Whether you were looking for a new job before the pandemic hit or have lost your job because of it, one thing is clear: getting hired may be more difficult than before. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. You’re now in the marketing business, marketing yourself. And you are a brand.

Although times may be uncertain, the one thing you don’t want to do is put your job search on hold, because the job you want may get snatched up by someone else who didn’t hit the pause button. Right now, put yourself ahead of the competition and get prepared.

How to Prep Your Job Search 

Take advantage of your downtime by researching which industries are staffing up because of the pandemic. Public safety, health care and government jobs may have openings, so search the channels where they’re posting. It’s also a good time to learn new skills or enroll in an online certificate or degree program. 

Although it’s tempting to binge watch this month’s most popular TV shows, focus on revamping your resume and check out what career experts have to say. How to Prepare for a Job Interview on YouTube yielded 396,000,000 results in .41 seconds, so it’s a highly searched topic. Watch a few videos, then schedule mock interviews with a friend. After you’re done feeling awkward, update your LinkedIn profile. 

LinkedIn is the number one B2B social platform for job recruitment with more than 20 million companies listed and over 14 million jobs advertised. It’s so popular in fact, that over 90% of recruiters use the platform. You can network like crazy – even virtually – but there’s no substitute for LinkedIn. You need to stand out and the best way to do that is with a killer profile. 

Create a LinkedIn Profile that Gets a Recruiter’s Attention  

What makes a great profile? And how do you break through the crowd to get noticed by hiring managers, peers, and others who’ll connect you to the opportunities you want? 

Your profile is a way to tell your story and be discovered. And it will put you in front of the right people because most recruiters and headhunters are scrolling every day using industry keywords. Know what those keywords are and be strategic in marketing yourself. After all, you are your brand 24/7 – even while you sleep.

6 Surefire Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

  1. Use a high-quality, professional profile photo. If you know how to smile with your eyes, all the better. A head-and-shoulders shot is usually the best and definitely, no hats, sunglasses or sex appeal. If you need a headshot, check out  Snappr. It’s a cool website that can help you find a professional photographer. If you’re wearing a turtleneck or shoulder pads in your current headshot, it’s time for a refresh (and maybe a stylist). Change up photos every 3 – 5 years. 
  2. Choose the perfect background image. You can use LinkedIn’s standard image (kind of boring) or create one that reflects your industry or style. Make sure it’s the right size so you don’t end up with weird proportions or cropping. Use a custom tool like Canva to create one or find free backgrounds on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Pexels. You might even find one searching for virtual backgrounds to use on Zoom.
  3. Your headline is key. Make a positive impression and let people know exactly what you bring to the table. Sure, you can state your current job and use keywords, but have some fun, too. Keep experimenting and don’t be afraid to try something new. You have about 70 characters to use in your headline to avoid getting cut off on mobile devices. To be sure, check out recent LinkedIn stats. You can find them here
  4. Turn your summary into your story. Describe who you are and what you’re looking for. Highlight some of the projects you’ve been part of and post links to recent accomplishments, awards, press mentions, and more. Include some of your interests outside of work, and courses you’ve taken or special areas of interest. Also, be sure to remove all old and irrelevant experience from your profile. It’s probably not who you are now, anyway.
  5. Use buzzwords sparingly. Show rather than tell and give specific examples of what makes you unique and stand out. Anyone can let you know why they qualify as an expert, but what makes you different from everyone else? Let your experience speak for itself. And before hitting the save button, take a look at LinkedIn’s List of 10 Overused Words.
  6. Give and receive kudos. Strong recommendations on LinkedIn go a long way and almost always increase your credibility. Before you even ask, go through your network and identify connections you genuinely feel deserve an endorsement from you. Write freely and see what happens. Whether you believe in Karma or not, this practice creates the Boomerang effect and people typically respond in kind.

The Bottom Line 

The coronavirus health crisis has dramatically changed the employment landscape across the country. And, unfortunately, there are many things out of control, and out of your control. It’s important though, to stay focused on the things you can control.

Focus on building a strong personal and professional brand. Research your industry and improve your skills. Create a well-crafted, keyword rich LinkedIn profile. The more strategic your description is, the better your chances are that recruiters will find you and like what they see.

With every cloud there is a silver lining. Use this time to reflect on what you want and what’s important, so when the floodgates open, you’ll be ready. 

Now is the time to tell your story and change your future. 

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