Lesson 1: Targeting Your LinkedIn Profile

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We're going to start by talking about how we can optimize your LinkedIn profile. Optimizing your profile simply means that we're improving your profile's visibility in both Google and LinkedIn search results. If that sounds really technical, it's not. In fact, the most technical thing that you could do to improve your profile's visibility in both Google and LinkedIn search results is to completely fill it out.

Consider your LinkedIn profile practice for filling out online job applications. If you can't take the time to sit there, fill out your profile from start to finish, and include all of the information that is most pertinent to an employer, then you're going to have a hard time getting very far in an online job search.

So, how can we optimize your LinkedIn profile?

How are we going to improve your profile's visibility in both Google and LinkedIn search results? We're really going to focus on improving your LinkedIn profile's visibility in LinkedIn search results over Google. LinkedIn is already a search engine optimized platform. In other words, your LinkedIn profile is likely to show up in the top 5 Google search results when someone Googles your name; so we're really going to focus on making sure if someone is looking for a candidate like you on LinkedIn that you're showing up in those search results based on the keywords that they're using to search for someone just like you.

The first thing we're going to talk about is targeting your LinkedIn profile.

The first step to optimizing your LinkedIn profile is by targeting it; but before you can target your LinkedIn profile you're going to need to target your job search. Why do you think you should do this? There are several good reasons.

First of all, you're actually going to speed up your job search.

Employers are looking for the best fit for their job opening. It's actually very expensive for employers to recruit, hire, and train new employees; so they're not looking for a jack-of-all-trades. They're not looking for someone who has a broad resume because they're targeting three or four different types of jobs, they don't really have a lot of focus, and they don't really know what they want. They're looking for that candidate who's presenting themselves as the best fit for their job opening. So you're actually going to get a lot more response from employers, and you're also going to get attention from the right employers when you target your job search and in turn target your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

You're also going to eliminate distractions once you know what type of job you want to target. You're less likely going to waste time on jobs that don't match that job target. Those are distraction jobs.

You're also going to eliminate a lot of frustration that mostly comes from sending out a ton of broad resumes, not targeting your job search, applying to any and everything, and getting no response. If you're spending a ton of time and not getting any response or the right responses, it's going to be frustrating. We can eliminate that very quickly simply by targeting your job search and in turn your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

We are also going to eliminate those undesirable job offers. The best example I can give you is if you've got a very generic resume and you upload it to a job board like Monster or Indeed. You'd be surprised how many employers are going to respond and reach out to you about job opportunities that don't even really match up with what you really want based on one or two things listed in that resume. What we want to do is eliminate interest from recruiters, hiring managers, or employers for jobs you're really not going to be that interested in, that aren't going to be a good fit, that aren't going to leverage your strengths your talents, and don't really align with your career goals.

Let's think about what your ideal role is. Do you want to be a generalist or a specialist? Here's a good example in the HR field: You have HR Generalists and HR Specialists. HR Generalists handle a wide range of functions, everything from recruiting and hiring to compensation of benefits and employee relations. An HR Specialist will likely work for a larger corporation and for a specific department such as Talent Acquisition where they're really going to focus on those recruiting strategies and making sure that they're attracting the right candidates. That's what a generalist versus specialist looks like. Do you really want to specialize in one field or do you want to dabble in a little bit of everything?

Think about what type of role you want to have in regards to supporting the staff or leading the staff.

Think about how much interaction you want with customers. Do you want a real customer-facing role, or do you want to be hiding in the back-office because you really don't like working one-on-one with people. There's nothing wrong with that.

How much risk do you want to take on in your role? A low risk role would be something where you've got a supervisor or a whole team that's checking your work as you go. There's not a lot of risk if there's an error or a mistake made on your part versus a high risk role where you don't really have a strong backup system checking your work for you; even minor mistakes could be really critically important to the company.

These are things you need to be thinking about and especially things that you should consider when you're looking for a job, writing your resume, or creating a LinkedIn profile. Clearly you're not going to say in your LinkedIn profile, "I want to hide in the back-office and not work with customers." But you are probably going to limit how much you talk about customer service and you probably won't list customer service as one of your skills because it's not something you want to target in your job search. When targeting your LinkedIn profile, that's not something you'd really want to advertise as a skill.

You also want to think about what is your ideal work environment. Do you prefer something active and hands-on? Independent and analytical? Maybe something flexible and creative or collaborative and social? There's a wide range of different work environments: some you're going to thrive in and others you're just going to hate. You don't want to attract attention from companies that have a work environment or that promote a working style that doesn't work for you.

Your ideal work environment should match the company's culture and you can learn a lot more about a company's culture by looking at their website or certain social profiles like Facebook and Instagram. Those two will give you a lot of insight into the behind-the-scenes of working for a company.

You can also get information about a company's culture by reading that company description paragraph on job postings. It won't be as detailed, but it will give you some insight as to what environment they're going to provide for a new employee.

You can also get information about a company's culture by going to and looking for some employee feedback. You can get employee feedback from a website called Glassdoor. This website is specifically designed for employees to write reviews of the companies that they work for, so you can get a lot of information from this website. You can also get a lot of information about a company's culture through employee feedback using LinkedIn. This is actually one of the lessons in a later module that we're going to talk about, and I think you're going to be really excited about this particular tactic to get some information about a company's culture.

Last, but not least, you want to consider your values. What drives you? Are you achievement-driven? Are you really driven for justice and service? If these values really are important to you, they should also be shared by the company that you're trying to attract.

Your LinkedIn profile really needs to identify your ideal role, your ideal working environment, and the values that should be shared by the company you want to attract.

Now, what I want you to do is create a Job Target Statement that's going to identify your ideal position, your ideal work environment, and the values that should be shared with your ideal employer. You're going to use this Job Target Statement while you're making some changes to your profile and then in later modules to really keep you on track when you're using LinkedIn to look for and eventually land your ideal job.

That wraps up the first lesson. Next, we're going to move forward into developing your personal brand, what that is, and why it's so important.

ACTION TASK:
Create a Job Target Statement that identifies your ideal role, work environment, and corporate values.