How Your LinkedIn Profile Can Be Your Secret Weapon

If the thought of starting another job search is giving you anxiety, please keep reading.

Unpredictable job search lengths, uncertainty about what jobs are really out there but just not easily found online, and an utter lack of control during the job search process are all significant reasons to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, there are tools that can help you find a job and land it quickly despite the obstacles ahead.

Some of the most common job search obstacles are overcoming a lack of experience, work history issues, and too few industry connections that will vouch for you. Your LinkedIn profile can be your secret weapon if you’re struggling to navigate these obstacles and start your job search.

The key is to work with and showcase what you’ve got to offer and downplay the issues that are killing your confidence.


How Your LinkedIn Profile Can Be Your Secret Weapon | Off The Clock Resumes


When You Have Minimal Related Experience

Your Experience is only one of 18+ sections that you can add to your LinkedIn profile. If you are having a hard time conquering Applicant Tracking software due to a lack of related experience (which coincidentally will help keyword optimize your resume!), you can use LinkedIn to attract the attention of recruiters and HR professionals.

First, you need to rework your profile to showcase your transferable experience. You can edit your Headline to identify your career goals and the experience that is related. If you are a recent college graduate with a degree in Accounting but no paid experience to showcase, your Headline could look like this:

“Accounting graduate driven to reinforce accounting firms with mathematical, data analysis, and communication skills”

You can also optimize your Education and Skills sections with your related courses which can serve as keywords. Your Skills section can help provide social proof to employers that you possess these skills, so reaching out to colleagues and classmates who have seen these skills in action to endorse these skills is an effective tactic.

Another great way to show off your transferable skills on your LinkedIn profile is to ask friends, co-workers, supervisors, classmates, and colleagues to write a brief recommendation that addresses one of your transferable skills. It’s important to be very clear in your request or else you may receive a recommendation that doesn’t directly help you with your job search.


When You Need To Trim Down Your Resume

I don’t support resume-length myths, but you do want your resume to showcase the last 10 years of experience rather than your autobiography. Recruiters and HR professionals rarely spend more than 15 seconds looking at your resume to decide whether or not you should be brought in for an interview. Another common issue with listing too much experience is presenting yourself as overqualified (which employers translate as wanting a higher salary than offered or even buying time until a better fit and higher salary come along) or inviting age discrimination.

Highlighting the exact experience they are looking for, the most advantageous achievements, and the most recent work history is the best approach. You can, however, indicate at the end of your resume, “For more work history, achievements, and projects, see LinkedIn profile.”

Since a LinkedIn profile doesn’t have any length stigmas (Most fields do have character limits, though.), you can include much more detail on your LinkedIn profile. While I don’t advise adding every job position you’ve ever held, you can go into more detail using the Projects section.


When You Have Employment Gaps

One of the greatest challenges that job seekers can have with the modern job search is conquering Applicant Tracking software with work history timeline issues. Large unemployment gaps, overlapping dates, and multiple short-roles can all trigger red flags that eliminate you from consideration before your resume is even seen by a person.

Your LinkedIn profile can save you from getting lost in the Applicant Tracking software black hole.

When you apply for jobs on LinkedIn using Easy Apply rather than going to the company’s career page, you aren’t sending your profile or a resume through Applicant Tracking software. LinkedIn will email the employer your name, location, number of relevant skills, and a snapshot of your Experience and your Education sections. LinkedIn also allows you to upload a resume which is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED because your application sends your resume as an attachment to an email rather than sending it to the Applicant Tracking software blackhole.

The employer will then click the “See full application” button which will also share the first two lines of your Summary section, any mutual connections you share with the employer, and your Accomplishments section. Within the full application view, they can indicate whether or not you are “Not a Fit” or a “Good Fit” for the job.

When you have employment gaps or other timeline issues, it’s important to optimize your profile with the keywords found in the job postings you are applying for. If you’re not using LinkedIn to apply for jobs, you can use your profile to attract recruiters and HR professionals searching for candidates like you using LinkedIn.


When You Are Secretly Looking

If you don’t want your current employer, coworkers, friends, or family to know that you are actively looking for a job, your LinkedIn profile can help! Open Candidate is a LinkedIn feature that is underutilized.

You can identify the job titles, industries, locations, and company sizes you are interested in pursuing as well as the type of work you are looking for (full-time, part-time, contract, etc.) within the Open Candidate settings. Turn on the feature, and recruiters and HR professionals with a paid account (These are the users who actually use LinkedIn to find candidates on a regular basis!) will be privately notified that you are looking for a job that matches one of the jobs they have posted.

None of your connections will be notified that you are seeking a new job. Nothing on your profile will directly indicate that you are looking for a new job. This feature is discreet which will help you expand your job search options without fear of retaliation.


When You Hate Networking

I hate networking. I’ve become quite introverted in my adult years, so networking is very uncomfortable for me. If this sounds like you but you know you need to make some connections who may know of opportunities that match your career goals, LinkedIn may be the key.

You’re comfortable enough liking, commenting on, and sharing posts on Facebook and maybe even Twitter. Engaging with your connections (and often THEIR connections) shouldn’t be too difficult for you to start out with. The next step is sending personalized Connection Requests to total strangers knowing that they could be resourceful.

Finding an icebreaker (LinkedIn can even help with this!) and sending a brief note with your Connection Request that identifies how you know of this person or why you would like to add them to your network is networking. Using LinkedIn to explore your 2nd and 3rd connections, find members in groups that may interest you, and connect with industry-related professionals can open doors for you that you may not have known about had you kept to applying for jobs alone.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills and downplay any issues and turn your job search around.