When women in technology want to work with me because they have taken a 2 or 3 year (or longer) career break, the first thing I do is check their profile on LinkedIn to get a feel for their previous experience and their skill set.
I could scream! Seriously. Sometimes you are IMPOSSIBLE to find on LinkedIn … and that always troubles and frustrates me. If you are a woman in technology, and you want to go back to work after a career break, you’ve got to get noticed on LinkedIn.
And not just because there are more than 467M users on LinkedIn. And more than 6.5M active job listings.
If you stepped off the career ladder for a while, you might not realise that just about every reputable organisation now uses social media to recruit, and LinkedIn leads the way. In fact 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates, even if you have applied for a position via a friend, an agency or newspaper advert.
If you don’t yet have a profile on LinkedIn … even if you don’t plan to go back work for a few months, then you have to get started today. It will only take a few minutes to sort out the absolute basics, I promise.
How to get noticed on LinkedIn after a long career break
Taking care of the absolute basics is not enough. If you want to get recruited, first you need to get noticed. In order to get noticed – for the right reasons – I am sharing just five simple things you can do today that will help you make a bigger impact so that you attract the right opportunities to your profile, even if you’ve had a long career break.
1 – Create an All Star profile
In LinkedIn there are different profile strengths. The top profile is an All Star profile. LinkedIn changes the criteria from time to time. In general, your profile strength increases as you add more content.
An All Star profile is 40 times more likely to receive opportunities therefore it is definitely worth taking the time to ensure that your profile is All Star.
Currently (July 2017), the fields that need to be completed are: industry, location, profile photo, education, position, summary and 5+ skills.
2 – Your photo
Your photo is one of the first things that potential employers or clients see on your profile. Profiles with a photo get 14 times more profile views. We are human after all and we want to see who we might be working with or talking to.
Make sure your photo reflects you in the workplace. You want potential recruiters to look at the photo and think “Yes, she’ll fit in“.
3 – Your professional headline
Your professional headline is the most prominent element of your LinkedIn profile. It’s what others see in search results. It’s your hook to attract potential employers and clients. Therefore you want an eye-catching headline that makes a good first impression and will get you noticed. A strong headline encourages other LinkedIn users to view your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile needs to clearly and confidently describe WHO you are and WHAT you do.
4 – Your summary
Don’t miss out the summary. It is one of the criteria for an All Star Profile
Your summary is your opportunity to showcase your expertise. To tell your story. To ‘big yourself up’ and demonstrate that you are the person the employer or client needs.
First impressions really count. Your photo and headline act as the hook and your summary has to persuade potential employers and clients that you are the best fit.
5 – Recommendations
Whether you are looking for a gardener, childminder or builder, you want a personal recommendation. It’s the same on LinkedIn. People prefer to work with somebody who has been recommended.
Recommendations are social proof of your expertise and experience. If you have recommendations on LinkedIn but they are not recent, ask former work colleagues or suppliers for a recommendation.
If you are not sure how to ask for recommendations, the trick is to make it super easy for the person you ask. Be very specific about what you want them to focus on. Think about the skills you want to use when you go back to work – what do you want to be known for? What industry do you want to work in? What type of role do you want?
If you have been on a career break, ask for recommendations for skills you have used during volunteering.
5 simple ways to get noticed on LinkedIn after a long career break
Today I have shared 5 simple ways to get noticed on LinkedIn after a long career break.
Check your profile strength and create an All Star profile. Post a good photo that represents you in the workplace. Write a powerful headline that says who you are and what you do. Back that up with a summary that showcases your expertise. And finally review your recommendations and ask former work colleagues or current volunteering colleagues to write one for you.