Communicate Your Value On LinkedIn To Nail Your Job Search

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In recent weeks I learned that several professionals in my circle have left their current position, some not by choice. Many have not conducted a job search in decades and feel challenged about where to start.

As a communications strategist, I work with leaders on their executive visibility strategy to share their thought leadership and build their professional reputation. I help executives to power up their profiles with an eye on positioning themselves for their next career adventure or advance at their current organizations.

I’m sharing my four-part framework here in the interest of serving the many talented professionals looking for their next position. The goal is to showcase yourself and your accomplishments so that your next employer will understand what they’re getting, and move you to the top of the candidate list.

Before anything else in your job search, your first move is to step up your LinkedIn profile. Yes, even before polishing your resume. An impactful LinkedIn profile is key in designing a search that lands you the job, because it helps recruiters find you through proactive searches designed to identify viable candidates.

“People need to understand that recruiters are searching LinkedIn for candidates using sophisticated keyword search terms,” said recruiter Amy Dordek Dolinsky, director of business development at Lucas James Talent Partners. “If your LinkedIn profile is lackluster, you won’t even show up on our radar, let alone be considered.”

A LinkedIn profile that lists only your job titles and educational degrees will not pull recruiters to you and is the easiest way to get bypassed. Improve your odds by using a few straightforward strategies:

1: Narrow your focus

A laser focus is key to your success. People with a great deal of experience know they can do many things, but a multitude of skills might come across as vague and confused. In a job search, it’s essential to hone your focus on what you do best, how you deliver results and what people will pay you for. The Japanese concept of ikigai can help you articulate your purpose and communicate your value.

  • Take a fresh look at your personal brand. Personal branding harkens back to a 1997 article by management guru Tom Peters, who introduced the concept that individuals adopt the mindset of CEO of your career. (If you want to learn more on personal branding, follow William Arruda.) Newcomers to branding mistakenly believe that it’s about being salesy and using logos and colors. Completely false. A strong brand clarifies values, attitudes and contributions that you bring to your work. At its core, personal branding is a strategic move to showcase your value in a way that appeals to your target audience, which in this case is your future employer.
  • Also think about a career mission statement, or a simple statement of “I help (audience) by (what value you bring).” Consider a statement like “I work with tech companies to increase revenue through customer engagement” or “I help product development teams get to market faster through accelerated innovation.” This type of statement might be part of your headline. But we’ll get to that.

These exercises are helpful for professionals who have kept their heads down at work and now have the challenge of deciding to stay the course or make a career pivot.

2: Excavate your keywords

With your focus more clear, take a fresh look at how you present yourself by gathering outside data from former colleagues, trusted acquaintances and friends:

  • Make a list of trusted colleagues, former co-workers and friends. Send each an individual email or text asking them to reply with three words that describe you and your work. Be sure it’s an individual message, or through a tool like Survey Monkey, so that they cannot “reply all.” You want one response per person to get their individual input rather than have them influence each other.
  • Write the responses on Post-Its and group them on a wall. Move them around until you see commonalities about your work style, personality, etc. You’ll be using these descriptors to identify the secret sauce you bring, and it may remind you of traits essential to your next role. Words like “insightful,” “effervescent” or “uplifting” can help future employers get to know you.
  • Do a deep dive into your recent work to get an accurate picture of what went well, what could have been better and where you’d like to go next.
  • Now search LinkedIn for a job that fits your experience and that sounds exciting to you. Pull keywords that fit your work experience and represent your capabilities. This exercise will help you identify what is most important to your potential employer.

3: Construct your profile

Now you’re ready to write. With your keywords gathered and categorized, and your ideal job in mind, you’ll begin crafting a narrative that celebrates your accomplishments and showcases the traits that contributed to your success.

  • Your headline should be about the value you deliver, not the the title of the position you just left. This might be your career mission or how you help your audience.
  • Articulate your philosophy toward work and the value you bring in your “About” section. This is not the place to reiterate your resume – put those accomplishments under each position. This section is where you tie it up in a bow by summarizing your approach to your career.
  • Describe each of your previous positions using bullet points. Each bullet point should begin with an active verb (not “responsible for”). Be austere with your language and focused on numbers. Embrace a “say it shorter” philosophy and omit fluffy words.
  • If you’re not confident in your writing, consider swapping services with an accomplished writer, or run it though a generative AI tool. But remember, the strategy and background come from you. If you use any tools or writing partners, do a strong edit to be sure it represents your voice.
  • Select a couple LinkedIn profiles you admire and see how they treat the various sections. This is not the time to copy – that’s called plagiarism and it’s become more prominent, and also easier to discover. Simply use these profiles as an inspiration.
  • Visuals are essential. Include a recent head shot, not the one from ten years ago when your hair was completely different. You want to showcase your best self today, not surprise people when they meet you in person. And don’t forget the banner at the top. Make a custom banner using Canva, or upload a photo that represents your field.

You’ll want to strike a balance between coming across as too modest and overly boastful. Test your messages by having a few trusted people evaluate whether you need to take things up or down a notch.

4: Create your thought leadership strategy

To further demonstrate your expertise, be sure to begin posting consistently. This is important in further communicating to future employers how you approach work.

  • Avoid the daily quandary of what to post by planning content in advance. Although the algorithm seems to change daily, conventional wisdom indicates that twice a week is all it takes to show up more frequently in other people’s feeds. Spend some time brainstorming topics that will help your professional community. Content marketers plan about 80% of their posts in advance. Take a few hours to plan eight posts and you’ll be set for a full month.
  • Make it easier for recruiters to find you by using keywords and hashtags important to your industry that will help you show up in search.
  • You don’t have to write every post from scratch. Curate your feed by sharing posts that pertain to your expertise, including articles that might be of interest to your network. Add your own perspective, such as “I agree with this article by Joe Schmo for this reason, and I’ll add that…”

Rather than considering LinkedIn an afterthought, reframe to make it the primary strategy in your job search. By presenting a well-considered profile that showcases the value you bring to your profession, you’ll be on your way to scoring that new role that’s perfect for your skills and interests.

To get on the waitlist for my “Communicate Your Value” tool, sign up here.

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