I’ve been made redundant – what do I say on my LinkedIn profile?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions in our career webinars and workshops. On top of all their other anxieties about being made redundant many executives and business leaders feel embarrassed or reluctant to let the world know all about it. That’s understandable but, if you want to get your career back on track quickly, it’s usually the best plan of action. In fact, sometimes (you might not be feeling this yet) an unexpected invitation to change can be a blessing.
Forget the stigma
There’s been a shift in mindset during the pandemic. According to LinkedIn research, seven in 10 people agree that stigma around redundancy has reduced. Those who are out of work are now three times more likely to ask for help from their network of friends, family and former colleagues than those who experienced redundancy prior to the pandemic.
That’s good news because it really is best to forget the stigma and express yourself. One of the most effective vehicles to demonstrate and circulate your availability to head hunters, talent acquisition executives and recruitment consultants is LinkedIn.
At any one time there are around 3 million jobs posted on LinkedIn and 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary source of candidates. However, with around 760 million worldwide users, getting noticed on LinkedIn involves a lot more than simply cutting and pasting the content from your CV into your profile.
According to LinkedIn’s own figures, a complete profile, tailored to the jobs you want and including specific, search engine optimised keywords will get 132% more views. Some of our LinkedIn clients have received a 450% increase in profile views in just one week.
We create thousands of executive LinkedIn profiles for our clients each year. Each one is completely bespoke because they reflect individual personal brands and tell specific career stories. Here we outline the process we use, which may be helpful if you’ve recently been made redundant.
Approach it like a new client meeting or marketing pitch
Our first step is to put ourselves in the mind of your future employer. What is their motivation for hiring you? Here, we encourage our executive clients to think in terms of preparing a business case.
That involves answering questions such as: What ROI will you deliver? What are your key areas of expertise and strength? And, what is your USP?
Consider how you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Invest the time in formulating this strategically. Just as you would when creating any other business case or sales pitch.
This is an incredibly valuable exercise. It’s all about translating your impeccable career history, skills and achievements into tangible results. And, then recognising – and selling – the value you will bring.
Create a headline with impact
The headline is a major factor in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. LinkedIn allows 120 characters here, so use them to create a powerful snapshot of your strengths and incorporate appropriate keywords. Your headline is also a great opportunity to advertise your availability with a ‘currently seeking new opportunities in ….’ reference.
Your headline doesn’t have to be your former job title but you can’t afford to be vague. For example, “I help businesses grow” or “I motivate and inspire great teams” don’t work as headlines. Headhunters search for candidates with certain keywords in their headline and they are more likely to type in Head of Business Development or HR Director.
Develop a consistent tone of voice that reflects your personal brand, values and aspirations
Unlike your CV, which should be tailored to each specific role you apply for, your LinkedIn profile needs to touch on all the aspects of your value-add across the range of roles you may be applying for. Your Summary section is where you need to establish your credibility and tell your story. You have only 2000 characters to position yourself as a visionary leader.
Think along the lines of a short punchy pitch. An accomplishment-oriented narrative that highlights the depth of your experience and cherry picks your main achievements. Concluding your summary with a call to action is optional – but something along the lines of ‘I would welcome contact from headhunters and hiring managers regarding opportunities in XYZ’ will reinforce your position and make it easy for recruiters to contact you.
Use keywords to optimise your profile – but keep it professional and engaging
LinkedIn is a giant applicant tracking system (ATS). It’s critical your profile contains the right keywords in the right places to maximise your chance of appearing in recruiter searches. These keywords or ‘keyword phrases’ could be job titles, key skills, knowledge and expertise that a recruiter is likely to type into LinkedIn, or that an AI is likely to use to establish a shortlist.
There’s an art and science to keyword optimisation on LinkedIn. It often means saying the same thing in a slightly different way as you can never be sure exactly what the recruiter will search for. For example, cyber security AND cyber monitoring could both be applicable, so you should include them both but in a manner that feels natural and engaging.
Take care to use terms that are commonly used to describe a professional at your level. If you’re positioning yourself as a senior level executive, focus on describing achievements or challenges you’ve overcome. Your words should be highlighting your impact in areas such as strategic planning, risk management, digital transformation or mentoring and coaching that delivered performance improvement.
Most industries have career-specific terms, jargon and acronyms. It’s important to include these in your profile. Target employers will use them in their job descriptions and person specifications. Recruiters often search for specific technical skills or software experience, so make sure you include these, using the full name and the abbreviation if appropriate.
Finally, your desired work location is an often over looked keyword. Yet, it’s the first thing many recruiters search. Remember, it doesn’t have to be where you live.
Establish a thought leader position
It’s worth adding a short synopsis or description of your board memberships, trustee roles, industry projects, certifications and examples of your published work in your LinkedIn profile. They inject personality and demonstrate that you bring broader life experience to the table. Posting articles or white papers you’ve written will also help to position you as an industry expert; others will come to you for professional advice and valuable relationships can flourish.
LinkedIn is an ideal way to let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities. But, it’s much more than that. It’s also the perfect platform to build your professional brand, differentiate yourself from the competition and pitch yourself as a visionary leader.