A huge swathe of the population is currently reeling from being made redundant on top of all their other anxieties. For most executives and business leaders, the last thing they want to do after being made redundant is to let the world know all about it. However, if you want to get your career back on track quickly, that’s usually the best plan of action. In fact, sometimes (you might not be feeling this yet) an unexpected invitation to change can be a blessing.
Forget the stigma
It’s important to remember that redundancy, redeployment and insecurity are so commonplace at the moment, there’s no shame attached. It really is best to forget the stigma and express yourself. One of the most effective vehicles to demonstrate and circulate your availability to head hunters, talent acquisition executives and recruitment consultants is LinkedIn.
At any one time there are around 3 million jobs posted on LinkedIn and 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary source of candidates. However, with around 660 million worldwide users, getting noticed on LinkedIn involves a lot more than simply cutting and pasting the content from your CV into your profile.
“450% increase in profiles in one week”
According to LinkedIn’s own figures, a complete profile, tailored to the jobs you want and including specific, search engine optimised keywords will get 132% more views. Some of our LinkedIn clients have received a 450% increase in profile views in just one week.
We create over 1000 executive LinkedIn profiles for our clients in a year. Each one is completely bespoke because they reflect individual personal brands and tell specific career stories. Here we outline the process we use, which may be helpful if you’ve recently been made redundant.
- Prepare your marketing pitch
Our first step is to put ourselves in the mind of your future employer. What is their motivation for hiring you? Here, we encourage our executive clients to think in terms of preparing a business case.
That involves answering questions such as: What ROI will you deliver? What are your key areas of expertise and strength? And, what is your USP?
Consider how you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Invest the time in formulating this strategically. Just as you would when creating any other business case or sales pitch.
This is an incredibly valuable exercise. It’s all about translating your impeccable history and skills into results. And, then recognising – and selling – the value you will bring.
- Update your status in your headline
The headline is a major factor in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. LinkedIn allows 120 characters here, so use them to create a powerful snapshot of your strengths and incorporate appropriate keywords. Your headline is also a great opportunity to advertise your availability with a ‘currently seeking new opportunities in ….’ reference
Your headline doesn’t have to be your former job title but you can’t afford to be vague. For example, “I help businesses grow” doesn’t work as a headline. Headhunters search for candidates with certain keywords in their headline and they are more likely to type in Head of Business Development or Sales Director.
- Ensure your tone of voice reflects your brand, values and aspirations
Unlike your CV which should be tailored to each specific role you apply for, your LinkedIn profile needs to touch on all the aspects of your value-add across the range of roles you may be applying for. Your Summary section is where you need to establish your credibility and tell your story. You have only 2000 characters to position yourself as a visionary leader.
Think along the lines of a short punchy pitch. An accomplishment-oriented narrative that highlights the depth of your experience and cherry picks your main achievements. Concluding your summary with a call to action is optional – but something along the lines of ‘I would welcome contact from headhunters and hiring managers regarding opportunities in XYZ’ will reinforce your position and make it easy for recruiters to contact you.
- Optimise your profile with relevant keywords
LinkedIn is a giant applicant tracking system (ATS). It’s critical your profile contains the right keywords in the right places to maximise your chance of appearing in recruiter searches. These keywords or ‘keyword phrases’ could be job titles, key skills, knowledge and expertise that a recruiter is likely to type into LinkedIn, or that an AI is likely to use to establish a shortlist.
There’s an art and science to key word optimisation on LinkedIn. It often means saying the same thing in a slightly different way as you can never be sure exactly what the recruiter will search for. For example, Risk Control AND Risk management could both be applicable, so you should include them both but in a manner that feels natural and engaging.
Take care to use terms that are commonly used to describe a professional at your level. If you’re positioning yourself as a senior level executive, focus on describing achievements or challenges you’ve overcome. Your words should be highlighting your impact in areas such as strategic planning, performance improvement or mentoring and coaching.
Most industries have career-specific terms, jargon and acronyms. It’s important to include these in your profile. Target employers will use them in their job descriptions and person specifications. Recruiters often search for specific technical skills or software experience, so make sure you include these, using the full name and the abbreviation if appropriate.
Finally, your desired work location is an often over looked keyword. Yet, it’s the first thing many recruiters search. Remember, it doesn’t have to be where you live.
- Be a visible expert
It’s worth adding a short synopsis or description of your board memberships, industry projects, certifications and examples of your published work in your LinkedIn profile. They inject personality and demonstrate that you bring broader life experience to the table. Posting articles or white papers you’ve written will also help to position you as an industry expert; others will come to you for professional advice and valuable relationships can flourish.
LinkedIn is an ideal way to let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities. But, it’s much more than that. It’s also the perfect platform to build your professional brand, differentiate yourself from the competition and pitch yourself as a visionary leader.