How Harriet the Spy Helps You Show Up in LinkedIn Search Engine Results
Posted By Emily Warn on April 16, 2014
Google = Search. Right? Yes, if you need to find a black box in the Internet information sea. But LinkedIn is awash in data, too, and has a search engine to help us navigate it, and just as importantly, introduce ourselves to others. Unlike Google, we create much of the LinkedIn data through our profiles, connections, and LinkedIn activities. Its search engine, according to LinkedIn, delivers results based on “who you are, who you know, and what your network is doing.” If you’re looking for a job, or want to find like-minded colleagues, understanding how it works gives you a leg up.
Who You Know
More than 97% of recruiters look for talent on LinkedIn. If you’d like them to find you among the 200M other LinkedIn users, grow a strong professional network. LinkedIn networks work like those in the real world. For example, I got almost all of my jobs over the years because I knew someone who worked at the organization I was applying to, or knew someone who knew someone, etc. That pretty much describes how LinkedIn works. Connecting to someone on LinkedIn adds you to their network, and so, potentially in search results about them.
That’s why colleagues and recruiters are more likely to find you if your network is substantial. The more connections you have, the more likely you’ll show up in results. If one of your connections is influential in your field, that’s even better to a recruiter. So get busy. Research important people in your industry and figure out how to connect with them. Look up which Groups they’re in and join them, or find someone who knows them and ask for an introduction.
What Your Network is Doing
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about how LinkedIn Groups offer all the benefits of an industry conference without the hangover. If you participate in them, you can make professional contacts, share knowledge, and network for jobs. The more groups you participate in, the more LinkedIn search knows about how you’re interacting with your network and industry. A recruiter searching on an industry keyword might find you because of group conversations you’ve joined or posts you’ve contributed.
Who You Are
Your LinkedIn profile announces who you are to the wide, wide, LinkedIn world. To make sure your audience finds you in search results, be sure to include relevant keywords.
Peruse job descriptions to find them. Read other people’s profiles in your industry. Follow, or better yet, join in conversations. The most relevant keywords will rise to the top. Now add keywords to your job title, job descriptions, and profile narrative. But reasonably–don’t stuff them in between prepositions.
Who You Really Are
In Two Pens’ humble opinion, how well you write your profile matters as much as all the keywords and clever pay-attention-to-me tactics. Taking time to tell a well-crafted story—your story—will draw people to you.
Contrast these two profiles, both written by Kay Allison. She wrote the first when she ran her own small, consulting business; she wrote the second (her current one) when she changed companies (or merged hers with another). Which one captivates you?
Kay Allison AKA Harriet the Spy
In her first profile, Allison reveals that as a kid she modeled herself after Harriet the Spy–a gutsy, endearing way to introduce herself.
Not only do we relate, we want to know how Allison’s own scribbling in notebooks and eating only tomato sandwiches (Harriet was very structured) relate to being in the consumer insights profession. I definitely wanted to find out, so I read her complete (and short!) profile.
A Harriet impersonator myself, I identified with her, and I’m betting so did millions of other girls, now turned professional women. If I was in her industry, I’d quickly check out which LinkedIn groups she belonged to and try to connect with people who know her. Connecting up with an influential person in your profession also helps you rise in search results.
Kay Allison AKA Successful Business Consultant
Harriet’s disappeared from her second, more business-like profile. It, too, does a fine job of marketing her services by choosing a problem-solution structure as opposed to a narrative one. She explains that “The vast majority of new businesses and innovations fail (85-95%…” and then explains how her business solves the problem.
But the problem-solution approach is business as usual. How many case studies or brochures have you read that take this tact? It makes her less personable, and doesn’t, I think, communicate what she does as clearly as the Harriet analogy did. Will her high industry status and keywords help her show up in the results? Yes. But if you were a potential client, who would you want to interact with most?
Now It’s Your Turn
It’s not so easy to shift tones into telling a personal story on your profile instead of drily narrating your job experience. At Two Pens we love showing people how. Our creative director Cynthia Hartwig is a fiction writer, and I’m a poet. Both of us are business women. In our classes and in-house, custom workshops, we take you step by step through the storytelling process. When you walk out the door, telling stories will be a natural way to write in the business arena–and attract people to you on LinkedIn.