Yesterday as I was researching stats for my LinkedIn post I came across numerous articles about how recruiters search, find and look at profiles. Every article gave similar advice: have a profile photo, make sure your title is fabulous, and update your location. After that, pepper your experience and summary with the right keywords to be found by recruiters. What are the right keywords? Ah, that you have to figure out by yourself.
Away from LinkedIn and offline, job hunters are given different instructions. One piece of advice often repeated is to customize your resume for each position you are applying for. The process goes something like this: read the job description, understand what the company is looking for and ensure that your resume addresses those needs.
The gap between that advice and what happens online is huge.
First, recruiters believe active job hunters are less attractive than passive candidates. Passive candidates, however, don’t send in a custom-tailored resume but they might have a profile on LinkedIn.
Second, on LinkedIn you can only have one version of your resume. Right now, users can inflate it with keywords and achievements that include every virtual customized version of their resume that they would otherwise create for different positions. This makes profiles more likely to be found but harder to read.
Third, search is the link between recruiters and potential candidates, active job hunters or not. Recruiters search for candidates and want to find the best candidates in the shortest possible time, and find means search. Wherever there is a search, and whenever search is crucial to discovery, there is search engine optimization That is why candidates are given advice to bulk up their profile with the right keywords: so that they have a better chance of not only being included in search results but being included towards the top.
Fourth: title and location are what can drive a recruiter to look at a profile. Just like on the big search engines, titles are important. But unlike a website, where webmasters and SEOers can try various landing pages with different titles and different keywords, A/B test the heck out of them, and optimize in perpetuity, LinkedIn has one page and one title.
So here’s an idea: give users the option to create more than one profile, with a different title, different profile photo and different content. Let them experiment with whatever variables they want. Then have LinkedIn search display those profiles to recruiters as if they were the only profile. Give the job hunters specific and detailed analytics to help them see what companies using what search terms and looking to fill what position saw their profile and chose to click on it.
Benefits are to both parties: recruiters will get the candidates that are a better fit for positions they are looking for and job hunters have a better chance to be found for positions they are actually interested in. Plus, they will spend more time on LinkedIn and by making themselves more valuable to recruiters, they are making LinkedIn more valuable for recruiters. Win-win.