Author: Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, National Columnist, & Job Search Coach

7 Must-Know LinkedIn Tips for Executives

LinkedIn_Tips_Executives_Laura_Smith-Proulx.jpgAs the most critical site for leaders to express their personal brand, LinkedIn is the place to see and be seen.

But are you making the most of it?

If your LinkedIn activity has been relegated to updating a few words and reading status updates, you could be missing out on significant opportunities.

Employers and executive recruiters WILL search for you online! By crafting a strategy for how to present yourself and build a leadership presence, you’ll be better positioned for job search results.

Here’s what you need to know to extract the best out of LinkedIn:

1 – Updating Your Profile Doesn’t Automatically Signal a Job Search.

Yes, others will see that you’ve made changes… but will your boss confront you about it? If my conversations with executives are any indication, probably not. In fact, I can assure you that your CEO is either doing the same or thinking about it.

You can prevent announcements of your updates (see your Privacy Settings for more information), but there’s no way to keep others from seeing them forever.

If you are still concerned about “giving yourself away,” either update your Profile slowly over time, or apply changes from the bottom up to start getting stronger traffic from keyword searches. Less-obvious activity can still help you get the benefit of a well-designed keyword strategy.

2 – What You Like or Comment On Forms a Significant Part of Your LinkedIn Brand.

ALL of your LinkedIn activity (Likes, Comments, Posts, Articles) will shape public perception of you as an executive leader. Take a look at your colleague’s Profiles and you’ll see an Activity section showing the past 5-6 actions they’ve taken, whether it’s contributing their own input or simply raising that article’s visibility by liking it.

It goes without saying that if your activity on LinkedIn isn’t aligned with your professional interests (and it’s leaning toward inflammatory subjects including news reports or political debates), stop and reconsider the message you’re sending.

Your best bet is to follow thought leaders in your field and companies that interest you, with brand-appropriate commentary on subjects reflecting your expertise.

3 – Your Headline Shouldn’t Be Left to Chance.

LinkedIn is so eager to provide you with a ready-made Headline that it will pick up your current job title as a default. While COO, XYZ Manufacturing might seem good enough, it’s still leaving out plenty of information about you as a leader.

If you’re like most executives, it might seem awkward to brag about your achievements. Rest assured, though: plenty of social media users (including those competing for your next C-suite job) are already doing it.

Read A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline for some straightforward alternatives, including ways to pull in a career-defining accomplishment without over-the-top self-promotion.

4 – Leveraging Other Corners of LinkedIn Can Separate You From the Pack.

Have you added videos, white papers, awards, foreign language skills, certifications, or professional memberships to your LinkedIn Profile? You could be missing out on little-used sections of LinkedIn that can add credence to your brand message.

In addition, some of these sections appear to have a strong pull in the site’s search algorithm. For example, a Cybersecurity credential added in Certifications could further distinguish you in a search on technology executives.

The next time LinkedIn prompts you to consider adding more career-focused data, take a closer look at Certifications, Honors & Awards, Publications, Projects, Languages, Test Scores, Courses, Patents, Volunteer Experience, and Organizations.

By identifying and adding new information in these sections, you could experience a boost in new Connections or recruiting requests.

5 – The First 40 Words in Your Summary Are Critical.

With LinkedIn’s continual new rollouts, your Summary snapshot (what is shown when another user clicks on your Profile) reveals only some of your text – so just the first 282 characters, including spaces (147 on LinkedIn’s mobile app) will be shown.

As mentioned in 282 Reasons to Rewrite Your LinkedIn Summary Now, most people will not take the time to read further, so it’s best to put salient information up front.

I recommend including your target role and career level, as well as notable skills and achievements. Keep it light on the bullets or special characters to preserve space.

This example shows a great Summary introduction that can turn heads:

COO, Global Electronics Manufacturing. Turnarounds in PE-Owned & Public Companies (US, EMEA, APAC). 20% Annual Gains in Operating Efficiency. Sales & Ecommerce Strategies for Fast Growth & Strong Consumer Response. Cultural Change & Team Mentoring for Better Productivity & Cost Control.

6 – Accepting (Most) Connections Can Help Get You Where You Want to Go.

It’s never been a good idea to reject every invitation on LinkedIn. Even if you don’t personally know a user who reaches out to you for a Connection, you can start building a relationship. The first step, of course, is actually accepting the request.

As outlined in Are You Still Rejecting Connection Requests?, you’ll build a strong brand and elevate your reputation among other leaders by broadening your network. At least 500 to 1,000 connections seem to be the tipping points for a well-optimized network.

7 – Using the Right Photo Will Strengthen Your Message.

Just about everyone makes snap judgments based on visual impressions; employers are no different. Spending hours on your LinkedIn Profile, then adding a headshot unworthy of your reputation creates cognitive dissonance in your message (which is marketing-speak for confusion).

Now is the time to create a strong strategy for your LinkedIn Photo, whether this means  studying headshots of other executives for competitive intelligence or contacting a professional photographer.

Looking the part is important! The right headshot tells peer executives, employers, and subordinates a story of your personality, confidence, and leadership skills.

So don’t leave your executive brand message to chance on LinkedIn! Take the time to plan and execute an effective strategy for populating important sections and expressing your executive strengths.
Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.



Are You Faceless on LinkedIn?

Businessman holding a question mark paper in front of his faceMaybe you’ve filled in your LinkedIn Profile with all the right data: an attention-getting Headline, solid Summary, robust Skills, and appropriate Experience / Education.

However, it’s possible your carefully selected LinkedIn Photo doesn’t even show up!

Why? You neglected to make it visible.

That’s right: people outside your network cannot see you unless your Profile Photo Visibility is set for Public views. Here’s why this is important:  according to LinkedIn, the ability to see your face online can net you up to 21 times more Profile views.

Think this is a no-brainer? Think again.

Countless faceless Profiles exist, either lacking a Photo or refusing to show it. Yours could be among them if you haven’t checked Visibility settings.

So you not only need to select and upload a great headshot, but if you don’t take the right steps, it won’t be seen by prospective connections (in other words, recruiters or employers).

If you still think photos should only be shown to your connections, think about what happens when you’re confused and trying to track someone down on LinkedIn.

Without a photo, how can you tell if you’re looking at the right Profile? Remember, you’re on LinkedIn to build professional connections and establish rapport:  both are crucial steps to reaching next-level career success.

Changing your Photo from faceless to easily found is simple. Sign into LinkedIn and click on your photo; you’ll see “Visibility” at the lower right-hand corner. Clicking here will show you the current settings and allow you to select Public. If you’re uploading a Photo for the first time, you’ll see that Visibility defaults to Public.

Nothing is as unique as your face – so ensure your LinkedIn audience can match your it to your value proposition, name, and reputation.
Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.



Starting an Executive Job Search For the First Time in Years? Here’s What to Do

Businessman in crisis facing different roads
If you’ve always been recruited, or jobs just “found” you in the past, you might find things have changed.
You’ll now face an increasingly competitive battlefield in the race for a new executive job – and here’s why.

After the economic ups and downs of the past 10+ years, many executives have gotten serious about job search, taking the time to market themselves with a carefully constructed brand message on social media. At the same time, they’ve become more aware of what works on a resume and what doesn’t, especially in a crowded market.

As a result, your executive job search now looks much different than 10 or even 5 years ago – and putting out a single-page resume or a weak LinkedIn Profile won’t suffice.

Read on for the new and upcoming reality of executive job search: Continue reading “Starting an Executive Job Search For the First Time in Years? Here’s What to Do”

LinkedIn Resume Assistant: Will It Help You Create a Strong Resume?

LinkedIn Resume Assistant

It’s here! LinkedIn’s new Artificial Intelligence-powered resume tool, Resume Assistant, has rolled out to Office 365 users.

By promising to ease the challenge of writing your resume, this new capability has caught the attention of many job hunters.

However, Resume Assistant is much like any tool purported to streamline your job search: it works best when you see it as another way to improve the process, not as a means of handing off the process itself.

Here are the pros and cons of using LinkedIn Resume Assistant to develop a compelling resume: Continue reading “LinkedIn Resume Assistant: Will It Help You Create a Strong Resume?”

Executive Resume Trends 2018: What Will Make You Stand Out?

resume trends 2018

No matter how you job hunt in 2018, you’ll STILL be asked for an executive resume – and the competition will be fierce.

Even if you use social media to convey work history or tap into great opportunities in your network, your resume remains the cornerstone of a well-planned job search.

By incorporating these key elements into a fresh, competitively designed executive resume, you’ll stand out among other leaders in 2018:

2018 Resume Trend: A Clear Focus on Your Passion.

Continue reading “Executive Resume Trends 2018: What Will Make You Stand Out?”

Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search

LinkedIn Publishing PlatformIf you haven’t tried LinkedIn’s Publishing platform for your job search, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to promote your personal brand and leadership skills to employers.

There’s no limit to the topics or volume of posts allowed per user, and with an international recruiting audience ready at your virtual feet, there’s no reason to hold back!

Still hesitant? Consider these near-instant benefits to your job search from publishing: Continue reading “Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search”

Executives, Are You Rejecting LinkedIn Connection Requests?

Declining requests to connect because you “don’t know” other users? It’s time to reconsider.

LinkedIn isn’t a tell-all social media site (like Facebook, where you’re often judged by the quality of the company you keep).

Instead, think of the site as a massive, ongoing business networking meeting, where the more people you reach, the more exposure you’ll receive as a leader and executive job seeker. 

Online networking can be a boon for your executive job search – and the sooner you change your approach, the faster you could land a new job. Here are 5 reasons to quit rejecting connection requests on LinkedIn, particularly if you’re in the market for a new leadership opportunity: Continue reading “Executives, Are You Rejecting LinkedIn Connection Requests?”

How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO

LinkedIn Profile SEOIn case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn now has 500+ million members – establishing itself as a hotbed of job search activity, with recruiters pursuing candidates and job seekers vying for attention from hiring decision-makers.

With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO strategies in order to be found for a choice job.

Here are the best ways to boost your findability on LinkedIn and optimize your Profile for SEO, including search algorithm strategy and keyword adjustments: Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO”

A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline

How to write your LinkedIn HeadlineFar from just a placeholder, your LinkedIn Profile Headline has an important job to do.

If adjusted to market you effectively, it can represent your personal brand and become an online promotional workhorse.

The most highly indexed part of your Profile (next to your name), your Headline allows recruiters and employers to locate you, based on the search terms or keywords you specify.

So if you’ve filled in only part of the Headline or let LinkedIn populate it with your current job title (the default value), you could be missing out on valuable traffic to your Profile. Don’t let that happen!

Instead, use as many of the 120 characters available in your Headline – ensuring that it represents your career level and personal brand, while distinguishing you from your competition.

Try the following formula when you’re stumped for an effective LinkedIn Headline that leverages your industry expertise, achievements, and keywords: Continue reading “A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline”

Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?

Falling for these resume myths
No matter how much advice is published on the subject, some myths still circulate about the best way to write your resume.
Fortunately, a lot has changed in resume writing and job search – and you can benefit from these new trends.

For example, you might have been told to keep your resume to a specified length or to always exclude certain types of information. Given how much has changed in the job market, many of these “rules” have fallen by the wayside.

Take a look at the longstanding myths and misconceptions about resume writing, then see which of these apply to your own resume: Continue reading “Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?”