LinkedIn Tips and Traps - Step 3 - Profile
Optimize your profile... so that recruiters and hiring managers will find you. You need to consider the image you want to project.
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LinkedIn: Check your LinkedIn profile. During the HP breakup, HPE changed many decades-old HP positions to display the HPE name and logo. LinkedIn has been standardizing company names, with odd results. Recruiters view illogical entries -- such as HPE positions before 2015 -- as fake.
You may wish to emphasize (or de-emphasize) some of your background by breaking out (or merging) separate positions.
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 often, understandably, know nothing about the technology or the industry.
- Former managers and co-workers who know you and your work -- often the best path to a new job.
- Managers in other parts of your current company who are looking to find candidates for transfer or promotion.
- Explicitly cover your technical specialties, experience, and skills. Recruiters and sourcers 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 looking for a Unix person will miss you if you only mention HP-UX. (Also applies to your résumé, which is often scanned and searched automatically.)
- Regularly update your profile to describe your current position. Rather than lump all of your projects in a single multi-year position entry, break them up -- to emphasize growth and flexibility instead of the appearance of stagnation. Even if on the same project for years, your role and contributions changed over time.
- To show that you are up-to-date, also include current fashionable terminology for your field -- for example, "user experience" in addition to "user interface."
- As with your résumé, describe results and accomplishments where possible, rather than mere laundry lists of responsibilities. This is a sales presentation -- not a autobiography.
- Avoid generic self-praise and standard résumé clichés. Don't say it -- show it by citing specific examples. How to convert clichés into specifics.
- Reconstructing your HP career: How to obtain a copy of your personnel file to assist in developing your résumé: HP HPE. How to find references to yourself or products or products you worked on in Measure or the HP Journal -- all back issues of which are available online: HP publications
- 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 project codenames. People who work in sensitive roles -- finance, computer security, classified -- recommend special care.
Tricks and traps:
- Before updating your LinkedIn profile, click "Me" under your photo > "Settings & Privacy > "How others see your LinkedIn activity" in the left-hand menu > change "Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile" to "No." Otherwise, LinkedIn will notify all your connections -- including managers and co-workers -- about every change with "Congratulate Mary Smith on the new position" if you have merely updated a position description.
- 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.
- Consider how much you want to disclose about yourself via your photo, paid or volunteer employment positions, references to your interests and volunteer activities, and your LinkedIn group memberships. Recruiters pay thousands of dollars per recruiter per year to search for candidates -- they have full access regardless of your privacy settings. On the other hand, something unique about yourself can differentiate you from the crowd. Or you may want to avoid wasting time on job leads where a key aspect of your personal life would be an issue. You can describe volunteer political, community, or church work without mentioning the party, candidate, cause, or religious denomination. One member commented that if you are willing to consider a job at a startup, don't use that great snapshot with your family -- or mention any non-work activities at all. <smile>
- As with your résumé, have a couple of sharp-eyed folks proofread your LinkedIn profile. You will want to save a copy of your carefully-developed profile anyhow, so copy-and-paste the entire page into a word processor and run spell-check. Common errors that will only be found by a human proofreader: "Hewlett-Packard Enterprises" (HPE doesn't use the hyphen and "Enterprise" is singular.) "Principle Engineer" instead of "Principal Engineer" Principal vs Principle. "Manger" instead of "Manager."
- Improve your chances of being found by a human or a bot. Coach Carol Kaemmerer explains: Why Less Isn't More On LinkedIn
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 article in this series: "LinkedIn Tips and Traps - How LinkedIn Really Works."
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