If you’re over 50, considering a job search, and haven’t updated LinkedIn or created a profile, you could be in a tough spot.
Today, employers and recruiters expect to find your credentials on the site – and they also expect you to be reasonably social media-savvy.
If you’ve never set up a robust LinkedIn Profile (or you’ve never considered why it’s important to do so), these tips will help you make changes in your use and perception of LinkedIn.
Change your view of LinkedIn.
First off, you’ll need to embrace LinkedIn for a successful over-50 job search, no matter what you’ve thought of it in the past.
Job seeking practices have changed substantially over the past decade – and with approximately 1 billion users, LinkedIn has continued to be THE hub for job seekers and employers to exchange information.
Nearly 95% of all employers use the site to identify and court job seekers, according to some studies. It’s been said that if you can’t be found on LinkedIn, you don’t exist.
By putting more of your personal brand message out there for public viewing, you can gain a stronger online presence that backs up your credibility as an applicant. Conversely, some employers and recruiters may discover you on LinkedIn first, then request your resume (rather than the other way around).
It’s important to realize that you already HAVE an online identity, no matter if you populate LinkedIn or not.
Google yourself, and you’re likely to see online entries with your name, job title, age, or even your address. You’re far better off controlling this information, and LinkedIn is one of the BEST tools for this purpose.
Fill in every section of LinkedIn possible for maximum results.
The best sections to use are the Headline, About, Experience, Skills, Education, and Certifications. Don’t worry if you can’t completely populate each area at first.
By design, LinkedIn will prompt you to finish empty sections, helping you to add data that appeals to employers and other users looking to connect with you.
Some users in the over-50 category make the mistake of leaving a barely done LinkedIn Profile on display, which does little to convince employers of your personal brand value.
Instead, supply as much information as possible to leverage the site’s AI-backed algorithms, which drive more traffic to users with robust Profiles (especially when these users comment on posts of professional interest).
You can also review Profiles of other users in your field for inspiration.
Build a strategy for showing dates of employment and education.
Most employers are interested in your history from the past 10-15 years, no matter if you fit the over-50 group or not. Therefore, your Experience section should focus on this part of your career.
You can also, if needed, eliminate dates of attendance from your college studies on LinkedIn by omitting the year of graduation when specifying degrees or university programs.
What if you have relevant job experience (such as previous military history) from past roles that would otherwise “date” you as a candidate?
Simply fold these into your last job entry in the description field, captioned as “Additional Experience” and noting the name of the organization. This strategy will allow you to keep the information, but emphasize the experience, rather than the time period in which it occurred.
Tune your LinkedIn Profile to match employer searches.
It’s important to align the content of your LinkedIn Profile with common terms in your industry and at your career level, so that others can find you and potentially recruit you. The best way to do this? Research and insert keywords into specific parts of your profile.
First of all, identify the skills you commonly use in your work – particularly those you find in job postings.
A Chief Operating Officer job might list Process Improvement or Manufacturing Efficiency, while a VP of Sales could include Customer Relationships or Consultative Selling.
Be sure to incorporate technology expertise, as these skills are expected to become even more important in today’s AI and automation-centric business climate.
Next, ensure these skills are featured in your LinkedIn Headline and About section. You can look at A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline to get ideas on filling in your Headline field for the most impact.
Since LinkedIn’s algorithm is focused on the recurrence of common keywords, you can add them in several places throughout your Profile for better keyword density. These include the Skills, Certifications, Projects, and Job Title fields.
Adjust your LinkedIn Photo for optimum results.
Don’t ignore the need for a headshot on your Profile! According to LinkedIn, users with a Photo receive up to 14 times more views.
Put your best professional foot forward with a headshot that reflects your current professional stature, rather than trying to hide your age with an outdated photo.
Consult a stylist or ask your photographer for tips, explaining the purpose of your photo and selecting a shot that demonstrates vibrancy and professionalism for a well-qualified candidate.
You can also review the Profiles of other users at your career level to get a feel for accepted attire, demeanor, backgrounds, and other elements of your headshot. After all, these may be your competitors for a new job.
Remember that LinkedIn can be a strong and effective job seeking tool at any age and level.
By demonstrating your ability to navigate social media and your effectiveness in supplying relevant data, you will be in a better position to impress employers and control your online identity.
Originally published on Job-Hunt.org