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As a team of executive search consultants, we are constantly using LinkedIn to source candidates. Together with our researchers, we look for specific keywords, commonalities, and direct connections.

maximize_executive_linkedin_profile_and_networkIf you want to be found on LinkedIn, your profile should give sufficient information regarding your background. Executive search consultants and hiring managers will search by keywords and scan your profile to see what specific skills are aligned with certain jobs. Similar to a resume, you want to have your employment history – role, company, tenure, responsibilities – listed and up to date. Try listing specific projects you have worked on and providing something more substantial than your run-of-the-mill summary. Give such projects depth and meaning by including numbers, like a dollar value or number of employees involved.

If you are an engineer, we want to see if you have semi-conductor experience. If you are an architect, we want to know if you have high-rise experience. Spotlight what is unique and sets you apart from your peers. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s co-founder recently said, “With my profile, I look at who I want to target and have my profile appeal to.” If you can’t be unique, you can at least offer lure.

Include your education, awards, and non-profit or extracurricular activities. LinkedIn is a virtual resume and you are at anyone’s fingertips, so be sure to put your best profile forward.

Once your profile is ready, use your network!

Interact with them, don’t just be static. Reach out to recruiters or people who are within your field. Be in the know of what is going on in your industry. Being active on LinkedIn is just as important to your networking strategy as what your profile showcases.

Here are several tips my colleagues and I share all the time:

  1. Be strategic. Be mindful of who you confirm a request from and whom you request as a connection. Less is more. Building a network of quality over quantity is the best approach. If you are going to use your network, they need to be people worth reaching out to, not just anyone looking to make friends; this isn’t Facebook, it’s your professional brand. Think about who you are connecting with and who will help you achieve your goals and be stepping stones to your future.
  2. Ask for recommendations…from anyone. Reach out your colleagues, management, peers, clients, customers, whomever! Recommendations help your credibility and build your clout. You don’t have to just take it from me; LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said it himself, “When someone is looking at your profile, and is looking to present you with an opportunity, they are going to see that you are someone they want to talk to,” Hoffman says. “Because it’s not just you saying that you’re good at something – other people are saying it, too.”
  3. Return the love. Leave recommendations for others, acknowledge achievements, work anniversaries, new jobs, promotions, and more within your network.
  4. Reach out to your connections. Ask how their role is going, ask if you can pick their brain, or can they help you with a role, career move, etc.
  5. Follow companies. If you are interested in a particular company, follow them. Read their posts and engage by responding with a unique, interesting POV. Post related content of your own and share others relevant content.
  6. Promote. Whether it’s current work you have done or previous projects, promote what you are doing. Write updates on current events and trends in your industry. 
  7. Even better, cross-promote. If you worked with a client or customer, promote their product, service, and also re-share and like their updates.
  8. Join LinkedIn groups. Target groups that are affiliated with the type of jobs you like. Participate in group posts and ask to connect with other people in those groups; these people share your interests and/or can help you in those industries and organizations.

As you engage with your network, they feel as if they know you. They have a better understanding of your background, skills, interests, and knowledge base in your industry. All of which helps put you in good position for recruiters like us to come across your profile. Plus it will encourage others to reply to you when you reach out to them.

To get the most out of LinkedIn be sure to put together your best profile, personal brand, be engaging, and get out there and network.