If you’re planning an executive job search campaign, and you’re still not on LinkedIn, you’re probably in for a protracted search.
You’re not keeping pace with the millions of executives who know better, and are on LinkedIn.
But just joining LinkedIn, and hastily posting a profile, won’t do you much good, and may sabotage your search.
- Becomes a top Google search result for “Your Name”, when executive recruiters and hiring decision makers want to qualify you as a good-fit candidate.
- Builds your online footprint.
- Provides social proof to legitimize the career claims you’ve made verbally and in your career documents.
- Serves as a passive job search tool, helping you come up in LinkedIn searches for relevant keywords and phrases when hiring professionals source candidates . . . if you’ve loaded your profile with the right keywords, in the right places.
- Positions you as an up-to-date executive who embraces social media and knows how to operate in the digital age.
- Differentiates the unique value you offer over executive job seekers competing against you.
The last item is one I often see executives derail by loading their LinkedIn profiles with anemic, overused phrases that do nothing to differentiate them.
Several years ago, workplace and career expert Liz Ryan wrote an article listing these 10 boilerplate phrases that kill resumes:
- Results-oriented professional
- Cross-functional teams
- More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
- Superior (or excellent) communication skills
- Strong work ethic
- Met or exceeded expectations
- Proven track record of success
- Works well with all levels of staff
- Team player
- Bottom-line orientation
These are time-worn phrases that have been overused across executives’ career marketing materials (online and offline) for more than a decade.
Nearly five years after she wrote the article, the same hackneyed phrases are still being circulated in hefty doses.
Other vague, overused, and ineffectual phrases include:
- Responsible for . . .
- Demonstrated success at . . .
- Proven abilities in . . .
- Team Leader
When I first started writing career marketing materials for job seekers, the phrases above were new and little-used, so they DID help to make executive job seekers stand out . . . but that was about 20 years ago.
What’s wrong with using these phrases in your LinkedIn profile?
- Non-specific, anemic phrases waste precious space and don’t help define the unique value you offer. Differentiation (not sameness) positions you to land.
- The right relevant keywords (not fluff) need to be in the right places in your profile if you want to be found by recruiters and hiring decision makers.
Especially in today’s competitive executive job market, your personal marketing materials (online profiles, resume, biography, and other career documents and web pages) need to differentiate you, generate chemistry and precisely distinguish the value you offer your target employers over others competing for the same jobs.
Using the same anemic phrases, and sounding like everyone else, won’t pique interest, and reinforce your brand and good-fit for those employers.
Let the people you’re trying to attract know specifically how you’ll positively impact their organization.
Do the back-end personal branding work to help you clearly define what makes you unique and valuable, and come up with differentiating words and phrases to showcase your value.
Pay special attention to how you brand your LinkedIn professional headline and summary section. Don’t waste valuable real estate by using any of the anemic phrases above in your headline. Recruiters and hiring decision makers won’t search “results-oriented executive” to find candidates like you.
They search using relevant keywords and phrases. Make your LinkedIn headline SEO-friendly by including the right relevant keywords.