The secret ingredients of job hunting
This post was originally published at the LinkedIn blog I often hear how people have it difficult to understand just why some people are hired and some are not, and seems like sometimes the less skilled people are hired first. How come? Are they more active, do they have larger networks, are they nicer people or more shiny happy personalities? Perhaps, but not likely.
We all understand that the skills and personality are important, but to be found is becoming more and more important all the time, and those people who are hired first, often have gone the extra mile to make themselves found better than the others.
LinkedIn has become the de facto standard for personal branding, especially in job hunting, and to me, it's one of the very few services that allow me to optimize my profile for both the LinkedIn internal search engine as well as for Google search. Do I optimize my profile for search engines? Yes, to certain extent, but rather than spamming my profile with just all the keywords that would rank me no. 1 with my chosen set of skills, I'm also considering that the profile is reader-friendly what some of those top ranking profiles are not. That means that the profile will rank high enough to be found well, but not ranking at the very top, as there are some profiles that are just stuffed with keywords with no sense.
The details of LinkedIn's secret sauce how people are ranked against each other in the search is becoming more widely known all the time, even though the algorithm changes every now and then - like just a little while ago - but the basics remain just about the same. Filling out a resume-like profile highlighting your skills and experience with very concrete keywords is the key day in, day out, no matter how the search algorithm changes. A normal job hunter doesn't need to worry about the technical optimization as long as the core skills are well described and the actual skill-related keywords are repeated plenty across the profile.
Just like with actual ATS (applicant tracking systems) and CV databases, the key to be found high in search results in LinkedIn is all about filling out a profile that is not measured in length, but is filled with very descriptive keywords related to processes, names of technologies, OS, end terminals, names of certifications, tools, platforms, etc.
Remember that recruiters never use adjectives in finding people, but very concrete names and process-related keywords. So fill out a profile that is not restricted into certain length, but fill it out well to the extent that your experience requires, and if there are skills and experience in your past that are of no importance to you today, leave them out or keep them short.
To highlight your seniority, you need numbers. Numbers such as direct or indirect HR responsibilities, budget size, and achievements of all sort. Tell us how you managed an account that was worth XX mEur annually, how you ranked no. 3 out of 20 people in your department, how something you did enabled the company to save 200.000 Euros per anno, how you negotiated new subcontracting agreements and reduced material costs with 7%, how your team was responsible for delivering 10 million smartphones to Asian markets last year, and whatnot. Use numbers to highlight how you achieved and over-achieved your targets several years in a row. Dazzle us with numbers that show how did you significantly better than the average joe, and give the recruiter a reason to talk to you. After all, that's all you want, talk to the man/woman in charge, so you can convince what a shining, motivated and driven personality you are on top of those killer skills of yours.
Good luck with your job search, whether actively looking or waiting to be headhunted!