Gary Burnison is CEO of Korn Ferry and the author of Leadership U: Accelerating Through the Crisis Curve.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the job market, companies around the world are working on their plans for post-pandemic life — and so should you.
The first step is to up your LinkedIn game. While the nature of job hunting has changed significantly over the past few years, LinkedIn remains one of the most popular tools employers and recruiters use to find candidates.
As the CEO of the world’s largest recruiting company, here are the six biggest LinkedIn mistakes that I’ve even the most seasoned professionals making, along with some examples of how to really stand out:
The absence of a LinkedIn photo can be interpreted as, “I’m too busy to take this seriously.” Use a recent photo you genuinely like, one in which you are projecting confidence and approachability.
As long as you’re dressed consistently with your professional image, it doesn’t matter if the photo is taken by a professional photographer or by a friend with a smartphone.
Want to take things to the next level? Your LinkedIn photo is set against a background image — don’t forget this real estate or shrug it off as “window dressing.” Recruiters search through hundreds of profiles, and your use of imagery might just be enough to make them stop and say, “This looks interesting.”
This title appears right below your photo and name, making it one of the first things people see. Think of this field as your answer to, “What do you do?”
Your brief reply might be, “I’m the vice president of manufacturing for [X company].” Or you might say, “I bring next-generation products from design into the marketplace.” Both are correct. But which is more effective for you? The answer is, it depends.
Here are two things to consider:
Just like an entrepreneur pitching a startup or a writer trying to introduce a screenplay to a producer, you have an idea to sell. That idea is you.
Too often, people think of this section as just a quick timeline listing all their employers and positions held. But CEOs like myself expect to see much more than that.
Just as with your resume, you should use an accomplishment-first approach. In fact, I always suggest leveraging your resume to fill out this section:
Endorsements are a great way to build credibility. For example, your profile might show that Bob Smith and five other professionals endorse your social media skills.
But recommendations are a huge cut above, because they require more than just the click of a button. The most powerful ones are written by genuinely enthused people whose expectations you exceeded.
Something to keep in mind: a thoughtful and well-written recommendation from a peer who speaks with specifics can do more to distinguish your profile than generic comments from people who are many levels above you.
While you want to keep an active profile, you don’t want to be so active online that it looks like you’re never working.
Recently, the online activity of an executive that I was thinking of hiring raised a red flag for me. When I checked out his LinkedIn profile, it appeared he was online multiple times a day — blogging, tweeting and commenting on anything and everything.
Only you can determine the right level of activity. In a world where everything is so transparent and searchable, you want your activity to show that you’re interested in the world and other people, enthusiastically engaged in your work, and connecting with others in meaningful online conversations.
A version of this article appears on cnbc.com