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.

Should You Write Your Own Executive Resume?

Should You Write Your Own Executive Resume?

As an executive resume writer, I commonly hear executives and rising leaders say, “I wrote my own resume a while ago, but it just doesn’t work anymore,” when describing their difficulty in the job search.

Here’s why: at the executive level, the whole game changes. Your college resume won’t cut it anymore!

You’ll need to show critical initiatives, strategic planning, global and national leadership, cultural change, turnarounds, fiscal acumen, Board collaboration, market analysis, and other details in order to compete. 

So, should you write your own executive resume? Here are 4 crucial considerations:

1 – Can you identify your own personal brand?

It’s been noted that a personal brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.

If you can frame this value proposition by succinctly expressing the core of who you are, how you influence and engage others, the steps you take to move the company forward, and what your results look like, you’ll have a good start to your personal brand.

Executive resume writing requires that you both describe AND substantiate your personal brand in every phrase, achievement, and bullet sentence – avoiding off-brand information while labeling your skills at the precise executive level you’re targeting.

2 – Can you gather data to substantiate it?

If you’re serious about advancing to the next step on the career ladder, you’ll need to mine your 360 reviews, performance evaluations, and colleague testimonials for key metrics.

If you can’t recall quantifiable proof of your results, use percentage ranges to show approximate figures for sales revenue growth, cost savings, or other accomplishments.

Try the steps from How to Write a Great Resume – Fast to pull in critical data on your successes, turnaround achievements, and leadership story, keeping in mind that others often have a better perspective on your value than you do.

3 – Can you express your value in achievement-driven, keyword-specific language?

Executive resume writing isn’t about rearranging words on the page; it requires prioritized data to rise to the top of your document, with supporting details strategically placed throughout the resume.

Remember – employers and recruiters WON’T read very far into your document (see What’s Wrong With Your C-Level Resume? for details). All the salient details need to be up front and easy to navigate, accompanied by powerful metrics and keywords to carry you through ATS software.

In addition, your executive resume must tell your story in a mere 2 to 3 pages, without using a tiny font or non-existent margins.

4 – Will your new executive resume keep pace with 2021 resume trends?

Are you familiar with what employers look for these days?

Bring yourself up to speed faster by looking around at the current trends in resume writing, ensuring your familiarity with top executive resumes from around the world. Read What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2021 to get more detail on these trends.

This is especially important if you’re still somehow convinced that your resume needs to fit on a single page, contain your picture, or use an objective (hint: these are incredibly outdated assumptions!).

Remember, in today’s job market, you’re more likely to compete against a professionally written resume than ever before

It pays to be aware of new standards and innovation in executive resume writing, and consider whether you need to hire an executive resume writer to help you – or if you can go it alone.

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2021

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2021

Planning a 2021 job search?

Your resume will need a powerful introduction, solid metrics, a cutting-edge format, and yes, even a mention of your COVID-related skills.

Most employers will look briefly at the top of your resume… then follow your career history to see the dates of your jobs. Then they’ll look to see where you attended college.

And they’ll wind up right back up at the top, especially if nothing piqued their interest!

In 2021, the format, metrics, and personal brand message of your executive resume are more important than everWhen you design a compelling document with clearly described accomplishments, you’ll be more likely to capture attention and land an interview. 

Here’s what your resume should look like in 2021:

 

A Fresh, Cutting-Edge Resume Format.

Resumes in 2021 should employ a powerful format designed around your personal brand and ROI. Don’t add onto your college resume format! Instead, consider what a strategically planned presentation can do for your career.

what your resume should look like in 2021

This example shows how your resume should look in 2021 – proudly touting this executive’s career level, leadership philosophy, and signature wins.

In 2021, the employment market may be more competitive than ever – and your choice of format could make your resume either memorable or forgettable!

Use an easy-to-read font (try Calibri, which is a clean, sans-serif font popular on resumes and readable on nearly every platform).

For an even more elegant look, consider a slightly different font for headings.

The main idea? Easy navigation, with powerful elements that help you stand out.

See more 2021 resume examples here.

 

Metrics-Driven Achievements.

Employers will ALWAYS want to see how much you’ve improved, grown, or turned around companies and divisions.

By quantifying your results in previous roles, you’re implying that you will achieve (or even EXCEED) these feats. An added bonus: metrics make your resume easier to read, as the eye is drawn to figures more than dense blocks of text.

What your resume needs in 2021 are specific wins – clearly expressed in percentages, dollar figures, and other measures of success. Use these examples as inspiration for a 2021 resume that impresses employers:

  • Delivered global ERP implementation 14% ahead of schedule and $3M under budget.
  • Created shipment tracking product suite driving customer satisfaction to 98% (all-time high).
  • Maintained 99.999% systems availability (despite 23% less staff due to COVID).

To quantify your career wins, look at budgets, project deployments, headcount, revenue growth, cost savings, market rankings, technology improvements, and any other measurements important in your job – then fold these figures into your resume content.

Also, don’t forget to inject a dose of power into your 2021 resume with action verbs (also called power words); see Why Your Executive Resume Needs Action Words for tips on where to place these words, plus a full list you can use on your resume.

 

A Short, Memorable Resume Summary.

Instead of a boring resume summary that looks like everyone else’s, design a short, pithy summary that describes your career level and goals, along with an achievement or two followed by soft skills.

This hooks employers, and makes them eager to meet you. Try this formula for a powerful 2021 resume summary, with examples shown for each component:

Job Title & Span of Experience

  • Division CFO – Metals & Manufacturing
  • Corporate Strategy, EMEA & Americas
  • Healthcare & Hospital System COO

Soft Skills & Tendencies

  • High-performance team-building and mentoring – producing next-generation leaders
  • Aligning technology with business needs in nonprofit and healthcare environments
  • Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints

Notable Achievements

  • 172% revenue growth against downturn market
  • Multimillion-dollar IT initiatives in cloud and digital transformation
  • New OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production

Relevant Credentials

  • TEDx speaker
  • ITIL and AWS certifications
  • Wharton Cybersecurity education

Then put it all together for a summary that wows employers in 2021:

Division CFO – Metals and Manufacturing. Noted for high-performance team building and mentoring – producing next-generation leaders. Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints. Led new OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production. TEDx speaker.

By including keywords, metrics, proper names, and distinguishing details in a concise and potent paragraph, your 2021 resume summary will be hard to resist.

 

COVID-19 Leadership and Adaptability.

resume update for covidIt’s rare to find an executive whose work hasn’t been affected by the pandemic.

So add details to your 2021 resume to demonstrate how you held the operation together, retained customers, or maintained high levels of productivity.

You don’t have to emphasize the negative effect of COVID, either; it’s sufficient to state “Preserved 70% of B2C revenue streams during pandemic operations” or “Enabled remote work for 45% of FTEs in just 12 days.”

The main idea is to show how you influenced and led operations in pressure-filled situations.

By demonstrating the flexibility needed in uncertain times, you’re showing employers how you’ll react in any future crisis situation.

Your resume should look like an exceptional presentation of leadership skill and resourcefulness in 2021, with a well-designed strategy showing the right format, metrics, and value proposition to employers.

Get a glimpse of more well-designed resumes for 2021

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?

After seeing too many inappropriate executive photos on LinkedIn, I have to ask: What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

Executives, Here’s How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Your next executive job search might require a virtual interview. Here’s how to get ready.

6 & 7-Figure Resume Trends You Need to Know

Resumes for 6 and 7 figure jobs have changed. Here’s what you need to know.

5 Pandemic-Related Achievements to Add to Your Resume Now

5 Pandemic-Related Achievements to Add to Your Resume Now

The pandemic has created HUGE changes in business – and your resume needs to reflect your skill in navigating them.

Shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, remote work for nearly 46% of US employees, and industry changes have all created a “new normal” in business.

How have YOU adapted to new pandemic challenges? Has your work required managing teams in a far-flung location – or a newly intensive workload? By demonstrating leadership under pressure, you’ll be perceived by employers as a more valuable candidate.

Add these 5 important skills to your resume to show resilience and results during the pandemic and beyond:

1 – Newly remote teams established across time zones.

Offshore teams are not a new concept, but the skill needed to establish and manage a division in a remote area has taken on more significance during the pandemic.

Perhaps you offloaded work to teams in a different time zone, adapted to a different work culture in another continent, or adjusted your leadership style to convey requirements to remote workers.

If you’ve set up a remote team, break this achievement into a quick description for your resume, with data on the location, headcount, operations procedures, budget, and costs saved from the new group, as shown here:

Established 120-member contact center in Malaysia, delivering 32% additional support to ecommerce customers.

Built business case for 50 additional employees in software development factory, enabling $30M in products delivered at 30% lower cost.

 

2 – Virtual hiring and interviewing.

More than ever, employers have switched to remote interviews, recorded interview queries, and other tactics to vet applicants.

By showcasing your influence in sourcing or interviewing candidates remotely, you can make the case for why an employer in Fresno could trust your leadership from Boston.

You can mention, for example, how you’ve hired top performers using video interviews during COVID-19 or assembled a panel interview team connecting with candidates on a group Zoom call. Be sure to add metrics to these resume achievements, as shown here:

Interviewed and hired new teams in Malaysia, India, and Brazil representing 45% of total reports.

Hired CFO and VP of IT using virtual Board of Directors interviews.

You can also mention new onboarding procedures you’ve built to help employees feel welcome, even when they haven’t met your team in person.

 

3 – Team meetings and collaboration over video.

If you’re accustomed to meeting deadlines from home or need to conduct group meetings via Zoom, your ability to be productive away from a brick-and-mortar office is HIGHLY relevant during the pandemic.

Brainstorm a list of achievements that show your adaptability to different work situations, such as the number of projects you’ve completed. Maybe you created new procedures now adopted across other regions or continents also grappling with pandemic.

Make a list of the top wins that show how you deal with online interactions, particularly where you negotiated or led deals of substantial value. Add details on the players involved, impact to the company, or even the careers of the others involved, similar to these examples:

Coached 3 Senior Sales leaders promoted to VP positions after leading global negotiations for #1 UK deal worth $US43M.

Built real-time project status updates enabling on-time development for a $45M software initiative.

 

4 – Solid results from remote management practices.

Executives and teams spread across different time zones require new methods of communication to get results. This resume achievement shows how one executive increased company productivity from multiple locations:

Designed operational improvements enabling 43% additional work from teams in Canada, Latin America, and India.

In addition, you can mention the technologies or tools used for improvement, such as:

Instituted one-click Zoom screen-sharing process used by Latin American trainers to educate 400+ new product users worldwide.

5 – Strong employee support for pandemic stress.

Your teams probably underwent changes including  new ways to handle B2B sales, customer support, project delivery, and technical issues, while also managing their OWN STRESS from social isolation, home-based work requirements, or childcare needs during the pandemic.

Did you manage and mentor employees in response to pandemic-era changes? Frame this as a new leadership skill on  your resume.

You may have conducted additional training or coaching with team members to help them through the new world of work, or helped adjust project schedules to account for employees juggling family needs. This approach to leadership is likely to last; The Workforce Institute’s 2021 Annual Workplace Predictions says “compassionate and inclusive management that emphasizes empathy, wellness, and belonging” will be a 2021 mainstay.

Add achievements that make employers aware of your resourcefulness in managing the new world of work, as in these examples:

Chaired COVID-19 Response Committee tasked with updating telecommuting policy for 2020 and 2021.

Retained 4 managers with weekly mentoring to avoid pandemic burnout, averting potential $15K in additional hiring costs.

Built tiered, rotating technical support strategy for $20M in project deliverables across 3 global teams.

These resume updates reflect robust change management skills – and show how you’re equipped to deal with the unexpected throughout your career.

 

With the likelihood that remote work and virtual communications are here to stay, there are numerous reasons to outline your readiness to operate a division, manage remote teams, and maintain top productivity during a pandemic.

Your ability to adapt to new situations, reach across time zones and geographies to work with others, and influence change is more valuable than ever.

Showcase these wins on your resume to demonstrate strong servant leadership and change management – even under pandemic challenges.

 

Related:

Should You Job Search – or Wait – During the COVID-19 Crisis?

Which Resume Trends Will Help You Stand Out?

The 7 Questions to Ask an Executive Resume Writer

The 7 Questions to Ask an Executive Resume Writer

Seeking an executive resume writer to fast-track your job search?

If you’re starting to compare executive resume writers, you’ll find a field FLOODED with practitioners, all offering different credentials and varying price points.

So how can you ask the right questions to select the best executive resume writer for YOUR situation?

As a first step, look at executive resume writer websites to view (or request) samples of executive resumes.

You should be able to see a clear strategy, powerful writing, and the right executive positioning in each document.

Then, spend time qualifying executive resume writers, using these 7 questions:

 

1 – How long have you been writing executive resumes?

Your career as a C-level or rising executive requires well-honed insight in order to tune the wording, format, tone, keywords, document flow, and length appropriate to land your target position.

In fact, dozens (to HUNDREDS!) of decisions go into the executive resume writing process, and these decisions are best left to a writer who has dealt with a myriad of leadership stories.

For example, if you’ve held a recent position for only a short time, a skilled executive resume writer will be able to make the call for keeping this role on your new resume, or discarding it in favor of your other jobs.

The same is true for decades-long work histories, rare degrees, or other items that might be best trimmed or saved for a particular section of your resume.

A top-level executive resume writer will offer you at least 6-10 years (even decades) of resume writing experience to present your career in the best light.

Resume writers who are just starting out will need to get a few years of experience before diving into executive-level writing. Even those with Master’s degrees or years of recruiting can find writing at the executive level to be particularly daunting.

 

2 – What do you know about my field?

It’s been said that a great executive resume writer can produce a resume for any industry, but did you realize many resume experts have an area of specialty?

Just like your lawyer takes on litigation or estate planning (but not both), some resume writers may NOT be the best resource for your field – so you’ll want to ask this question BEFORE handing over the details of your career story.

This is even more important if your field is unique. Most executive resume writers have handled “common” careers such as VP of Sales.

However, if your executive background involves deep-sea research science, locomotive engineering, primitive zoology, or top-secret global innovation, you’ll need to ask questions about the resume writer’s domain experience and tie-in to your industry.

Don’t forget to tap professional resume writing associations, especially if you’re seeking a writer possessing specialized experience.

You can search for resume writers by using the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, National Resume Writers’ Association, Career Thought Leaders, or Career Directors International websites.

 

3 – How many people have you personally hired?

You can also ask “How many times have you been interviewed?”

What you’re looking for is REAL-WORLD experience sitting in the interviewee’s or recruiter’s chair.

Why does this matter? Anyone can write a resume, but road-testing it is CRUCIAL. If you’ve ever had to defend your resume in an interview, or look the candidate in the eye and assess both their skills and company fit, you know there’s much more behind these actions than a pretty format and the right buzzwords.

Resume writers who’ve done their time assessing candidates or found their own jobs in the past know your concerns. They realize they’re not just writing a document, but earning your trust and staking their knowledge of effective job-hunting practices on your resume.

They’re also focused on results, including the reactions of your interviewers. Hiring authorities are known for asking tough questions! 

A resume writer who has sat in your place will know what you’re facing, and will take these scenarios into consideration when producing your documents.

 

4 – What is your process for learning about my background?

The process and information gathering phase is as important as the final product itself – because your executive career must be fully understood before a writer should tackle your project.

Executive resume writers will often provide you a questionnaire and/or an in-depth strategy interview to extract your accomplishments, career trajectory, and value proposition.

No matter how your writer gathers data, it’s important to feel your career background is being THOROUGHLY explored, because your executive resume must employ a fully developed strategy from ALL your career data in order to present your qualifications.

Be careful when selecting an executive resume writer who intends to pull in just a few extra details, mixed with data from your LinkedIn Profile and existing resume. You may find your new resume to be too similar to your existing document, with words merely rearranged on the page.

 

5 – How did you get started in the resume writing field?

The answer you get from this question can be VERY telling.

Many executive resume writers are past recruiters or hiring managers, and they’ll tell you they got involved writing resumes for job seekers who would have otherwise lost out on great job opportunities.

Some executive resume writers also jump into the field after developing impressive writing abilities in other areas, such as web copy, news articles, or other pieces requiring strategic thinking skills. Others began resume writing after seeing a dearth of well-written resumes in their industries.

Here’s what you DON’T want to hear: “I started writing resumes because of a recession,” or “I couldn’t get a job so I turned to resume writing.” A true executive-level resume expert got involved because it’s their calling – plain and simple.

By understanding your writer’s purpose for launching a resume business, you’ll be better positioned to make a decision on the best resume writer to handle your project.

 

6 – What type of training or credentials do you hold?

Even a top executive resume writer will rarely get by with minimal qualifications. In today’s job market, your resume will be closely scrutinized by recruiters, employers, and Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems, and likely face AI-powered screening applications – and the MORE expertise your executive resume writer offers in these areas, the stronger your results are likely to be.

To stay current on the techniques used in executive job search and top-shelf resume writing techniques, many executive resume writers seek external validation of their abilities and continual training.

The professional organizations listed under question #2 offer ongoing education, global summits, certification, and even resume writing contests, including Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) awards from Career Directors International or Recognizing Outstanding Achievement in Resumes (ROAR) awards from the National Resume Writers’ Association, putting skilled writers to the test.

Many executive resume experts also stay in close touch with recruiters and hiring managers. Ongoing training and knowledge-building are key elements of writing at the executive level.

By asking this question, you can get a feel for how current your resume writer is on cutting-edge practices and the demands of today’s job market.

 

7 – Will you write my resume yourself?

Some executive resume writers consult with writing teams or pass writing projects along to other members, while others will completely take on your project, start to finish. While there are pros and cons to each model, it’s best to identify the type of operation PRIOR to making a commitment.

For example, executive resume writers with solo practices are often booked in advance and may not be able to take on an accelerated project (a good idea to keep in mind if you’re contacted for a last-minute opportunity by an executive recruiter). However, you’ll be confident in knowing who is producing your resume.

Some resume writing business owners train or select executive resume writing teams, and can therefore offer you the chance to work with a member of their staff to expedite the process. These operations may also have different processes or coaching resources, in addition to resume experts.

It’s important to decide which model provides YOU the best comfort level and to be aware of what different executive resume services can offer in terms of speed, quality, and support.

 

Taking the time to ask your executive resume writer these questions will pay off in your ability to choose a dedicated, professional resume writing expert.

Of course, you’ll want to find a writer who can produce the BEST executive resume, LinkedIn Profile, and other documents instrumental in your search.

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