Are you invisible to recruiters and hiring managers searching for you online? I’m actively recruiting for Drupal developer positions at hesketh.com, so I’ve taken a deep dive into finding marketing and tech people on LinkedIn.
If you haven’t touched your profile since someone told you to sign up for the site, you might be missing out on messages from people who’d like to hire you. Take this five-minute quiz to see if your LinkedIn profile is helping or hurting.
QUIZ: Are you recruitable by hiring managers on LinkedIn?
This 5-minute quiz has 17 questions, all yes-or-no. Give yourself the points for each “yes” answer. Grab a pen or calculator to track your points, and bring up your LinkedIn profile.
1) Do you have a LinkedIn profile in the first place? You can’t win if you don’t play. Create that profile first. +20 points
2) Is your profile set to be visible publicly? LinkedIn has an incredibly high 9/10 PageRank on Google — LinkedIn profiles are usually on the first page when people happen to search for your name. But if your LinkedIn profile is set to private, you won’t appear in Google results, and you may not always appear in LinkedIn’s own site search results. Good in witness protection but bad for job-seekers. +15 points
3) Do you include keywords around specific expertise or technology, like Drupal, Ruby on Rails, or CRM? If you don’t have those baseline keywords, I’m probably not even going to find you. If I do find you, I’m left wondering if you have the experience I need. And if I had a dollar for every time I saw someone mis-spell “manager” as “manger”… +10 points
4) Are you connected with current and former colleagues? Every new connection you make means your 2nd- and 3rd-level network gets bigger. That means being able to connect with (or at least see) more people on LinkedIn. New jobs often come via weak ties rather than close ties, so connect with people you know outside of work, too — your neighbor, your accountant, and your friend from college all know people. +10 points
5 ) Do you regularly connect on LinkedIn with new people you meet in “real life” business settings? Most people have a policy for making new LinkedIn connections — mine is that I need to have met them in person at least once, so I can be sure they pass the “not crazy” test. Some people will connect with anyone, while other people won’t connect unless they’ve had a one-on-one meeting first. Whatever you do, be connecting somehow. +10 points
6) Does your introduction tell a coherent story about where you’ve been and where you’re going? For a great example, see Margot Carmichael Lester‘s LinkedIn profile. Not only does she tell an overall story, but each job description is its own mini-story. +8 points
7) Do you list all of your previous positions and companies, at least in the past 10-15 years? When I’m in recruiting mode, it gives me context to your career path, both past and future. +7 points
8) Have you updated job details to include quantified accomplishments, not just a list of duties? My standard example for this is when I’m giving resume advice to students who worked in a restaurant in high school or college. For “Waiter,” don’t waste space on, “Served food to customers.” Quantify instead — “Earned tips that were 27% above average” or “Served 100-120 customers each shift.” +7 points
9) Have you asked people for recommendations? I don’t look closely at specific recommendations until we’re in the interview stage — and their usefulness is obviously limited by the fact that no one has negative recommendations on LinkedIn — but having them adds a certain degree of social proof. +7 points
10) Are you using your “Skills & Expertise” tags? LinkedIn introduced a tagging system to extend how the site tracks skills. The tags help me find others with that skill (like you, perhaps!), and they also display whether the skill is on the rise or on the decline. +6 points
11) Have you updated your headline to something a recruiter might search for if they wanted to hire someone like you? For example, when I previously changed mine to “Web Project Manager,” I started getting a lot more recruiter inquiries than when I had a whimsical headline. For instance, “Code Ninja” is cute, but you might not come up in a search for “Drupal Developer.” Think about your target market! +5 points
12) Do you include links in your LinkedIn profile to other places your content “lives” online? This would be things like your blog, portfolio, SlideShare account, or Twitter account. Make it easy and minimize confusion — otherwise, I’m wondering if you’re Bob Smith in Raleigh or Robert Smith in Durham. Don’t forget to link to role- or industry-specific profiles, like Drupal.org or GitHub — they help demonstrate that you’re “with it.” +5 points
13) Is your location/region up to date? I’ve used that to find clusters of developers in particular metro areas, both in the Raleigh area and beyond. This is even more important when you want a job in your current area, not the place you just moved from. +5 points
14) Are the people in the “Viewers of this profile also viewed…” sidebar the people you want to be compared to? Often this tends to be coworkers, which skews things. But if it’s people at other companies, are they doing the kind of work you want to be seen doing? If not, you probably need to do a bigger marketing overhaul, since the LinkedIn algorithm is doing that for a reason. +4 points
15) Are you linking back to your LinkedIn profile from elsewhere on the web? This might include a button on your website, a link from your Meetup.com profile, and (if you don’t have a website) a link from your Twitter profile. Fancy resume layouts are nice to have on your website or in print, but when it comes to LinkedIn, I love that everyone’s info in a fairly standard format. It makes it easier to do lateral comparisons. Again, when I find someone’s portfolio site first and have to hunt to find them on LinkedIn (especially if they have a common name), it just adds an extra layer to asking you to apply. +3 points
16) Do you avoid mentioning any skills or expertise you never want to use again? For instance, I learned Italian in college, but I’m not planning to use that skill now — so Italian isn’t on my LinkedIn profile. +2 points
17) Do you make time to occasionally check your profile to see if there’s anything you need to update? I realize I’m unusual in enjoying continuously tweaking my LinkedIn profile, so I suggest making a recurring appointment (e.g., the first Saturday of each month) to check if there’s anything you need to update. For instance, you might want to add a new skill or two, or accept a connection request that somehow didn’t show up in your regular inbox. +10 points
Check your LinkedIn Visibility Score — are you up to par?
0 to 67 points: You’re Invisible, or at least really hard to find. Take off the Invisibility Cloak — start doing at least a few of the additional things above.
68 to 96 points: You’re OK. You probably have a better than average profile, but there are likely some quick fixes to improve your results. Consider doing some of the things above that you aren’t doing now.
97 to 134 points: You’re Perfect. You’re probably getting tired of hearing about job opportunities. Keep doing what you’re doing!
Now what? Next steps from here:
If you weren’t doing everything, make some updates from the tips above. Be sure to keep in mind that having a profile is only the first step in using LinkedIn to its full advantage — for instance, consider becoming active in LinkedIn Groups that match your interests. And remember that your LinkedIn profile is just one part of your online reputation — things like Twitter and blogging help get the word out, too, as part of your larger personal marketing strategy.
Questions: How’d you do? What’s the first thing you’re going to change on your LinkedIn profile? You can leave a comment by clicking here.