3 Reasons to Take Your Current Job Out of Your LinkedIn Headline

3 Reasons to Take Your Current Job Out of Your LinkedIn Headline

Did you let LinkedIn put your current job in your Headline?

If so, you’re among the millions of LinkedIn users who fail to market their own personal brand.

Look around on LinkedIn and you’ll see the same scenario: too many people fail to uncheck that box in their current job that says “Update My Headline.”

As a result, you’re left with Sales Manager at XYZ Company or VP of Production at AB Manufacturing.

This could be one of the biggest obstacles in your job search! You’re MUCH more than a job title. With so many opportunities on LinkedIn to promote your value to employers, your Headline should be tuned more carefully.

Here are the 3 reasons why you should take your current job OUT of your Headline (and what to use instead):

 

Your Headline should market YOUR personal brand, NOT your employer.

personal branding for LinkedInYour current job title probably does a poor job of representing your potential!

Not only was it designed by your employer, it also picks up your company name… and now you have a banner that clearly describes a position you may want to leave.

But if you design your OWN Headline, you’ll have a valuable opportunity to add a success story, keywords, and job titles that help others find you.

These Headlines show how you can “advertise” your skills for a future job search:

VP Sales & Marketing | 13 Winning Sales Teams Developed to Create #1 Market Performance | Global & US Revenue & Growth Strategies | Fortune-Ranked Technology, Government, OEM, Engineering, & Defense Markets

COO & VP Operations. Fast Turnarounds & Market Share Growth in EMEA, Americas, & APAC Regions. 299% Growth From New Revenue Streams, Corporate Contracts, & Transformation. Board Member, Mentor, Executive Sponsor

 

Your current job might not match your career goals.

Let’s say you’re aiming for the next level up in your career. By tuning your Headline for a promotion, you’ll come up in searches for the target job, not just the one you already hold.

This example shows how an Operations leader can show readiness for the COO position, referencing the skills they are already using and focusing on high-value keywords:

Healthcare Executive. COO-Level Authority for Clinical Operations, Patient Care Quality, Safety, & CMS Ratings. Relentless Drive for Excellence & Patient Satisfaction. Champion for Team Growth & Service Line Development

You can see that this Headline continues to mention Operations, making it possible to be spotted as a senior leader while leaving the possibility open to be found in searches for a COO.

No matter your career level, mentioning your desired role (which you can also add to the About section) helps show your intentions and position you more strategically as a rising leader in your field.

Your current job title is far too SHORT to describe your skills.

As described in The Surprising Problem With Your LinkedIn Headline, most Headlines that use current job titles don’t fill even HALF the 220 allowable characters.

LinkedIn SEOThis means you’re missing critical opportunities to further describe keywords and strengths. Remember, your LinkedIn Headline is a critical piece of LinkedIn Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

With a longer Headline, you’ll also gain the opportunity to switch out a few phrases or keywords to “test” which version produces more interest from employers.

These examples show Headlines that exceed 200 characters by adding insightful  details and leadership strengths:

Chief Strategy Officer. 45% New Growth From Corporate Direction, M&A, Product Strategy, & Operations Improvements. Customer-Centric Product Lines, Outreach, & Technologies Taking Regional Operation to US Powerhouse

Senior Director, Product Engineering – Driving Software Quality & Product Performance With Scalable Solutions. High-Productivity Engineering Team Leader Creating 13 Straight Quarters of Profit in Mobility Startup

Here’s how to remove the current-job default: go to your Experience section, select the pencil icon next to your name, and look for Update My Headline. Uncheck this box and hit Save.

There’s NO BETTER WAY to broadcast your personal brand than to craft a UNIQUE LinkedIn Headline!

By removing emphasis on your current job, you’ll free up space for a compelling, keyword-specific description of your skills and top career wins.

Become the TOP Executive or Board Candidate

You’ll benefit from my recruiting background and insight… winning top jobs for 20+ years!

Award-Winning, Interview-Winning Resumes

See examples of the customized strategy I’ll create for YOUR job search.

4 Reasons You Should Never Post Your Resume on LinkedIn

4 Reasons You Should Never Post Your Resume on LinkedIn

Thought about posting your executive resume directly on your LinkedIn Profile?

You might assume this will save a few steps in the hiring process and make it easier for employers to vet your qualifications.

However, it doesn’t quite work that way. There are good reasons to use LinkedIn as your personal marketing platform and your resume as a powerfully tuned branding tool.

Read on for the 4 main reasons to NEVER post your resume on LinkedIn:

1)  Uploading your resume to LinkedIn could alert your employer of your job search.

alert posting resume on LinkedInAre you in the midst of a confidential job search? Posting your resume on LinkedIn could convince your current employer that you’re looking around for a better opportunity.

You’re probably aware that your employees could be avid users of LinkedIn. If your team sees your full resume posted online, they might become concerned – and start their own job search, if they haven’t done so already.

Rather than making it obvious that you’re looking for a change, it’s best to simply  keep your LinkedIn Profile UPDATED with changes in skills, new positions, and promotions for a more subtle message of leadership and capability. This strategy is far less likely to indicate that you’re abandoning ship.

 

2)  Publicly posting your resume makes it difficult for recruiters to get paid for sourcing you.

The basis of a recruiter’s business is to identify ideal candidates for their client companies… finding hidden gems, if you will.

When you post your resume on LinkedIn (or on a job board), recruiters lose the ability to claim a fee for finding you and presenting your resume to employers. See 5 Common Myths About Working With Executive Recruiters.

After all, another recruiter could easily send your resume directly to the same employer – or the client company could simply find your resume on LinkedIn themselves!

In order to work successfully with recruiters, you’re best off keeping your resume private until you’ve established a strong relationship with a recruiting firm – enabling you to customize your document (see point #2) and guaranteeing that no other recruiter will be forwarding the same credentials.

 

3)  Uploading your resume to LinkedIn might leak confidential data.

Here’s the BIGGEST reason most executives should refrain from posting their resumes online: it discloses too much insider information about your company.

top secret resume If your executive resume is well-written, it should contain compelling, SPECIFIC details of how you’ve rescued a challenged operation, set new pricing, tightened network security, restructured a division, or gained back market share, as well as the metrics involved.

These stories are crucial in your job search, but NOT for public consumption. Why? They show outsiders how your employer’s business is growing, stagnant, or possibly even facing shutdown.

If your Board or shareholders see this data (and your resume) on LinkedIn, there’s a good chance you could be dismissed or at least questioned about your intentions. Rival companies might also be able to use the data in your executive resume to predict your company’s corporate strategy or rush a competing product to market.

Instead, ensure your LinkedIn Profile is regularly updated with a high-level summary of your accomplishments, plus a robust mix of keywords… all toned down to refrain from disclosing corporate secrets.

 

4)  Your resume should be customized to EACH job.

You already know this; an executive resume works much harder when you use it as a tool to show alignment between employer needs and your skills.

Your LinkedIn Profile, however, will often be more “general” in nature – and therefore NOT identical to your resume.

For example, you might have broad skills that let you pursue either a COO and Finance Director role. Your LinkedIn Profile should show BOTH capabilities, but your resume must showcase accounting skills for a Finance position (or operations strategy for a COO job). Otherwise, employers hiring for these positions will see you as a “weaker” candidate.

In addition, resumes must be adjusted to satisfy both Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems and hiring managers. By tuning your resume to reflect the phrases used by your target employers or job postings, it will score higher when reviewed by employer ATS systems.

When you post your resume on your LinkedIn Profile, you won’t get the chance to emphasize specific skills sought by target employers.

 

As you can see, the risks of posting your resume on LinkedIn far outweigh any benefits.

Use your LinkedIn presence to promote your skills and maintain engagement – and reserve your resume as a direct, finely tuned job-search tool.

 

Your Executive Resume & LinkedIn Profile Need Action Words!

Your Executive Resume & LinkedIn Profile Need Action Words!

Your resume and LinkedIn Profile should distinguish you, NOT help you “blend in” with others!

This is where action words come in.

When I worked in recruiting, I often struggled to understand each candidate’s value proposition – especially when they used the same resume language as everyone else.

Over-used phrases and verbs, no matter how they’re used in your resume or on LinkedIn, rarely distinguish you (as shown in Take These Overused, Trite Words Off Your Executive Resume and 7 Phrases to Delete From Your LinkedIn Profile).

Action words, also called power verbs, QUICKLY encapsulate your career story and convey the ROI of hiring you.

These terms will hammer home a message of competence on your resume and LinkedIn Profile.

Here’s the steps to using action words throughout your executive resume and on LinkedIn:

 

1 – First, write your success stories and achievement bullets.

Perhaps you’ve increased revenue, built new teams, or saved costs, so write resume and LinkedIn achievements to show how your work made a difference in the bottom line.

Be sure to include figures that prove the results of your actions and influence, such as percentages, dollar amounts, or other metrics to catch the eye.

For example, your career successes might include revenue increases from consultative sales techniques, creation of a new company division outpacing other business units, or management of all teams engaged in software development.

Not sure how to write standout achievement bullets? See 5 Executive Resume Writing Secrets Used by Experts for insight into the C-A-R (Challenge-Action-Result) method, a powerful tool for capturing your success stories.

 

2 – Next, find replacements for your original words.

Here’s the step where you insert action words or power verbs as impressive replacements!

You can use my personal list of Power Verbs and Action Words for ideas, or Indeed.com’s list of 195 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out.

When choosing new action words, look for terms that show differentiation and leadership, as shown in this Chief Operating Officer resume – where you can see Launched, Initiated, Strengthened, Grew, Transformed, and Instilled in the achievements.

Corporate COO Resume

By replacing tired phrases like Responsible for with Directed, Drove, or Restarted, your resume and LinkedIn presence will show a pattern of leadership and a bias for action.

 

3 – Eliminate repeated verbs or phrases.

Repetition KILLS your personal brand message.

Don’t re-use your action verbs, even if they appear compelling! It’s best to avoid saying you “pioneered” every new accounting method or “spearheaded” each project.

This is the same reason you’ll benefit from using action words in the first place – they reinforce the energy you bring to each role and clarify the intensions behind each achievement on an INDIVIDUAL basis.

Note how action verbs (Expedited, Averted, Cutsave space and avoid repetition in these examples:

Old: Delivered $30M project in fast-paced manner to meet customer deadline and avoid paying $500K in late fees.

New: Expedited $30M project, averting $500K penalty and meeting tight deadline.

Old: Set new contract terms by holding negotiations designed to save $45,000 from original estimate.

New: Cut $45,000 from estimate by negotiating favorable terms.

An added bonus? Each sentence becomes shorter, allowing you to pack your resume or LinkedIn Profile with additional content illustrating your ROI as a candidate.

Action words paint a stronger picture of your personal brand, giving recruiters and employers a clear vision of the energy and skill you bring to the table.

To write a powerful executive resume and LinkedIn Profile, don’t hold back!

Employ power words or action verbs to show your focus on quality and results.

The Surprising Problem With Your LinkedIn Headline

The Surprising Problem With Your LinkedIn Headline

I recently conducted an informal review of LinkedIn Headlines and found a surprising problem: 

More than 90% show ONLY their current job in this field, using perhaps 60 of the 220 characters allowed.

In other words, your LinkedIn Headline is far too SHORT (and boring).

You’re truly missing a golden opportunity to promote a strong personal brand! Here’s why you should change your Headline – immediately:

Your Headline follows you everywhere on LinkedIn.

No matter how others find you on LinkedIn, your Headline is the FIRST field they’ll notice after your name. It shows up in your posts, comments, and anywhere your Profile is found.

If your Headline is limited to your current job, other users can’t discern any difference between you and others in your field.

You’re making others read your ENTIRE Profile to find why you’re good at what you do… and honestly, most of them won’t take the time.

Get around this problem by adding more keywords and even an achievement to your Headline, like this example:

Chief Commercial Officer Leading 23% New Growth From Sales Enablement, Team Motivation, and Shorter Sales Cycles in EMEA and Americas.

You’ll now have an automatic introduction in your Headline that speaks before you do.

Your current job probably doesn’t reflect the one you want.

I’ll bet your job title fails you in numerous ways. Does it describe how you lead teams, cut costs, affect global operations, drive strategy, or any of your other executive competencies?

If you want to be courted by employers or recruiters, show them WHAT you do and WHY you’re an expert in your field.

For example, if you’re a healthcare CEO, Hospital Turnarounds, Patient Care Quality, New Service Lines, and Physician Relations are critical skills. If you add them to your Headline, you could experience a dramatic rise in views to your Profile and a strong possibility of more employer inquiries.

As another example, an IT leader could benefit from incorporating Agile, Digital Transformation, RPA, Remote Connectivity, or other in-demand skills.

See A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline for more pointers.

 

Your Headline is the BEST personal brand tool available on LinkedIn.

Keywords in your Headline will make a HUGE difference in your competitive edge over other leaders. A single skill in this field provides the same effect as using it DOZENS of other times in other sections. (Take my word for it; I’ve tested this multiple times.)

More content in your Headline not only gives you an automatic advantage – it also introduces you (to every LinkedIn user!) as a sought-after leader with robust skills. 

Don’t keep ranking behind others in your industry – and don’t wait to make these changes!

Even if you add a few more keywords and crucial areas of strength in your work, you’ll be far ahead of most LinkedIn users – AND benefit from a standout LinkedIn Headline that showcases your brand.

LinkedIn Tips for The Over-50 Job Seeker

LinkedIn Tips for The Over-50 Job Seeker

If you’re over 50, considering a job search, and haven’t updated LinkedIn or created a profile, you could be in a tough spot.

 

Today, employers and recruiters expect to find your credentials on the site – and they also expect you to be reasonably social media-savvy.

If you’ve never set up a robust LinkedIn Profile (or you’ve never considered why it’s important to do so), these tips will help you make changes in your use and perception of LinkedIn.

 

Change your view of LinkedIn.

First off, you’ll need to embrace LinkedIn for a successful over-50 job search, no matter what you’ve thought of it in the past.

Job seeking practices have changed substantially over the past decade – and with more than 760 million users, LinkedIn has emerged as THE hub for job seekers and employers to exchange information.

Nearly 95% of all employers use the site to identify and court job seekers, according to some studies. It’s been said that if you can’t be found on LinkedIn, you don’t exist.

By putting more of your personal brand message out there for public viewing, you can gain a stronger online presence that backs up your credibility as an applicant. Conversely, some employers and recruiters may discover you on LinkedIn first, then request your resume (rather than the other way around).

It’s important to realize that you already HAVE an online identity, no matter if you populate LinkedIn or not.

Google yourself, and you’re likely to see online entries with your name, job title, age, or even your address. You’re far better off controlling this information, and LinkedIn is one of the BEST tools for this purpose.

 

Fill in every section of LinkedIn possible for maximum results.

The best sections to use are the Headline, About, Experience, Skills, Education, and Certifications. Don’t worry if you can’t completely populate each area at first.

writing on LinkedInBy design, LinkedIn will prompt you to finish empty sections, helping you to add data that appeals to employers and other users looking to connect with you.

Some users in the over-50 category make the mistake of leaving a barely done LinkedIn Profile on display, which does little to convince employers of your personal brand value.

Instead, supply as much information as possible to leverage the site’s AI-backed algorithms, which drive more traffic to users with robust Profiles (especially when these users comment on posts of professional interest).

You can also review Profiles of other users in your field for inspiration.

 

Build a strategy for showing dates of employment and education.

Most employers are interested in your history from the past 10-15 years, no matter if you fit the over-50 group or not. Therefore, your Experience section should focus on this part of your career.

You can also, if needed, eliminate dates of attendance from your college studies on LinkedIn by omitting the year of graduation when specifying degrees or university programs.

What if you have relevant job experience (such as previous military history) from past roles that would otherwise “date” you as a candidate?

Simply fold these into your last job entry in the description field, captioned as “Additional Experience” and noting the name of the organization. This strategy will allow you to keep the information, but emphasize the experience, rather than the time period in which it occurred.

 

Tune your LinkedIn Profile to match employer searches.

It’s important to align the content of your LinkedIn Profile with common terms in your industry and at your career level, so that others can find you and potentially recruit you. The best way to do this? Research and insert keywords into specific parts of your profile.

employer LinkedIn search First of all, identify the skills you commonly use in your work – particularly those you find in job postings.

A Chief Operating Officer job might list Process Improvement or Manufacturing Efficiency, while a VP of Sales could include Customer Relationships or Consultative Selling.

Be sure to incorporate technology expertise, as these skills are expected to become even more important in today’s AI and automation-centric business climate.

Next, ensure these skills are featured in your LinkedIn Headline and About section. You can look at A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline to get ideas on filling in your Headline field for the most impact.

Since LinkedIn’s algorithm is focused on the recurrence of common keywords, you can add them in several places throughout your Profile for better keyword density. These include the Skills, Certifications, Projects, and Job Title fields.

 

Adjust your LinkedIn Photo for optimum results.

Don’t ignore the need for a headshot on your Profile! According to LinkedIn, users with a Photo receive up to 14 times more views.

Put your best professional foot forward with a headshot that reflects your current professional stature, rather than trying to hide your age with an outdated photo.

Consult a stylist or ask your photographer for tips, explaining the purpose of your photo and selecting a shot that demonstrates vibrancy and professionalism for a well-qualified candidate.

You can also review the Profiles of other users at your career level to get a feel for accepted attire, demeanor, backgrounds, and other elements of your headshot. After all, these may be your competitors for a new job.

 

Remember that LinkedIn can be a strong and effective job seeking tool at any age and level.

By demonstrating your ability to navigate social media and your effectiveness in supplying relevant data, you will be in a better position to impress employers and control your online identity.

 

Originally published on Job-Hunt.org

 

Are You Making The Top LinkedIn Mistakes in Your Executive Job Search?

Are You Making The Top LinkedIn Mistakes in Your Executive Job Search?

Executives, you might NOT be maximizing LinkedIn in a way that will help get you hired.

If you’re rarely approached by recruiters on LinkedIn, or you apply to LinkedIn jobs and don’t receive a response, or you wonder why you even need a LinkedIn Profile… these mistakes might apply to YOU.

Read on for common pitfalls to avoid when using LinkedIn as a tool in your executive job search:

 

Mistaking a resume summary for a LinkedIn summary.

executive resume summaryYour LinkedIn About section (formerly called Summary) is a great tool for presenting a snapshot of your brand and value proposition. However, many people mistake this for the resume summary of qualifications, and insert a long, dull paragraph.

I can’t say this enough as a LinkedIn Profile writerOnline copywriting is much different than writing for printed or emailed documents. You’ll need to create your profile so that it can easily be read online, using FIRST-PERSON language to create engagement.

Rather than use your resume summary, instead write a more personalized account of your background and qualifications, breaking up the text visually so that employers can quickly scan through for key words.

See Job-Hunt.org’s tips on adding eye candy such as bullet symbols to make your About section more interesting.

 

Failing to engage others online.

LinkedIn engagementIf you only lurk to read posts, rarely comment, and have yet to post any articles or information of your own, this applies to YOU.

LinkedIn has beefed up engagement algorithm “rankings” heavily over the past months, making it clear that direct interaction is a major factor in how often others will see your Profile.

Just like websites that continually show you the same ad after you’ve visited the company website, LinkedIn wants to reward users who fully embrace the concept of online networking (see point #3 in How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works) by showing these Profiles more often to recruiters.

You’ll still need to tune your Profile for strong content, but after you start commenting on posts of professional interest (or putting your own posts up regularly), don’t be surprised if more employers come calling.

 

Conveying a message inconsistent with your executive resume.

There’s no way around it – employers will be trolling LinkedIn for information about you, even if you’ve already sent your resume to them to review. The problem comes in when your job history, core competencies, or achievements appear different online than on paper. (Lest you think this is rare, I can assure you it’s very common among executives with decades of experience.)

After writing both your LinkedIn Profile and your resume, I recommend printing them out, and reviewing information such as job dates, dollar figures, education, achievements, job titles, and employer names SIDE-BY-SIDE. You’ll be able to spot any discrepancies quickly.

In addition, reviewing the profile this way allows you to see if it delivers the same value proposition message as your resume.

If you missed highlights of your career (such as metrics on revenue generated or cost savings), it’s best to add this data into your LinkedIn Profile so that it aligns with your brand.

 

Failing to use all the space provided on LinkedIn.

executive resume using LinkedInYou’re guilty of this if your About / Summary contains just a few sentences, you didn’t even realize your Headline can be 220 characters, your Work Experience only includes titles (and no description of your achievements), or you skipped sections like Skills & Expertise.

Employers and recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates with specific skills or career experience. By adding information that contains key search terms, your odds of being found by recruiters can rise dramatically. (See How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO.)

Here are the current character limits for popular LinkedIn sections:

  • Headline – 220 Characters
  • Summary – 2,600 Characters
  • Skills & Expertise – Up to 50 Skills
  • Company Name – 100 Characters
  • Job Title – 100 Characters
  • Job Description – 2,000 Characters

If your Profile isn’t CLOSE to maxing out each of these spots, you’re missing valuable opportunities to advertise your skills or insert more keywords.

Want proof? Take a look at my LinkedIn Profile (or search for me on LinkedIn, using the phrase “executive resume writer” in LinkedIn.) You’ll quickly see why every word counts.

 

Using an outdated LinkedIn Photo that detracts from your personal brand.

Have you cropped your LinkedIn Photo from a family or group shot? Used a Photo from a non-professional setting such as a party? Shown yourself behind the wheel of your car?

PLEASE use a photo representative of your executive brand! Run it through Photofeeler to crowdsource feedback on your credibility.

If you’re unsure of the right professional look, review Profiles of your executive competitors to see how their photo stacks up against yours. See What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand? for more tips.

The bottom line: every time you appear in a search on LinkedIn, or comment on a post, or show up in a group of optimum recruiter candidates, others WILL use your Photo to gauge your credibility. Choose it wisely.

 

Assuming you won’t be hired from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn hiringIt’s interesting how often this comes up in conversations with executive job hunters. Nearly 94% of recruiters worldwide use social media to source candidates, according to this survey.

Even if you’ve never been approached by a recruiter online, your competitors are receiving inquiries weekly (if not daily).

Update your Profile consistently, ensuring alignment with your most current executive roles and showing how you add value for your employers.

Pay attention to NEW ways you can market your expertise, such as the Featured section or a newly expanded Headline. Above all, INTERACT with others and post interesting content.

 

You only have ONE SHOT to promote yourself on a site with more than 600 million users.

Rethink how you’re using LinkedIn and tune your presence for a differentiating, powerful leadership brand.

Related:

Is Your Digital Identity Harming Your Job Search?

5 Common Myths About Working With Executive Recruiters