For executives on the hunt for a new and better job, applying to jobs online isn’t necessarily the top job-winning strategy.
Working with headhunters, recruiters, and executive search firms are often the go-to’s for executive job seekers; however, there is another channel that you may be neglecting. Your network.
You’ve been growing this network over the course of your career. From direct reports to fellow executive leaders, your network is full of people who have not only witnessed your leadership in action but can leverage their own networks to refer you to companies where you will be the best fit.
So, why haven’t you been tapping into this network?
LinkedIn makes this simple. These LinkedIn tips for executives will guide you through how to use LinkedIn to get hired for your next leadership role.
1 | Present Yourself As An Expert On Your Profile
This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many executive leaders have a skeleton profile (company names and position titles only, default Headline, no Summary section, few skills, etc.) that tells other LinkedIn users nothing about what they bring to the table. The first step to presenting yourself as an expert on your profile is to completely fill out your profile.
At the very least, summarize your typical tasks and a handful of achievements for each position you’ve held in the last 10 years in your Experience section.
To really present yourself as an expert, optimize your Headline with your targeted position and results (ex. “VP of Technology | 5 successful data center migrations, 50% of costs cut, tripling productivity with tech modernization”). Create a job-winning Summary section with examples of your leadership from strategic planning to team building.
2 | Add The Right Skills To Your Skills Section
I’ve noticed a trend with executive LinkedIn profiles. Their Skills sections are primarily tactical skills for their field. While these are important to show your expertise in your field, adding more strategic leadership skills to this section will position you as the best fit for the leadership roles you’re targeting.
Add your skills in Vision, Strategy or Strategic Planning, Business Acumen, Business Planning, Policies, Procedures, Budget Management or Fiscal Management, and so on. If you’re planning on applying for jobs directly on LinkedIn, know that your Skills will be evaluated and matched to the skills listed in the LinkedIn job posting. Doing your due diligence to see which skills employers are looking for will help you boost your profile before you apply.
3 | Revisit Your Current Connections
If you have 500+ Connections, you have the potential for 500+ referrals. If you’re not nurturing these networking relationships, then you’re not doing LinkedIn right. Start by looking through Your Network and reaching out to a handful of connections each week.
Don’t dive right in and say you’re open and looking for a new job opportunity. Ask about your Connection’s current job or projects, how he or she is spending time outside of work, and how you may able to help him or her.
But don’t hesitate to be open with others about your career goals. If you don’t share where your career journey is taking you with your LinkedIn Connections, they can’t help you. You can do this privately through Messages rather than publicly broadcasting your job search on your news feed, but make sure you’re developing a mutually beneficial networking relationship first.
4 | Give Recommendations
As an executive, you’ve had years of management and leadership experience. You’ve worked with dozens or even hundreds of direct reports over the years. Seeking these co-workers out and writing recommendations that showcase their strengths is a strategic way to boost your profile as well.
Not only do your Recommendations show on your profile, but the Recommendations you have written are also linked to your profile. Writing Recommendations for others you have supervised, led, or mentored is an easy way to show your own strengths in giving feedback and support to others.
5 | Then Ask For Recommendations
Give and then receive. Once you’ve invested some time in writing Recommendations for others, ask those who are familiar with your leadership skills to write you a Recommendation as well. The more specific you can be in your request, the higher caliber of Recommendation you’ll receive.
This is why it’s important to nurture the networking relationship you have with your current Connections first. Make sure the person you’re requesting a Recommendation not only has witnessed your leadership skills but also knows your career goals.
6 | Let Recruiters Know Your Career Interests
This is one of my favorite LinkedIn tips for executives. If you want to work with headhunters or recruiters discreetly, LinkedIn has made that SO EASY. From your profile, you can access a section called Career Interests. You can set your job search status, your targeted job titles, your preferred job target location, the types of jobs you're looking for, your preferred industries, and your preferred company sizes.
When you click the toggle to “On”, this information is shared privately to recruiters on LinkedIn that match your settings. This information is not shared with your network, your employers, or your co-workers which makes it an amazing solution for executives wanting to keep their job search hush-hush.
I challenge you to spend 30 minutes on LinkedIn revisiting your current Connections to engage them and develop casual networking relationships.
Do you have any other LinkedIn tips for executives to share?