In the world of recruitment (or at least from the perspective of any recruiter), there really are only two types of candidates: ‘active’ candidates and ‘passive’ candidates.
If you’re an active candidate, you are literally doing everything you can to find a new job.
You’ve got feeds coming through from all the relevant job boards; you’ve probably registered with a few recruitment agencies; your CV is up to date; you are constantly sending applications off… I’m sure you get the gist.
So then what’s a passive candidate?
A passive candidate is someone who is actually very happy in their current role. However, if an absolutely amazing opportunity happened to be presented to them, they wouldn’t say no to a coffee or phone call to learn a bit more.
The active candidate is being proactive – taking the job-hunting situation into his or her own hands – controlling the search.
Just because the passive candidate is happy with their current job, it doesn’t mean they can’t still be doing something that could one day lead to that cup of coffee, quick phone call or ultimately even the next step in their career.
Sure, they might not be out there pounding the pavement, popping out of the office for a few ‘doctors appointments’ every now and then, or keeping their resignation letter in their top drawer just in case (you know who you are!).
But passive job seekers should still always be thinking one step ahead to ensure that the right eyeballs could find them for the right opportunities … whenever the time comes.
How to attract job offers
It really all comes down to having a strong LinkedIn profile that is kept up to date, highlights your achievements, and clearly states where you are in your career and what the next path on the journey might look like.
Here are a few tips on how to build a LinkedIn profile (especially for passive job seekers) that can help attract those lucrative job offers.
Trust me, clicking the “interested in learning about new opportunities” box doesn’t quite cut it, since most people don’t even realise that button is there so it’s almost as if everyone has opted in by default.
1. It’s really all about the summary
I have been telling job seekers for years that employers and recruiters spend about 10 seconds scanning a cover letter or CV before deciding whether to read it in more detail.
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, the same can be said for the summary.
It’s not a tweet – so don’t make it too brief. It’s not a Facebook post – so don’t make it too colloquial or fill it with abbreviations assuming readers will know what you mean. Assume they won’t.
It’s your public LinkedIn profile, out there for everyone to see, so you’ve got to nail it.
Tell a potential future employer how good you are at what you do, and where you see your career going.
2. The more detail the better
This is where you can really flesh out what might not seem relevant to include on your CV. Plus, you can write far more personally here to let a reader see who you really are.
There’s only so much you should include in a formal résume or cover letter, but stories about personal and career accomplishments have their place in LinkedIn profiles.
3. It’s not all about endorsements
I look at my own LinkedIn profile and I see what I sometimes describe as a brick wall of photos of people endorsing me for skills.
To be absolutely honest I don’t even know who some of those ‘endorsers’ are, and I would not even consider some of the areas I have been endorsed in to be my key strengths.
Some of them definitely are, but others I would certainly not include in my bag of tricks. Recommendations, on the other hand, are far more powerful.
You should definitely keep these up to date. Colleagues, clients, suppliers, and others with whom you might interact on a regular basis are the best people to talk about your strengths and professional achievements.
After all, technically you can write whatever you want in your own summary, but to have other people (with links back to their own profiles to prove they are real) highlighting your strengths is invaluable.
4. Scatter key words throughout the profile
Online marketing specialists are always telling businesses to scatter key words throughout their website copy to ensure the best search engine optimization.
The same approach can be applied to LinkedIn profiles.
If you want your profile to appear at the top of a potential employer’s (or recruiter’s) search now or at a later date, you must ensure that you have the right key words in your profile.
The way you describe what you do within your company could be different to the way a supplier sees what you do, the way a client sees what you do, or perhaps even to the way a competitor describes what they do.
If you want to be found, you want Google to detect the most relevant words and phrases in your profile.
5. Ensure you have a custom profile URL
Does your profile look like this?
Or does it look like this?
You definitely want to have a custom profile. You can include it on business cards, in your email signature, in blogging bios, or on your own website. It’s an easy and memorable way for people to connect with you.
6. A picture tells a thousand words
So I am not even going to write anything more here.
Which LinkedIn profile photos do you think will be more likely to result in a future job offer?
7. Remember you can change your LinkedIn status
Just like on Facebook, you can change your LinkedIn status whenever you want. Here’s my tip though: If you’d put it on Facebook, then don’t put it on LinkedIn.
Update it professionally by sharing an interesting article or perhaps even writing a piece of your own. Everyone in your network, as well as anyone finding your profile as part of a candidate search, will see the post.
I used to tell candidates that if I had two CVs in front of me from candidates coming from very similar career backgrounds, I would immediately look at the personal accomplishments or ‘extracurricular activities’ section to get more of a feeling of who they were outside work.
When it comes to LinkedIn profiles, I always look at the status, or at recent articles a potential candidate may have written.
With nearly 380 million LinkedIn members online around the world (with over 7 million of these in Australia), how are you going to make your own LinkedIn profile stand out to attract that next awesome opportunity?