This article explores specific tips to help professionals write a really strong profile that showcases your talent and ensures your profile ranks well in searches when employers and head hunters are looking for candidates matching your ideal job.
Having worked in executive recruitment for several years and having built a career site that ranks number 1 in Google for a variety of top search terms, I understand how important it is to develop and organise your profile to capture the attention of the people who really matter. Think of the process in terms of developing a mini website that you need to optimise to be picked up by search engines for target keywords and search terms. By following these steps you can really optimise your profile to unlock the best career opportunities in the hidden job market:
1. Professional Headline
This should be the easiest part of your profile to complete and is really a few words to describe what you are e.g. Executive FMCG supply chain professional, Retail Human Resources Manager or Supply Chain Graduate.
Arguably the most important part of your profile, providing the opportunity to include a range of powerful keywords to increase your ranking within search results. Think of this section as an overview of your professional experience to date showcasing your capabilities.
Executive leaders may use this area an as opportunity to really promote the scale and breadth of responsibility of their professional experience. Let’s take headcount as an example, you could use this section to promote the size of teams, departments and operations you have led:
“Experienced FMCG logistics operations leader with a proven track record in driving change and performance improvement in sites of up to 500 employees”.
In one sentence you have provided an overview of your specific industry background, an idea of scope of responsibility and a number of powerful keywords.
Procurement practitioners may showcase the size of spend across key categories under the scope of their control:
“MBA qualified procurement leader from the banking and finance sector with experience of managing an ICT spend of up to $1billion and strategic sourcing teams of up to 20 indirect reports”.
Bullet points are a great way of listing areas of experience and responsibility whilst enhancing the presentation of your professional summary.
You can use bullet points to describe the types of industry sectors you have worked across, MRP systems you have worked with or even headline your key achievements. Procurement professionals may wish to list the spend categories they have managed.
When compiling your summary stay focussed on your next career step and bare this in mind when optimising your powerful keywords and promoting your experience to date. For instance, supply chain leaders looking to move into general management or business unit leadership should really focus on core competencies and demonstrating versatility in driving successful outcomes whilst working with a variety of stakeholder groups. Human Resource professionals looking to specialize in particular area of HR need to outline their previous generalist positions that may of had a strong employee relations, industrial relations or remuneration focus. This is when P&L responsibility, commercial acumen and achievements around overall business performance should really come to the fore.
Professionals looking to make their next step into a managerial role should outline project management, cross functional team leadership and supervisory experience in the summary section.
3. Listing career experience
How much to include in each role summary?
Remember to focus on scope – areas of responsibility, number of direct and indirect reports, departments under your control. For non-managerial candidates such as advisors, planners, coordinators, analysts etc. think about things such as number of products, fleet size, systems you work with etc.
An important note for professionals with current job titles that include abbreviations (e.g. S&OP/IBP) – ensure you write the full words for your job title to ensure you appear more frequently in searches. For instance, rather than writing GM SC or SC Dir, HR Manager, use the full job titles General Manager Supply Chain and Supply Chain Director.
For example: Demand Planning for the cosmetic beauty portfolio of 220 products using SAP APO.
3. How far to go back in your career?
Good question! The easy answer is whatever you feel is relevant, however do consider that most prospective employers will be considering your most recent experience when benchmarking you for a prospective role so whilst you may wish to list a position from 20 years ago, the benefit of writing a summary of responsibilities for that particular position is negligible and may lengthen your profile unnecessarily.
4. Profile presentation
A great aspect of Linkedin is the ability to view how “complete” your profile is. You will receive regular notifications inviting you to complete your profile if certain elements are missing. Be sure to include a recent photo – for tips on selecting the best photo click here.
Linkedin makes it easy for users to upload media to their profile which can really enhance the overall look and feel. If you have presented at an industry event or written a presentation (that isn’t confidential!) then why not showcase your talents through adding this to your profile – embedded videos, slideshare presentations and most types of document types are generally supported.
5. Recommendations and Endorsements
A great way to build profile credibility is to request recommendations from other colleagues in your network. This takes the form of a statement from the other party around your capability and persona. If you do request a recommendation, be sure to ask the other party to provide context around when they worked with you and in what capacity.
Another feature on Linkedin is skills endorsements, whereby you select a number of skills you feel you excel in and other members of your network endorse you for these skills. The only drawback around this feature is there is no opportunity to provide context around why or how they are endorsing you and many professionals find they receive endorsements from people they have never met before!
6. Be seen!
Once your profile is created, you should now start to think about growing your network through building connections and joining relevant industry groups. The more connections you establish and more groups you join (maximum 50 main groups), the more visible your profile becomes to the broader network.
It goes without saying that you can enhance your visibility and reputation further by sharing information with your network and contributing to group discussions.
Follow these six tips to optimise your profile towards your ideal next career move and you will certainly increase your chances of being approached about the best jobs.