile with keywords, so you can be found. Include comprehensive and up-to-date content, a current and professional photo, and try to complete every section. Make sure to leverage the summary section – use it to introduce yourself, provide an overview of your key skills, experience and strengths – a picture of who you are and the value you could bring to an organisation. Your Resume should also be updated and we recommend writing a customised cover letter for every job you apply for – addressing as many ‘job requirements’ as you can. Use the holidays to prepare sample letters and/or paragraphs that can easily be modified to suit specific roles as you apply. While you will have to tailor them for each position, getting these documents into shape now will make the job much easier when the time comes.
  4. Prepare for interviews: The biggest mistake you can make when searching for a new job is not preparing for the interview. Ways you can do this in the holidays include brainstorming the types of questions you might get asked and coming up with some examples that demonstrate your success. Think about examples that demonstrate strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and how you’ve handled different work situations. Having a bank of these examples will ensure you feel more confident and prepared during the stressful interview process. Read our previous article here that talks about using the STAR approach to help you formulate them for an interview.
  5. Network: Think about who you know that you can connect with now. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. While it may not be the best time to reach out to everyone who might be of assistance to you in your job search, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the ball rolling. Do your research, brainstorm and scroll through LinkedIn for potential people to contact, then start drafting emails that can be sent in the new year. Be mindful of people taking time off and coming back to an inbox full of emails which may get overlooked – think about your timing before sending. Remember all the different ways to connect with your network and use them – phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, face-to-face and online networking groups.

Today’s job market is competitive and complex so being organised and prepared will help ensure your success! With so many avenues to pursue, using the quieter holiday period to plan your strategy will ensure you are ready and raring to go in the new year.

Would you would like help developing a winning resume, detailed job search strategy, or professional LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills? If so, please see our Resume Writing, Job Search Coaching, and Interview Training services.

12 mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

12 Mistakes to Avoid on LinkedInWith over 7 million registered users in Australia, and more than 92 million across the Asia Pacific region, LinkedIn is definitely the number one online tool for professional networking. Whether you’re searching for a new role, seeking to make the most of the one you have, or building your professional network to identify business development or partnership opportunities, there are certain mistakes you need to avoid while using LinkedIn.

Despite the fact that LinkedIn has been around now since 2002, and is used so prolifically, there is still a lot of confusion around how to get the best out of your profile. As consultants, we are often asked why we are making certain recommendations, but the mistakes we see time and time again are all too common. LinkedIn is different from other social networks, and you can’t use the same techniques that you use elsewhere. Here are 12 things you want to avoid doing on LinkedIn.

MISTAKE # 1 – Not having a photo: LinkedIn now states that profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to get viewed that those without. In addition, recruiters are more likely to skip over a profile in their search results if it doesn’t include a photo. So it pays to have one. It doesn’t have to be a professional shot, although it’s great if you can manage it. A simple photo of your head and shoulders taken against a white or plain background is fine. And don’t forget to smile – it’s not for a passport.

MISTAKE # 2 – Having an inappropriate photo: Just as bad as not having a photo, is having an inappropriate photo. I once had a client tell me that their photo wasn’t the best representation of them because he “was at a wedding at the time and had probably had a bit too much to drink” – really? That is not portraying your professional best. We recommend a nice shot of head and shoulders in professional attire – for some that might be a suit, for others it will be a work t-shirt.

MISTAKE # 3 – Using it Like Facebook or Twitter: LinkedIn is a professional medium. It’s meant for professional communication. Don’t post ‘what’s on your mind’ unless it relates specifically to your career goals, and don’t vent about ANYTHING on LinkedIn! Keep your posts specific and positive. Posting a link to an article that adds value to your industry is also a great idea.

MISTAKE # 4 – Lying: about anything – it’s a public forum so if you didn’t do it, don’t say you did. If you helped do something – say so. Lying on your Resume is bad, but lying on LinkedIn is even worse. It is likely you will get found out and the consequences probably just won’t be worth it.

MISTAKE # 5 – Having an incomplete profile: Having a complete profile not only helps you get found more often by recruiters, it also sends a great message about your professionalism to the people that do end up viewing your profile. If you don’t complete your profile, you’re indicating that you’re just not that serious about your career.

MISTAKE # 6 – Waiting till you need it to pay any attention: Try to use LinkedIn to connect with others when you’re comfortable in a role. Waiting until you need it (i.e. you’ve just lost your job, or had a huge argument with a superior and need to get out quick) will put pressure on the situation. If you have to connect with someone and ask for something straight away – it can be difficult. Instead, by gradually building up your contacts, learning from them and providing them with opportunities to learn from you – the relationships that you develop over time can then be more easily leveraged once you actually need them. 

MISTAKE # 7 – Having a static profile: Once you establish your LinkedIn profile, don’t forget about it! Make the effort to regularly review the content, make updates where appropriate, and share status updates and other information with your network. While you don’t have to feel pressured to provide constant updates like other social networking platforms, you do need to make some regular effort.

MISTAKE # 8 – Not including supporting information: make sure you link to blogs, websites, presentations, and projects etc. where people can learn more about you and the professional successes you’ve achieved. Anything that supports your career can be included.

MISTAKE # 9 – Not making it easy for people to contact you: inviting people to connect, contact you for advice and including information like volunteer and charity work will all help you engage with like-minded people. Make sure you provide details on how people can connect and offer to help or provide advice where you can.

MISTAKE # 10 – Not responding: As a LinkedIn user, you will receive emails and connection requests from others. Not responding in a timely manner is bad business. Likewise, making judgements about people’s motives could be a mistake. Try to treat the enquiry in the same way you would if they contacted your business through the usual channels. Don’t waste time obviously, but try not to ignore people that you initially perceive as not being able to add value.

MISTAKE # 11 – Trying to connect with random people: While you don’t have to restrict your networking efforts to people you’ve done business with, you do need to provide context if you’re sending a connection request to someone new. We recommend personalising all connection requests, so do this by providing a personal message explaining your reason for the connection request. Don’t be tempted to send out random connection requests because if too many of those people click “I don’t know this person”, LinkedIn could suspend your account.

MISTAKE # 12 – Forgetting to customise your LinkedIn URL – the automated personal URL created when you set up your profile usually includes a combination of your name with lots of letters and numbers at the end. Take advantage of the vanity URL and customise it to reflect the best version of your first and last names or your business name.

LinkedIn is a valuable professional networking tool that has a raft of features and benefits that you need to be taking advantage of in order to achieve the best results. If you’re making any of these mistakes, they’re very easy to fix – go ahead and make some changes today.

Do you have trouble networking? Are you lacking a good quality LinkedIn profile to help you find and connect with like-minded industry experts or maximise your job search? If you would like assistance writing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, please click here for our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

Facebook or LinkedIn? Which one for career development?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Facebook or LinkedIn Which One for Career DevelopmentBoth popular social networking sites designed to connect individuals online, the two represent different types of connections with different goals and objectives. LinkedIn is focused on professional networking, and is currently the highest used tool for professional networking, whereas Facebook is considered more social with a focus on personal use.

The fact is that LinkedIn was designed specifically for the global business community – to enable members to establish networks of people they know and trust professionally. Your LinkedIn page emphasises employment history, education, professional memberships and other associations. So which one should you be using for career development purposes?

Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward. While LinkedIn definitely remains the global standard for professional networking online, both sites may have a place in your career development process – particularly if you are a consultant, freelancer or run a small business. There are certainly advantages to LinkedIn that could never be as easily achieved with Facebook – the fact that LinkedIn was designed specifically for business networking makes it very easy to connect with past and present colleagues, build relationships with potential partners, find a new job, discover prospective sales leads, influence your customers, and find viable candidates for roles within your organisation. However, Facebook can also provide an ideal way to share content and build your brand, reputation, and community of interested potential customers.

In addition, it’s important to remember the reach of Facebook is far greater with an estimated global active monthly user base of 1.59 billion, compared to LinkedIn’s 100 million. That means Facebook may be more relevant in business than many people believe. Some of the ways you can tap into the professional community on Facebook include:

  • Establishing a business page to share content and drive traffic to your website or LinkedIn profile (to sell products, educate your target market, or influence buying decisions);
  • Establishing a Facebook group focused on your business and regularly sharing content;
  • Participating in existing relevant Facebook groups to connect, discuss, share content, and network with others in order to grow your professional network; and
  • Using Facebook advertising as a way to reach new customers.

Although some people have debated which one is better, we believe a LinkedIn profile carries more weight professionally than Facebook for the majority of people – however as mentioned above there is certainly a place for Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile content is focused on professional experience and qualifications with a clean, structured and organised presentation and appearance. In many situations, this makes it easier for people to quickly identify whether or not they should be working with you.

If you are seeking a new job, it’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch – according to LinkedIn, “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” Likewise, if you’re seeking to network with colleagues and potential business partners, LinkedIn is probably your best bet. However, if it is new customers or improved business branding you’re after, then Facebook might be the way to go.

Do you have trouble networking? Are you lacking a good quality online profile to help you find and connect with like-minded industry experts? If you would like assistance writing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

 

How to generate traffic to your LinkedIn profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 ways to improve your LinkedIn profileIf you think LinkedIn is a place to simply copy your Resume content and connect with industry colleagues, think again. As the world’s largest professional network with more than 8 million members in Australia, it’s an essential personal branding tool. More and more people are leveraging LinkedIn to boost their online profile, develop their reputation as an industry expert and/or generate leads for their business.

Since most recruiters and many employers use LinkedIn to source candidates – it is essential that your profile can be easily found. Even if you’re not currently searching for a new role – as a professional in any industry, you need to effectively manage your online presence since it provides the first impression to people doing business with you.

A professional LinkedIn profile will support your current role, demonstrate credibility, and validate your expertise to potential customers or business associates. Also, a well-developed LinkedIn profile and vanity URL will support Google searches and help ensure your profile is returned at or near the top when people search for you.

LinkedIn certainly helps if you’re seeking a new role, but it is also essential to help you build your profile as an expert in your field, generate leads for your business, and drive traffic to your website. So how can you generate the much needed traffic to ensure you are one of the chosen few?

  • Decide on keywords and develop your LinkedIn content around these. Think about the skills and abilities you want to be known for. What will people search for when looking for someone like you?
  • Include a professional-looking photo (head and shoulders) that enables people to recognise you. Profiles with pictures are much more likely to generate traffic so don’t skip this step. No picture doesn’t instil any sense of trust or engagement from the audience – in fact many people may wonder what you’re hiding.
  • Create a custom headline and make sure to use up all 120 characters to describe what you do and the market(s) you serve. Don’t let LinkedIn default to your current title – make it descriptive, engaging and personalised to you.
  • Ensure your profile content positions you as the ideal person for the opportunity. This means being very definitive about what you offer and not trying to be ‘all things to all people’. Many people believe they may miss an opportunity if they don’t ‘cover all their bases’ however the problem we see with this approach is that you will never be the right person for anyone – because people look for experts in their field. Decide on what you want to go after and focus!
  • Prove your expertise with evidence – people love proof because, again it creates credibility and professionalism and a desire to do business with you. Evidence could include specific statements detailing what you offer, skills endorsements, recommendations from others, and links to websites, presentations and articles you have written.
  • Create a vanity URL using your full name or area of expertise.
  • Share content including articles, industry news, accomplishments, and your own articles – it takes minutes but helps you become more visible while providing opportunities for others to engage with you. Sharing your own content helps build your credibility and allows people to get to know you (and your offer) better to support their decision in working with you. According to LinkedIn, users who share content on the professional social network at least once a week are much more likely to be contacted for new opportunities than people who don’t share.

If you would like more tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile to position yourself in your market, increase your chances of being found and generate more traffic to uncover job opportunities, contract/freelance work and/or word of mouth referrals, our team of Professional LinkedIn Writers can help! Please see our LinkedIn profile writing service for more information.

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