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LinkedIn Tips and Traps - Step 2 - Profile 

Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org (Updated November 16, 2017.)  

Steps: 1. Check account settings  2. Optimize profile  3. Optimize positions  4. Use networking features

Optimize your profile... so that recruiters and hiring managers will find you.

Two key issues:

- You want to be found!

- Consider the image you want to project.

There are several audiences for your LinkedIn profile:

- Recruiters and hiring managers who understand the industry.

- Employees of recruiting companies -- called "sourcers" or researchers -- who may know nothing about the technology or the industry. (If the job requisition specifies 25 years of Linux experience or a new grad who took a course in Nonstop, that's what they will try to find.)

- Former managers and co-workers who know you and your work -- often the best path to a new job.


- As with your résumé (which also often searched automatically) be sure that your LinkedIn profile explicitly covers your technical specialties, experience, and skills. Recruiters and their assistants search for specific words and phrases on LinkedIn based on the job req they are trying to fill.

- Include alternative terms -- formal and informal; current and traditional terminology. A searcher may be looking for a Unix person and miss you because you only mention HP-UX.  The recruiters and searchers generally do not understand your field. 

- As with your résumé, be sure to describe results and accomplishments where possible, rather than mere laundry lists of responsibilities. A sales presentation -- not a biography. <smile>

- Be careful as to what you disclose about your work -- competitors and industrial spies are searching too. Don't inadvertently disclose company strategy or trade secrets -- or even project codenames. People who work in sensitive roles -- finance, computer security, classified -- recommend special care in what you disclose on LinkedIn.

- Watch the HPAA video. Trainer and coach Sandra Clark explains to an HPAA audience on how to really use LinkedIn. Among the practical answers in the Q-and-A: How is a profile different from a résumé? How far back should my job history go? How do I deal with skills and endorsements? HPAA LinkedIn Video  (63 minutes; YouTube automatically optimizes video quality for your connection speed.)

Tricks and traps:

- Don't try to work on your profile with small-screen device like a phone.

- Before updating your LinkedIn profile, click "Me" under your photo > "Settings & Privacy > "Privacy" > and change "Sharing profile edits" to "No." Otherwise, LinkedIn will notify all your connections -- including managers and co-workers -- about every change: "Congratulate Mary Smith on the new position" (if you have merely updated a position description) or "Check out Mary Smith's new photo." However, this does not prevent any LinkedIn member from seeing your profile. At LinkedIn, you are not the customer, you are the product.

- Check your Headline. Unless you override it, LinkedIn generates a bland Headline by pasting together your current title and current employer. Change the almost-useless robotic Headline so that it truly characterizes you. "In 5 seconds of looking at your headline, can people easily know what you do / what you offer."  Do Just One Thing -- Add a Good Headline  (Sandra Clark, the speaker on the HPAA LinkedIn Video)  (If you have edited your Headline, make sure that it doesn't contradict the current employer that LinkedIn automatically displays in the next line.)

- Don't put your email address, home address, or phone number in your profile.

- As with your résumé, have a couple of sharp-eyed folks proofread your LinkedIn profile. Common errors: "Hewlitt-Packard" "Hewlett Packard Enterprises" (plural instead of singular) and "Principle Engineer" instead of "Principal Engineer." You will want to keep a copy of your carefully-developed profile, so paste it all into a word processor and run the spell-check.

Recommended articles:

- Improve your chances of being found by a human or a bot. Coach Carol Kaemmerer explains: Why Less Isn't More On LinkedIn

- LinkedIn when re-entering the workforce. Coach Sandra Clark: Workforce Re-Entry Part 1  Part 2

Next step -- Positions:  Optimize your positions so that your profile displays your experience but doesn't look fake -- and so you can be found.

Return to first "LinkedIn Tips and Traps" article in this series.

Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

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