Recently I sat on a panel talking to women looking to return to the workforce after a career break and I learned a few pro tips about using LinkedIn that I’ll share with you here.
The panel was hosted by Reboot, a career accelerator for women and included Caroline Lee, a global talent acquisition leader for LinkedIn and Adam Steinharter, who leads talent at Survey Monkey.
Here are the pro tips I gleaned on how to make you LinkedIn profile really sing:
- Turn on the “I’m seeking” functionality.
If you’re currently in job-seek mode and want to bubble up in recruiter keyword searches, navigate to “settings and privacy” under your profile and click on “privacy.” Scroll down to the “job seeking” category and turn “let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” to YES.
This simple (but hard to find) change prioritizes you in the LinkedIn algorithm and helps get you in front of recruiters for better discoverability. Even better, it WILL NOT show your profile to recruiters at your current company. Hooray!
- Keep your job history short and sweet.
Both Adam and Caroline agreed that the LinkedIn profile can be more brief than a resume — think job title with a brief supporting summary statement / bullet point of what you did and highlighted accomplishments. A resume allows for more detail.
That said, the LinkedIn profile offers room for so much more creativity. It shows articles you’ve shared or thought pieces you’ve posted directly to LinkedIn. It shows groups you’re a part of and influencers you follow, and reccommendations from former or current colleagues. There’s also space to note any certificates or online education programs you’ve taken.
- Take the time to post content on LinkedIn.
On the topic of creativity, recognize that your LinkedIn profile is a dynamic, hyper-current representation of your career and career interests, versus a resume that gets dusted off and refreshed infrequently — sometimes after years. It’s easy to use the LinkedIn profile to look fresh and up to date by sharing articles you find interesting or writing a brief post about something relevant to your work or what you want to do. The key is to be authentic.
Caroline shared an example of how she wrote a popular personal post about biking to work. It can be simple!
- Own the career gap.
Both Adam and Caroline advised owning the career gap everywhere — on your resume, in your LinkedIn profile, and in interviews. Recruiters and hiring managers are going to ask you about it anyway if you don’t acknowledge what you’ve been doing. So, better to be up front — and confident. While you may not have been being paid, you’ve likely been doing something interesting and important… like caring for other humans. Oh, and on the side, maybe you were raising thousands of dollars for a school or a non-profit. Or organizing events and working with teams to pull off these events. These things matter — just be clear in the accomplishments.