Level Up On LinkedIn: Increase Your Score in Three Steps

With Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar acquisition of LinkedIn, it’s a safe bet to say the platform will only become more prominent for recruitment and hiring decisions within the next few years. It may even replace traditional recruiting methods by 2030.

Yet some of its newest features have turned LinkedIn from the “Facebook for Jobs” to a mind-blowing Black Mirror episode on recruitment and hiring strategies. Its social and automated ranking system is getting very real, and recruiters can easily use both to screen potential candidates.

Whatever you do – don’t panic. While LinkedIn is getting closer to the episode Nosedive it’s not likely headed into White Bear or Hated in the Nation territory just yet (if even at all). However, you can still arm yourself with these three strategies to keep your professional reputation safe, marketable and relevant as AI ranks and rates our professional lives.

1. Double-check Your LinkedIn Skills Section

This may sound like a given yet its commonly overlooked. LinkedIn’s automation software asks new users a series of questions regarding common knowledge. This ends up creating profiles with lists of generic skills including ‘Detail-Oriented,’ ‘Communication’ and ‘Time-Management’ – which rarely add value. Sure, they’re great skills to master, but do they truly set you apart from your competition?

Unfortunately many users fail to realize their automatic, self-selected skills become featured prominently on their LinkedIn profile. If ‘Microsoft Word’ or ‘Hard-Working’ are still listed in your skills section - get rid of them ASAP!

For the greatest searchability, update your profile to include skills directly related to your industry and/or dream employer. Look at job descriptions to get ideas about what you have within you to include. This can range from ‘Intermediate knowledge of AutoCAD’ to ‘Customer Retainment.

Bonus Tip: Recruiters use LinkedIn to Search for Keywords

Think of it this way: If you were a recruiter, would you be searching for Microsoft Word to find the best talent, or would you be as specific as possible to the employer’s needs?

Another Bonus Tip:

Edit this section to highlight the top three skills and/or areas of knowledge you’d want your dream employer to see. While you can add more than three, your top three are displayed to users without the need for an extra click – which not only makes them more visible and searchable to recruiters, but entices your network to click “Endorse.”

2. Use LinkedIn to Put More Effort into Recommendations and Endorsements

With Emotional Intelligence being all the rage in recruitment and hiring, what you get isn’t always as important as what you give.

Recruiters and employers can see the number of recommendations you receive as well as the number you’ve given – and each company will have varying vetting priorities regarding giving vs. getting.

A good rule of thumb is to keep them about equal. But the decision is yours and yours alone. Do you want to be known as a motivator without asking for anything in return? Or do you deserve return payment in the form of LinkedIn validations? Take time to make this decision wisely and stick to your guns. Your life and social media are in your hands and your hands alone.

Black Mirror Connection (Spoiler Alert):

Remember the episode Nosedive? Bryce Dallas Howard’s initial high ratings were somewhat skewed due being ranked by people deemed to have little importance. Is it worth the effort to ask your higher ups for recommendations? There is no definite answer, but it’s worth the thought.

3. Your Articles and Activity Matter on LinkedIn

To land higher in LinkedIn’s search results, it’s a must to like, share and comment on posts aligning with your values and line of work. It will also show your dedication to your industry without creating an office-political firestorm.

Yet in the age of social media, it’s easy to publicly type-rant about anything – from politics to traffic, Marvel v. DC and even your idiot cousin Jimmy’s dumb decision to bet his entire life savings on the Pirates winning the World Series.

Feel free to type-rant on Facebook, or even twitter. Those platforms have easily navigable privacy settings allowing users to select their intended audiences. When it comes to LinkedIn, however, your likes, shares, posts and comments are visible to recruiters and hiring managers alike.

If you’ve found yourself trapped in a rabbit-hole of controversial LinkedIn activity – take time to forgive yourself. Yes, recruiters can see your likes, comments and shares but it may not be the end of your employability. Recency is seen before relevancy on LinkedIn, so while your past can’t be erased you can improve your future.

Bonus Tip: Posting an Article will Increase Your ranking in LinkedIn’s Search Engine

It’s one thing to like, share, post and comment – those all show your dedication to your professional development and increase your ranking in LinkedIn’s search engine. But writing an article - which is fancy Linkedin lingo for blog post – will help you stand out as a published author and will greatly improve your searchability. While one post won’t make you a NY Times Bestseller, it will increase your chances of being found through LinkedIn’s search tool.

Let’s say a recruiter is searching for “UX Designer.” There are thousands on LinkedIn, but your dedication to articles have ranked you 1st in the search results. While articles won’t necessarily guarantee employment, they’ll get you noticed.

Final LinkedIn Tip:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of your LinkedIn profile being used as a pre-screening tool, here’s some good news: The decision to play along with LinkedIn’s social validation system is entirely your call.

Even in 2019 it’s still possible to land a date without Tinder. The same goes for landing a job without LinkedIn. Yet in 2020 and beyond, LinkedIn’s social validation system will become a major player in recruitment. Do you want to join the game?