BI Career Development – June 2011

If you don’t have a powerful LinkedIn profile, these numbers should scare you: 70% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. They use it as a primary source and follow up with a traditional resume only when they find the capabilities they are seeking.

This was a consistent message heard throughout a resume writing conference I recently attended. I typically don’t like what I call “misinformed statistics” – when I don’t know who created the numbers, what data they used, and for what purpose the analysis was done. I was ready to believe that the number was exaggerated, but was convinced otherwise when I heard an IT executive recruiter describe how he finds qualified candidates for his clients.

Here is his story. “John” actively uses LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates. He’ll review their job history, skill set, and achievements to determine if it’s worth his time to contact them. This initial selection process is followed by a resume request along with a phone discussion. If he receives the resume first, he’ll go to the person’s LinkedIn profile to get more information. If he is disappointed with what he finds, he may terminate his search.

After I heard his compelling message, I thought to myself: Could it be that the numbers for IT recruiters are higher than for other fields? This thought stayed with me until I heard conflicting evidence on my return flight to Seattle (via Dallas). I sat next to a telecom company owner who was on his way to make a sales presentation to AT&T.; His company designs and implements G4 infrastructures. He told me that his HR manager uses LinkedIn to find about 60% of their candidates and would increase that number if they got the AT&T; job. Do I have your attention?

Newly informed but still unsure, I now think that the LinkedIn numbers for IT recruiters are much higher than I imagined. Whether it’s 60%, 70% or 80%, can you really afford to take the chance that you might lose an opportunity? Look to see how your profile measures up. Don’t delay! You are missing out on opportunities.

To start you on your way, let’s look at LinkedIn headlines with a120-character limit. This is where you add your branding statement because it will follow you throughout your communications. Consider the most important statement to say about your achievements by first thinking about the top 3-5 things you want people to know. Then condense these down to a single sentence, a series of words or phrases, or the combination of both. This sounds so easy, and it certainly is when you do it badly.

I’m going to use my profile as an example, not as a thinly veiled marketing ploy, but as a great example of how to move from merely adequate to exceptional. I made this transition after hearing an embarrassing statement about my LinkedIn profile, “Jennifer must certainly be proud of her certifications.” I am, of course, but I was embarrassed that I had completely missed the point of my using my headline.

Here’s my story – I started out with the below headline that was loaded with my resume writing credentials. I thought that people would want to know my qualifications. Well, in fact, they do but it’s not the most important thing to say about myself. And, seriously, my potential clients are not going to spend the time to understand the significance of my certifications. Bottom line, they want a qualified writer who understands their industry.

Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW), Certified Resume Specialist in IT, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

I spent quite a bit of time just thinking about my message and decided that there were 5 things that were important to say. I wrote out each statement, and then I went back and added a short phrase to clarify each one.
  1. I have credentials that are well-respected in the resume writing community. (highly credentialed)
  2. I am a resume writer with solid experience writing technical resumes. (IT Resume Writer)
  3. I have experience working in IT and business intelligence.  (IT and BI experience)
  4. I am able to understand a technical person’s achievements and this makes me different from other writers. (IT impact)
  5. It’s important for a technical resume to speak in language that the business understands. (business value)
And drums rolls, please – here is the end result. It may not resonate with everyone, but it doesn’t need to do so. It serves its purpose by accurately describing me.

Highly credentialed IT Resume Writer with IT and BI experience connects achievements with business value and IT impact.

Summary

Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t wait until you need a new job because by then it may be too late. It’s painful to hear a client say that they are looking for another position because of turmoil within their company but they can’t setup a profile because someone will find out they are looking. Use your profile now to network, learn best practices from others, and share your expertise – it will be there for you in the future when you are looking for other opportunities.

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About Jennifer Hay

Jennifer combines career coaching and resume writing skills with a broad knowledge of information technology to provide specialized and targeted career guidance services to IT professionals. Jennifer's varied background of IT positions, technical training, career counseling, and educational advising make a solid foundation for IT career counseling. Her interest in the human side of career development makes each career plan personal and individualized. Her unique and IT-specific assessment methods help people to make the best career decisions. A disciplined approach to planning and action helps to turn decisions and plans into real career successes. Please visit Jennifer's website or contact her through email at jhay@ITresumeservice.com.

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