LinkedIn can be a great resource for job seekers at any stage in their careers. But if you're an older worker with a lot of experience, you might be wondering how to use LinkedIn without looking too old. Here are the top tips from expert profile writers and recruiters to maximize the platform without looking overqualified.
Your Headline is Important Real Estate
Your LinkedIn headline is one of the things that everyone sees across the entire platform. This is often the item that people see before they click on your profile or look at your resume. So, you need to make sure that your headline fully utilizes the real estate to invite people to click on your profile or resume.
For most people, this means going beyond the system defaults of merely using your current job title and organization. For experienced professionals, this also means moving away from leading with your years of experience.
Instead, focus on your strengths or unique value proposition to immediately connect with people. This could be in the form of a slogan or statement or in a combination of keywords or phrases to convey a broad message.
Your Profile Photo Should be Current and Professional
Your profile photo is another important element of your LinkedIn profile. Studies show that people with profile photos are 14x more likely to have recruiters engage with their profile. So, you need a strong photo and it needs to be visible to people that are not your connections.
Make sure that your profile photo is current and professional. Avoid photos that are more than a few years old or that were taken informally (e.g., at a party or on vacation). Instead, opt for a headshot that conveys confidence and approachability. If you don't have a professional headshot, now is the time to get one taken. It's worth the investment!
Add a Unique Background Photo
You can also add an image to your cover area on your LinkedIn profile. This is the rectangle behind/above your profile photo. This image should create a visual cue to people skimming your profile about who you are professionally.
Avoid using the default options on LinkedIn as many people use them and they won't set you apart. Instead, pick an image that shows who you are, what you do, or where you are. Try not to overthink this image and make sure that you pick something that fits the dimensions. Keep it professional as everyone can see this image when clicking on your profile.
Build an Effective About Section
Your profile summary is your chance to show off your professional brand in just a few short sentences. So take advantage of it! Write about your skills, experience, and accomplishments in a way that is both informative and interesting to read. Avoid using technical jargon or industry lingo; instead, focus on writing in plain language that anyone can understand. And most importantly, don't be afraid to tout your successes in this section as most people drop off at this point.
In today's digital world, recruiters and hiring managers often rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help them identify qualified candidates for open positions. One of the ways these systems work is by scanning applicants' profiles for certain keywords that match the skills and experience required for the job. So if you want your profile to be found by these systems (and believe me, you do), be sure to sprinkle relevant keywords throughout your summary and work history sections.
Not sure what keywords matter? Professional profile builders like those at The Contingent Plan can make sure that you have the right keywords in the right places on your LinkedIn profile. Submit your information below to learn more about how we may be able to help.
Add Descriptions for Your Professional Experiences
Each role under your professional experience that is relevant to your current search should have an explanation about what you did in the role. This is where you provide the detail about what you did in each role and tell the story of how your career progressed. You can have over 2,000 characters in each description and that gives lots of room to provide context on the role.
The first few lines of the description are visible to everyone scrolling down on your profile. So, you will want to have a big impact in that explanation that triggers people to click to see more.
You should also make sure that you are using details that are relevant to your current search. Do not use dated references or phrases that make you look old in your explanation. Instead, frame that explanation in a way that would be similar to how you would communicate that experience in an interview for a job or at a networking event.
Illustrate Your Experience with Media
In addition to traditional written content, LinkedIn now allows users to include multimedia content in their profiles—and you should take advantage of this feature!
Whether it's links to articles or blog posts you've written, photos or infographics from presentations you've given, or even video clips from interviews or other media appearances, adding multimedia content to your profile helps bring your experiences and accomplishments to life—and makes them more memorable for potential employers who view your profile.
Ask for Recommendations
Oftentimes our own words carry less weight than those of someone else—especially when it comes to speaking about our professional accomplishments. That's why recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, clients, or other people who have firsthand knowledge of our work can be so valuable in convincing potential employers that we're qualified for the jobs we're applying for. So don't be afraid to ask people you've worked with in the past (or even those you're working with now) to write recommendations or endorse your skills on LinkedIn; their words could end up being just what gets you hired.
If you're an experienced professional, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool in your job search arsenal—but only if you know how to use it effectively. By following these tips—highlighting your most relevant skills and experience in your headline, updating your profile photo regularly, and sharing quality content—you can create a LinkedIn profile that will help you stand out from the crowd and land the job you want without looking too old.
Want to make sure that your profile is working for you? Submit your information below to claim a free consultation and someone from our team will be in touch to answer your questions.