LinkedIn for Tips for Finance Job Seekers - Getting Visible
I joined LinkedIn in 23rd June 2011. Over the last 9 years I have moved from being an employee to becoming an interim consultant and business owner within the Finance Transformation space with the help of connections I have made on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can be daunting for lots of people not used to searching for roles on a regular basis or have found their long-term role made redundant due to the current Covid-19 epidemic. LinkedIn contains a lot of well-meaning advice which has been cut, pasted and re-shared. Without context, there is little evidence this advice achieves results or making you more visible on the platform. At times, this advice can be contradictory and confusing for most people!
I am not a LinkedIn trainer. I'll leave that to the experts who have given me great advice along the way! I have included some hints and tips that helped me over the years become visible and get noticed.
Whilst searching for new contracts, and through trial and error, I have improving my profile, boosted search results, and increased visibility. These are the type of tweaks you can easily make to your profile to boost your own visibility within Recruiter search results or search engine rankings, so connections reach out to you.
LinkedIn has over 690 million users. Let's Get Visible....
The default LinkedIn Headline is your current job title and company. This isn't great if you have a generic title and you want to stand out from the crowd from 100,000's of other people with the same generic role. Not good if you are looking for a new role and would like to appear within the top search results on Google, MSN, or other search engines within your chosen field of expertise.
The Headline section of your profile, photo, and current role title is featured within the LinkedIn search results, search engines like Google, and most visible when Recruiters or Hiring Managers are searching to fill a potential role. 2 lines of text are visible. So, make the most of it. This is what you can see within LinkedIn search results -
Key words for your area of expertise, a Unique Selling Point (USP), or what you can help companies achieve can make you stand out from the crowd. The key words are important here. This is what Recruiters or Hiring Managers search on. Make the most of it.
Tip 1 - The Headline is restricted to 120 Characters on the web version of LinkedIn. By updating your Headline using your mobile or cell phone you have more characters available. Only downside is if you try to update your Headline on the web version again the character restriction kicks in again and you get an error for using too many characters.
Tip 2 - You may have seen other people's profiles using different text font types on their Headlines and wondered how to do it. The Cool Symbols site allows you to pick different fonts and use this on your LinkedIn headline to catch the eye in search results. A word of caution. Check you still appear on the LinkedIn search results after making these changes. I vanished from the search results on the LinkedIn platform after changing my font caused a conflict!
Your profile picture of you is a key element of your LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn research shows that just having a picture makes your profile 21 times more likely to be viewed by others. 36 times more likely to receive a message. In my experience if someone doesn't have a photo on their profile, I am unlikely to connect with them or view their profile on the platform.
I don't particularly like getting my photo taken. Most photographers will tell you most people say that. I had some professional head shots done last year to use on my LinkedIn profile. I decided to leave it to a professional! Plenty of advice exists on the web on taking good head shot photos on a budget. Do make sure the photo used is a true current representation of you and not the way you looked 20 years ago. LinkedIn's not Tinder!
Look at companies within your sector. If you have a company in mind to target, check out some senior employees and their profile pictures. This will give you a good indication of what they deem as a professional photo or what company culture might be. IT, Media, Marketing or the Creative Industries may have a more dressed down approach.
This is all down to personal preference. Some people have 'action' shots of presenting at conferences which work well too.
This picture is part of your first impressions! People with holiday snaps, glass in hand, and Hawaiian shirt on need not apply! Save these snaps for Facebook!
LinkedIn have added a new feature to help job seekers be visible to recruiters. The 'Open to Work' photo frame goes around the side of your picture to inform anyone viewing your profile you are seeking a new role. More details can be found here - Open To Work Frame.
Tip 1 - From the batch I liked, I used Photofeeler to work out what the best rated professional picture was. I found getting other peoples unbiased opinions helped select the best photo. Thanks to Dean Lipscombe for sharing this tip.
Tip 2 - Canva has various templates which can be used around your LinkedIn picture frames to make it stand out and catch the eye on LinkedIn search screens. Plenty of Canva tutorial videos are available on YouTube.
Once someone clicks on your LinkedIn profile you have seconds to persuade them to want to read more about you. Make it interesting!
The first 2 lines on your 'About Section' are visible on your LinkedIn profile before the person viewing must click on 'See More' to see the rest. The 'About Section' is restricted to 2000 characters. My first 2 lines contain what roles I have performed, value I believe I can bring to clients I work with, and what benefits they can achieve as a result. This is the hook to draw people in, so they want to click on 'See More' especially Recruiters and Hiring Managers.
My accreditation's is next. Followed by the sectors I have worked in and where in the world I have performed those tasks over my career. Somewhere with hot weather again please!
To make it easier to be found, my profile is fully searchable on LinkedIn and search engines. I have included my Mobile/Cell Number and Email Address within the 'About Section'. This makes it far easier for Recruiters and Hiring Managers to contact you if your contact details are visible without searching through your profile to find these details buried away.
My 'About Section' contains one of my top recommendations from a previous client as social proof. Again, this is for clear visibility and not having to search my profile for this information.
Key skills are included to influence searches and 'Brands/Top Companies' I have previously worked with shows the type of industries and profile of companies I have helped in the past.
Tip 1 - I have used Emoji's to break up the text on the 'About Section' and highlight key paragraphs. Emoji's can also be used in Headlines too. Less is more! They can be found here - Emojipedia. Thanks to Lance Rubin for sharing his use of Emoji's.
The LinkedIn default banner, or blue banner of death as I call it, looks like this. Millions of other people have this on their LinkedIn profile. This doesn't help you stand out from the crowd or sell your talents!
I have used Canva and Adobe Spark to create the banner below for my LinkedIn profile. Both have free basic functionality websites you can sign up for and LinkedIn templates to create some simple banners. Or you can change the banner to an 'Action' photo or background using the photo edit functionality within LinkedIn. This all helps make a great impression.
The custom banner is making my contact details, accreditation's, and roles I do upfront and visible on my profile to anyone who looks at it or views it on a search engine like Google.
Tip 1 - If you would like a more professional banner, Jack Bainbridge AKA #LinkedInBannerBoy can help make a custom creation at a reasonable price. Search LinkedIn under #LinkedInBannerBoy to see examples of Jack's work.
The Featured section within my LinkedIn profile is where I store evidence of achievements, certifications, articles created, or awards received. This section is quite prominent on your profile and well worth adding relevant content to. This is my social proof and establishes credibility.
I have previous article on there, Accounts Payable Association certifications and my Top 50 Influencer award from the APA conference.
The Proof - Results
I was once told by a top recruiter, who shall remain nameless, to change my profile back to the original and boring blue banner and 'Finance Professional for 20 years' content which didn't make me stand out nor make my profile feature highly in search rankings. Apparently, clients would bypass my profile as it wasn't bland enough as it would not fit with their city clientele....
Based on LinkedIn statistics and search engine evidence below, I wanted to bring to life the impact my profile changes have made making me more visible to potential Recruiters or Hiring Managers.
Each week I have around 300 - 350 appearances within LinkedIn search results. This converts to being approached regarding several opportunities each week from Recruiters or Hiring Managers. I share these with my network of Finance Professionals or recommend people who are looking for a new role if I am already in a contract and not available.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn keeps playing around with the search algorithm on the site and it's difficult to get a true picture of where you appear on the search results as a measure of success. Sometimes I was on the 1st page and other times way down. Other people I know personally, and never venture on to LinkedIn or interact with their connections, seem to always be far higher on search positions. My view here is the result is either based on the number of similar roles they have had over the years or length of service in a similar role translating into higher rankings on the site.
By searching my name and role on MSN or Google search engines, my results are far more favourable. This has been a challenge due to having global famous name sake who likes to write lots of books and film scripts! Or could LinkedIn be research for my next book....
Try searching your own name and role on these search engines and see what results appear and key words used by other profiles.
Out of 292,000 results, I am the top listing if you search on my name and P2P role on MSN. My photo appears on the first image too.
Out of 1,790,000 results on Google, I am listed top again when searching on my name and P2P role expertise.
My view is there is no real magic bullet when it comes to increasing your visibility on LinkedIn. There are lots of incremental changes you can make to your profile to stand out to ensure you are firmly in the minds of Hiring Managers or Recruiters. Or you appear when they are searching for specific roles within your niche market. It does take time and interaction with your LinkedIn network to achieve results.
That's all for now!
I have just scratched the surface when it comes to what is possible on LinkedIn as the platform changes all the time with new features and ways to communicate being added.
For more in depth training on LinkedIn, check out these LinkedIn Trainers who provided me with valuable advice and support over the years. Plus, far more knowledgeable than me on the LinkedIn platform!
Sam Rathling - I met Sam at the Accounts Payable Association conference last year when Sam ran a LinkedIn training session. I have just finished her excellent book called 'Linked Inbound' which can be purchased here. - Linked Inbound.
Steve Phillip - Steve helped me when I was struggling with LinkedIn and securing contracts by listening and provided great advice. Steven promotes good mental health in the workplace and society via Champion Health too.
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Please check out my previous article below.
Stephen King is owner of King FPM Solutions Limited. Founded in 2012, my company are specialists in Finance Transformation Projects, Shared Service Optimisation, ERP System Selection and Implementation. I am a Subject Matter Experts (SME) focusing on Procure-To-Pay (P2P) and Accounts Payable Finance Functions. Helping top companies deliver Procure-To-Pay (P2P) and Source-To-Pay (S2P) Best Practice Process Improvements. I have over 4200 LinkedIn followers across the globe and recognised as one of the Accounts Payable Association Top 50 Influencers.
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