Looking around on LinkedIn the other day, I noticed how many people use the term “experienced” in their headline or summary. Generally speaking, “experienced” is code for “old” and maybe “expensive”. So, I would caution against using that word when describing yourself. Having a lot of experience doesn’t necessarily help you if employers think your experience is out-of-date or that you might be set in your ways.
In your headline, it’s usually better to state facts and use search terms that recruiters might use to find you. They’re going to search for “operations manager” with “lean manufacturing” expertise. They’re not going to search for “experienced”, “enthusiastic” or “accomplished”.
Let your experience speak for itself by including strong accomplishments in the body of your profile. If you want to include a “valued-added” statement about yourself, talk about results and what you can do for employers. “Retail turnaround specialist known for transforming low performing stores in record time” is better than “experienced store manager”.
So, avoid the general glowing adjectives and focus on specific skills, expertise and accomplishments that separate you from the other “experienced” candidates out there!
A recent survey showed that 2/3 of employers have made successful hires through social networks and 89% report using LinkedIn to recruit new candidates. In that same survey, employee referrals were ranked as the most highly rated source for candidate quality. 1 in 10 referral candidates are hired compared to 1 in 100 general applicants (Source: JobVite Social Recruiting Survey July 2011). So, your chances of getting hired are 10 times higher if you go in as an employee referral as opposed to applying on-line.
Given these statistics, if you’re looking for a job, you should definitely invest more time networking with contacts at target companies and less time applying blindly to posted jobs. It also makes sense to optimize your LinkedIn profile to make sure you are found by recruiters.
One of the most common ways recruiters search for candidates is by using the Advanced Search feature, typing in a title and then specifying “current”. If you have not entered anything in the “Current” section of your profile, you will not be found. One way to solve that problem is by entering the most common title(s) for the type of position you are seeking in the “Current Title” field in your profile and then entering “In Transition” in the “Current Employer” field. Now, if recruiters search on that title, they will find you.
Don’t forget to include keywords in your LinkedIn profile that are commonly found in job descriptions for the type of position you are seeking and make sure to add detailed descriptions of your accomplishments and skills. LinkedIn profiles actually provide more space than a resume, so maximize it by adding information that recruiters might use to search for candidates like you!
Happy Hunting – Sue Kaiden
Inviting People to Join Your Network on LinkedIn by Sue Kaiden, CareerEdge
When asking people to join your network on LinkedIn, it is essential that you send a customized invite message. Even though you might be tempted to click on the button that sends the standard “I’d like you to join my professional network” message – don’t do it! Here’s why:
1) Unless you know the person well, they may not remember your name. I get a lot of invites from people and half the time I don’t have a clue where I may have met them. Take the time to remind them where you met or what you may have in common. Nine times out of ten, they will accept your invite.
2) If you haven’t seen them in awhile, take the time to give them a quick update on your situation. It’s an opportunity to reach out to someone so don’t waste it. Just remember to keep it upbeat!
3) LinkedIn veterans consider it rude to receive a standard invite. Some won’t accept your invite on principle. Don’t risk annoying a potential networking contact – take the time to send a tailored message.
4) Don’t invite people to your network if you’ve never met them. Unless people identify themselves as “open networkers” or LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers), they usually want to know you, at least a little bit. If you see someone with whom you’d like to connect, ask someone who is already connected with them to introduce you. That is usually a more successful approach.
So, next time you invite someone to your network, take the time to “add a personal note” to your invite message. I expect that you’ll get a better response!