Being poached is great. It’s even better when it’s for your dream job. Living in this day and age means you can put your best foot forward by managing your online presence. There are some very small but key things you can do to make yourself more “poachable”. I was poached for my current role heading up the social media strategy for one of Australia’s largest quick service restaurants, and it wasn’t by mistake.
I knew that I could use social media to help stand out from the crowd, and implement a few key tactics that would help me work with the social media algorithms and get to the top of the search results page on LinkedIn. It worked! So I thought I would share how I did it, so that hopefully you too will put yourself in the best possible position to be poached for your dream job.
Psst. If you’re interested in hearing about exactly how I was poached and the process, come back to read about my career story coming soon. I talk about exactly what I went through when deciding to move jobs and how I arrived at the decision.
Update your Profile Picture:
Your profile picture is the only way to visually portray yourself on LinkedIn (unless you use an image of yourself in your cover image as well, which I’ll get to) so it’s an important one to get right.
If you don’t have the money to go and get professional headshots taken – no worries. Mine (pictured below) is actually just a selfie that I performed a little photoshop magic on and cropped tightly.
I wanted to go for a coloured background so it would really stand out in search results. I even researched the psychology and meaning of colours so I could pick one that I thought would be the most representative of the qualities I wanted to portray.
After a little research I chose a blue background. The colour of trust, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, security and confidence. All qualities I wanted to portray.
If you’re not sure which colour would suit you best, CoSchedule have a great little infographic to help you choose.
I also chose to post the image on a slight angle. Again, this was just quite unique compared to most of the profile pictures out there and I thought it would add to me “standing out” as much as possible.
Make Use of Your Cover Image:
For me, I wanted something simple that showed an example of what I do in my day to day work. I chose an image of me and one of the products I promote.
If that approach doesn’t interest you, here are some other ideas for using the space in your cover image:
- Turn it into an impactful art piece that uses your Profile Picture as part of the image (similar to how one talented designer did the below for his Facebook page)
- Type out your favourite quote that you think represents you well
- Add call to actions for people to check out your work or head over to your blog.
However you choose to use it, just make it count. It’s added visual real estate for you to help showcase who you are and what you’re all about.
Make Your Tagline Catchy & The Characters Count!
It kills me when I see so many people just list their job title in their tag line. You have a whole 120 characters to use here – make them count. You can use your job title and add in a few keywords or skills you want to be known for.
Here I have my job title and the company I work for along with the things I want to be known for or come up in the search results for. When people search “social media”, “digital strategist”, “digital evangelist” or “blogger” I’ll be in the running to appear in the search results (more on this later).
So have a think about what else you could include in your tag line to position yourself where you want to be.
If you’re the kind of person who is often speaking at events, featured in magazines and guest blogging then it makes perfect sense to have a summary written in third person. This allows you to be able to better control how you are described to people as you encourage them to “copy and paste” your LinkedIn summary.
That being said, if this isn’t something you’re currently doing a lot of or you would prefer to “stand out” in a much bigger way, then I would definitely recommend a more creative approach.
Use this as your chance to get on your soap box and say whatever it is you want to. Highlight your key achievements (don’t be too modest) or outline what you’re looking for in a job and an employer (if you’re searching for new opportunities).
I tried to use my summary to highlight a few of my values and beliefs that I couldn’t list as “skills”. I have had a couple of people compliment me on just having a summary that is unique – and I think that’s the key. A lot of the game is to try to look different to everyone else. To have someone remember your profile because it was so well put together, and the summary was so well written.
Add Symbols to Your Tagline + Summary:
You may have already noticed in my tagline (above) that I’ve used symbols to break up the different keywords. Using symbols in your tagline and in your summary is a great way to help your profile and particular points stand out.
Using them in the summary section as “bullet points” to make a few key points stand out works well too.
Here are some of my favourite symbols to use (so you can copy and paste them into your profile):
♦♢♔ ♕ ♚ ♛ ★ ☆ ✮ ✯ ♬ ✆ ✉ ✦ ✧✔ ✕ ✖✑✒ ❃ ▲ △ ▼ ▽ ◆ ◇ ✍ ✎ ✏ ✐
The more connected you are with your network on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to have an extended network of “2nd Degree Connections” which makes you seem relevant to more people.
I highly recommend following up meetings by connecting with the people you meet, straight away. I would also recommend not just sending off the standard message: “I would like to add you to my personal network on LinkedIn” but personalising it based off of your conversation. Or if you don’t know them at all, it’s even more important to personalise the message. If I receive LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know, and they haven’t taken the time to send me a short note about why they would like to connect, I don’t accept them into my network.
It doesn’t have to be long (you’re limited by characters anyway) but something along the lines of the below I have found works well as a “cold call” LinkedIn connection email.
“Hi Sarah! I came across your LinkedIn profile and saw that we had a lot in common. I’m always keen to connect with like-minded people in our industry and thought it would be great to have one another on file in case you ever wanted to bounce around some ideas or chat through learnings.”
List Only Your Key Skills:
Although we know that lots of people totally rock Word, Excel and PowerPoint, it’s not really something that is likely to set you apart from another candidate. Think not only about the skills you have, but qualities you have. Are you a great communicator? A great listener? Great at getting people on board with an idea? Particularly creative or innovative?
I was specializing in social media, but continued to try to position myself as a “digital marketing” specialist as it allowed me to go into a number of different jobs (I did also have experience in other areas of digital marketing). You may have already picked up that I have a “digital marketing” theme to my LinkedIn presence rather than one of just “social media”. I believe that this opens me up to more opportunities than if I were to just label myself as a specialist in one area. As such, I’ve listed my skills with this in mind (see below):
Ask for Recommendations:
Gaining LinkedIn recommendations is one of the best ways to boost your credibility. Ask your boss, your colleagues, partners you’ve worked alongside, clients you’ve served or even peers you blog with. All totally valid.
I have personally found that the best way to almost guarantee a response is to write the recommendation you want yourself, and send it to the person you want as a template. This is even more important if the person you’re trying to get a recommendation from is really time poor.
Hope you’re doing really well these days.
I just wanted to get in touch and ask you kindly if you wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to give me a LinkedIn recommendation (if you feel I’m so deserving)!
I know you’re a super busy woman, so I put together a little something that you might want to use as a foundation. Feel free to use this as is, or edit/write your own if you prefer too.
“Over two years ago, I hired Kate (through Reload Media) to help me grow my Facebook page presence. We started with under 5,000 fans attached to my fan page and now my page has over 90,000 fans who are extremely engaged with my brand. Through making recommendations on content, fan acquisition and promotional strategies we’ve built a really strong community who help to take our business to the next level. I’d recommend Kate to anyone looking to grow and engage their social media community.”
If you wouldn’t mind sparing the few minutes to help out, it would be extremely appreciated.
Of course, if you would like I am more than happy to return the favor for you also.
“SEO” your LinkedIn Profile Across the Board:
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter who is trying to find you for your dream job position. What keywords do they think to search to try to find their candidate?
Write them down. Review your profile at the end and see where you can edit your headline, summary, job position descriptions and skills to include those keywords.
For me, I wanted people to find me for: “Social media strategist”, “social media marketing”, “digital strategist”and “digital marketing”. I chose to add “social media specialist” and “experienced digital strategist” to my tagline as I knew my top skills were already “digital marketing” and “social media marketing” so in order to ensure I was found for the other two keywords, I had to add them to a prominent part of my profile.
I also revised my summary to list a bunch of keywords and phrases I would like to appear in the search listings for, and it worked. I watched my LinkedIn profile rise to the top of the search results page for my chosen keywords and it was such a great feeling to be there.
At one point at my last job, I was ahead of all of our managers in the search results pages for the keywords “digital marketing” which I was truly proud of. They absolutely had more experience than I did, but I managed to play the game according to the LinkedIn algorithm, and got myself on top! You can too. Just follow these LinkedIn profile tips and you’ll be on your way to the top of the search results for your chosen keywords in no time.
If you have any questions about updating your LinkedIn presence or any other social media channel, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or if you have your own ideas, I would love to hear about your LinkedIn tips!