Professional resume writer Lisa Rangel offers pointers to CIOs on optimizing their LinkedIn profiles in order to get found by recruiters and hiring managers.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important resources you have for reinforcing your personal brand and IT executive candidate appeal. Use this LinkedIn profile checklist to highlight your key accomplishments and deliver important information to hiring managers about who you are and your capabilities.
1. Optimize Your Tagline for Your IT Leadership Brand
LinkedIn’s official algorithm information on how you get to the top of a search is an industry secret. But what is known, is how important it is to optimize your tagline with keywords.
In your tagline, also known as your headline, use the words, descriptors and deliverables that you want to be found for. Do not let it default to your current job title, instead, use this area for an optimized description of who you are and the position you want to target, if possible. Focus on the first 40 characters of the 120 character allotment, as that is what is first seen on many mobile devices.
Utilize keywords for the Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Digital Officer, as well as the CIO, CTO and CDO abbreviatied versions, and EVP/SVP/VP of Information Technology position for which you want recruiters to find your profile. Incorporating titles and keywords pertaining to infrastructure, big data, storage, or ecommerce, for example, in your tagline will help hiring managers discover your profile and enable your reader to stay on your profile longer to take action.
2. Use a Professional Photo
Having a photo attached to your LinkedIn profile is critical – as long as you use a photo that is professional and appropriate for the type of industry you are in and the type of job you are applying for. Recruiters and hiring managers want to feel a personal connection with you as a candidate, which is why your photo is so important.
Use a cropped headshot that is free from blurs, other people and distractions. Make sure you look approachable and eliminate unnecessary backgrounds, below the torso details, and any awkward poses.
3. Achievement-Driven Summary
The summary section provides you a space to showcase your achievements and key accomplishments. It should be filled with examples of how you have achieved goals, and not a recap of your previous titles and responsibilities. Focus on the first 170 characters, which is what are visible on most mobile devices before the reader has to click to read more of the 2000 characters you are allowed in the summary.
Remove fluff and clichés from your summary and instead, make it jam-packed with action-driven information and language, letting your personality shine through. Discuss fiscal, human capital, strategic achievements, in addition to the technology accomplishments to demonstrate your well-rounded leadership brand.
4. Use Keywords in Summary and Experience Sections
Keywords are important throughout your profile, not just your tagline. In your summary and experience sections, be sure to use words that you want hiring managers to “find you” for in a keyword search. Cut and paste a job description into a word cloud function, such as wordle.net, to identify keywords and acronyms that you need to have in your profile to promote your IT leadership brand and accomplishments.
Use descriptor words that share your abilities, subject matter expertise, and skillsets as often as possible, especially in your summary and experience sections.
5. Choose the Right Skills and Endorsements
The skills section allows you to create an instant association to different skillsets that you want to be known for. Be careful in choosing the right skills for the job you are seeking and your personal brand. You can reference the job descriptions you are applying to for guides on keywords and phrases to include.
The options seem limitless – but here is the place to remember your specialization and focus only on the skills that make the most sense for your overall profile and the types of roles you are seeking.
Your LinkedIn connections will then be able to provide endorsements for these skills to indicate that you possess the abilities required for future positions. Choose to keep only the relevant and most pertinent endorsements. It is OK to delete endorsements for topics not pertaining to what you want to be found / recruited for.
6. Complete All Sections, Including Education and Interests
The more complete your profile, the higher up in the rankings your profile will be. Be sure to complete all of the sections including Education and Interests.
Insert the applicable information – being conscious about the overall impact it will have on your personal brand. Include details that help enhance your brand and make your profile stronger.
7. Claim a Vanity URL
It’s a lot easier to point people to your LinkedIn profile, when you have a direct link with your name in it. LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL easily, and you should absolutely change it. Otherwise, you will be stuck with a longer, generic LinkedIn URL that will be difficult to include on your resume materials and/or business cards.
For example, my vanity URL is: www.linkedin.com/in/lisarangel/
These subtle IT efficiencies send a message that you are progressive in your technology knowledge across the board, even when social media has nothing to do with your IT expertise. Being up-to-date in non-related, yet publicly-displayed technology reinforces to the reader that you are current in other areas of IT, whether it is relevant or not. It helps your brand, so it’s best to do it.
8. Request Recommendations
Having colleagues, bosses, clients, and others provide a recommendation about your work and capabilities is the best kind of social proof you can get on LinkedIn. Reach out to your connections and ask them to provide a recommendation. The more qualitative the recommendation, the better.
Be sure to approve and include the recommendations on your profile, and return the favor when asked.
9. Showcase Your Work
There are several sections in your profile that allow you to showcase your work and professional credentials, and demonstrate your personality. All of these sections add dimension to your overall brand.
Include relevant information in each of these sections such as Publications, Projects, Courses, Volunteer Experience, and so on. Upload applicable whitepapers, presentations, and videos as applicable. But before adding to these sections, make sure that what you include reinforces your personal brand.
10. Sync Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Resume
In most job application scenarios, people will find your LinkedIn profile after they have reviewed your resume. It’s important that your resume and LinkedIn profile are synced with accurate information across both mediums.
Everything needs to align – it doesn’t have to be word-for-word, but the dates, titles, information, skills, and so on, need to match up in addition to everything in this LinkedIn Profile Checklist.
The 10 steps in this checklist will get you on your way to a LinkedIn profile that stands out and reinforces your personal brand.