How Your Amazing LinkedIn Profile Can Drive Hard Business Results

January 17, 2012

Can you use your LinkedIn profile to overcome the following candidate objections?

"The job's too far away."
"I'm happy where I am."
"The pay isn't enough."

Sometimes, you really can.

Because sometimes, the above objections aren't really on the level. Sometimes, they're code for:

"I don't trust you."
"You're making me uncomfortable."
"If you're the face of the company, then I'm not feeling the love here."

So while you as a talent professional prepare to meet candidates' objections, often, your preparation assumes that you can take a person at his or her word. Which you can't always do.

Now, it's important to note that just because someone snows you doesn't mean the person's a coward or a bad egg. Good people soften their punches, too, often with good reason. They may want to avoid that inevitable argument that happens when you disagree with them, for instance. Whatever. The point is, this behavior is natural, common, and acceptable.

And it leads to the conclusion that sometimes, the problem is us, even when we're told it's something else.

Of course, we still have to fix it. Here are four tips for eliminating candidates' unspoken objections:

1. (Overall) Build a credible profile. When you reach out to someone, make sure you come across as someone worth their time.

2. (Experience) Don't speak resumé. When LinkedIn launched, it made sense that people would treat profiles like just an online resumé. Not anymore. In 2012, we need to be thinking "professional profile of record," which is so much more! We need to show candidates that we represent the type of organization that sees the potential to use Specialties, Skills, and Applications to bring static information to life! LinkedIn gives us the ability to turn bullet points into a story! Because here's the thing: if I'm Grade A talent, I don't want to see you doing things "the way it's always been done," I want to see you pushing the boundaries of what's possible!

3. (Headline) Pick an audience. Write for someone specific. I get requests to connect from "technical recruiters" all the time. Why should I connect with you? What makes you a better fit for me? Don't tell me you're a "passionate technical recruiter," that won't cut it. (See #2.) Are you focused on a certain company or industry or geographic region? On a particular level of professional? Zeroing in on an audience helps me say yes to you when the fit is there!

4. (Photo) Get Profersonal™. Profersonal™ = professional + personal. It's a made-up word, and it's exactly what people want from you online. The standard corporate headshot is nice but lacks personality; that party shot of you shows off your smile but may not be someone I'd entrust my career to. Err on the side of professional, but see if you can find a shot that communicates both professionalism and personality.

Making these changes can help you increase the efficiency of your sourcing process by helping quality candidates say yes to you personally, so that together you can work on the nuts and bolts of the opportunity at hand. Which means that fixing your profile can, indeed, drive business results.

Jason Seiden is co-Founder of Ajax Social Media, a company dedicated to helping professionals use LinkedIn to drive business results. Find him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/seiden, and join him for a webcast with more tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile this Wednesday, January 18 .

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