LinkedIn is your new, ever-circulating resume. It gives everyone on the platform a glimpse into your professional life—past and present—and the more active you are on it, the more likely that glimpse is to turn into a full picture.
Even if you are not actively searching for a new job, you and your successes are being put on display to employers who are actively searching for someone like you. Recruiters and hiring managers notice. Potential clients notice. People are paying attention—actively and passively. It’s your best form of marketing and advertising, and it’s free!
So then why do so many people not take the time to optimize their LinkedIn profile to help their professional image?
What Matters on Your Profile
As lawyers, LinkedIn is a way for you to reach potential future employers. Your LinkedIn can speak for you without you having to recite your accomplishments and accolades—if you have those things on your profile. However, when looking at your LinkedIn, it may be difficult to discern which sections are the most important. There are a lot of options, and if you have not spent considerable time developing an all-star profile, you may not know where to begin. Here are the areas I suggest focusing on to draw the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager:
Why an Optimized Profile Matters
Think of LinkedIn as a search engine (i.e., Google) for recruiters, hiring managers, and business professionals alike. The more your profile is filled with details and/or keywords aligned with your area of expertise, the easier it is for employers to find you. But if your profile is not easy to find during a search, you won’t be getting a lot of profile views or appear in search results.
Recruiters and hiring managers live on the backend of LinkedIn called LinkedIn Recruiter. They are looking at profiles in a completely different way than the average job seeker or user. They are looking for specific terms when they have an open role. They want to find the people who are as close to a perfect fit for what they are looking for as possible. So, if your profile has all the words they are looking for, you’re likely to appear at the top of the search regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not. For example, if you are a commercial contracts attorney, you will want to make sure that your LinkedIn reflects your experiences. If you have experience drafting and negotiating SaaS agreements, you will want to make note of this under your job description.
How This Can Help Your Career
Not everyone is looking for a new job. That is okay! But it doesn’t negate the fact that your LinkedIn should be optimized. I have seen time and time again individuals get jobs purely off their LinkedIn. The hiring manager bumped into them through seeing their content or they appeared in a search. That hiring manager went into their profile and was able to tell within five minutes if they would be a good fit for the role.
LinkedIn can also help you get a foot in the door by connecting you with a peer at a different company and simply asking about their job. Most individuals if they feel you are a good fit for a company will send your profile over to HR or a hiring manager. If your profile isn’t optimized, you can kiss those chances of getting an internal referral at your dream company goodbye.
LinkedIn should be your best friend before you retire. If you are looking for a job, this is an amazing way to make sure you are seen, and your resume doesn’t get thrown to the bottom of the stack (or more commonly in our digital realm to the 10th page of the search results). You want to make sure that you are the industry example and come up as the first search result when someone searches “Contract Attorney”, for example. Not only will this give you passive advertising for yourself and your firm but optimizing your LinkedIn profile might present an opportunity that could change your life.