10 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Boost Your Career

Whether you have joined the Great Resignation or are just hoping for a new opportunity, it can be tough going when you are ready to seek a new role. Russ Riendeau of New Frontier Search Company says you have no better tool available than your LinkedIn page. But you have work to do. Here, he shares 10 tips for using the platform to your best advantage.

February 23, 2022 – Forget all the hype around the pithy Great Resignation phrase that blankets the news with a vision of employees leaving jobs everywhere. The data shows that while more people are indeed resigning, a higher percent of the industries from which they are departing are in hospitality, retail and other sectors impacted by the lack of people being on-site for service. According to a new report from Russ Riendeau, senior partner and chief behavioral scientist with New Frontier Search Company, this reality can also indicate that the same people who are quitting can quit because they have somebody else covering some of their living expenses, or they’ve saved up cash to buy them time to find a new job.

“Regardless of their motives to quit, these candidates will have to atone for their reasons to up and quit and defend perceptions of naivete, impatience, unwilling to do the hard work, unable to deal with tough bosses, lazy, etc.,” said Dr. Riendeau. “While all of these may merely be the perceptions of the hiring manager, they still need to be defended in the interview.”

For the higher income earners and professionals in white collar or manufacturing leadership roles, it’s a different ballgame in finding a new job. And, even among candidates who have invested in Dr. Riendeau’s one-to-one coaching advice to help those that he can’t place, many still struggle with LinkedIn’s ability to influence others.

“Headhunters and hiring managers find candidates online, on job boards and on LinkedIn,” said Dr. Riendeau. “And even if they don’t find you on LinkedIn, the first port of call they head to when they get your resume is LinkedIn, the New Business Yearbook of the 21st Century.”

The pandemic has all but eliminated a prospect’s first interview as a face-to-face event, said Dr. Riendeau. Today’s business professional looking for a new job, new career or advancing their knowledge about an industry, will find their value and callbacks accepted faster with a LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been abandoned or neglected, he said.

Related: Expanding Role of Social Media In Finding Talent to Rise Sharply

Dr. Riendeau’s New Frontier Search Company focuses on senior management, sales professionals, and manufacturing leadership roles. With over 100,000 interviews to his credit, more than 5,000 searches, numerous books, hundreds of articles, keynotes, webinars and TEDx Talks educating professionals about how to present their skills, he is dialed in to spot the best, the serious and the uninformed LinkedIn users.

Russ Riendeau, Ph.D., is senior partner and chief behavioral scientist with New Frontier Search Company, a retained search practice specializing in senior leadership, sales & sales management. The author/co-author of 11 books, numerous TEDx Talks, and a highly regarded keynote speaker, he also consults and writes about behavioral science topics and peak performance.

“A bad picture on LinkedIn will kill the deal,” he said. “It’s not about how old you are; it’s about how healthy, how alert, how self-aware and how committed you are to presenting your best self. LinkedIn is the world stage for you. You have a chance to showcase your strengths, values and intelligence to the world. You can influence how much money you make or are offered in a job, how to influence your promotability, how to influence your knowledge and thought leadership you contribute to your industry,” he noted.

“And you have a platform—free—if you don’t want to pay for an upgrade, to let the world know you are interested in advancing your career,” he added. “And still, the majority of users don’t give an email address, a phone number or even have their LinkedIn setting aligned to be alerted when the headhunter is trying to reach them,” he said.

Dr. Riendeau cited critical factors that can result in a lost opportunity. He shared these 10 tips:

  1. Bad headshot. Give the viewer reason to call you; show energy, confidence and self-awareness. “Ditch the fish you’re showing off, crop out the grandkid on your shoulders, move your cat off your lap, and don’t let me see you sitting on the step of your RV,” he said. “This is business.”
  2. Failing to display a photograph sends a message in itself. Perceptions and optics of why you don’t have a photo can be worse than having a picture. Instead, show your smile and confidence.
  3. Fix your settings on LinkedIn. Study the platform so you are notified when the headhunter is looking for you. “We don’t chase candidates,” said Dr. Riendeau. “Period. One chance and we move on.”
  4. Upload your email address and telephone number now. “Yeah, privacy privacy,” he said. “But if you state you’re really ‘looking for a new job,’ or you’re unemployed, or you’re ‘considering a change,’ how am I supposed to find you? I will give up after one attempt.”
  5. Show some direction. If you use phrases like “Looking for something new” or “Looking for my next challenge,” viewers will see a rudderless professional. Be specific in what you are seeking to do. “This is not a job vending machine world,” said Dr. Riendeau. “Headhunters want a person with direction, focus and commitment. If you’re undecided, I can’t find you a job that you don’t even know what it looks like.”
  6. Post job history information. Listing your employer’s name and dates you worked there isn’t enough. “Tell me why you are good,” he said. “What did you do there to make a difference? What did you do/make/sell/fix/market? Don’t make me guess or I am gone in 1.3 seconds.”
  7. Correct your typos! Bad grammar, unfinished sentences and capitalizing words to attract attention are frowned upon – and are dealbreakers, my friends. “This is your front page to the world,” said Dr. Riendeau. “Look like you belong.”
  8. Showcase your skills and value. Never say aloud that you don’t utilize LinkedIn as a business tool. “Say this to a headhunter or employer and you have labeled yourself unwilling to embrace the use of free, competitive intelligence, free access to best practices in any industry on the planet, as well as visible proof you refuse to invest in yourself and your career to show your skills to the world,” he said. “Unless you’re in the Witness Protection Program or hiding from the IRS, LinkedIn is the most critical tool you have to secure a new career track, a new job, or set yourself apart from the competition by showing your skills and value to the marketplace.”
  9. Highlight your successes. Don’t waste time discussing your philosophy of life or business in the “About” section on LinkedIn. Few employers care about your “philosophy” if you don’t have a good process or a good strategy showing a successful business path or how you advance your professional development. “Show good process and we will know you have a good philosophy,” said Dr. Riendeau.
  10. Show some self-awareness. Rapid job changes and “excuses de jour.” If you have had a number of rapid job changes over the past five years, it will be a challenge to secure the best offer you want in the best company you want. “Don’t try to prove to me or an employer that every job change was ‘a step up … more money … a better opportunity … I was laid off, not my fault … it was the pandemic …,’” he said. “Tell me what you learned as a result of what happened or why you made a bad decision to take the job/leave the other job in the first place. Show maturity and self-awareness that you learned something and why your pattern of changes will stop right now.”

“If your friends, networking partners, parents, mentors, spouses, significant others, outplacement counselors, recruiters, or career counselors are not pointing out what we covered here then they are not doing you any favors,” Dr. Riendeau said. “You have to own it. These ideas are real world, real time, real tough, and reality in a pandemic world. Employers need top talent. But they still are risk averse, stressed out and unwilling to take a flyer in paying a lot of money to a candidate who doesn’t invest in themselves to study their craft, study the industry they want to join, or invest time to create a compelling and truthful LinkedIn profile,” he noted.

Every person involved in a hiring process will look at your LinkedIn profile and pass judgement, unfair or not, Dr. Riendeau said. “Top hiring managers won’t call you and neither will the headhunters sourcing the top jobs if you don’t look – and act – the part. Go jump on LinkedIn today and clean yourself up!”

Related: Social Media Continues to Play Big Role in Recruiting

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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