By Janice Burch, Award-Winning LinkedIn Coach & Resume Writer, Career Coach, Co-Owner at Pro Resume Center, LLC

Do you think executive recruiters and HR leaders look for their next crop of candidates using search terms like:

  • Passionate, Experienced Culture Changer
  • Chief Problem Solver & Company Troubleshooter
  • Servant Leader Committed to Delivering Results
  • Transformational Leader Building Revenue Streams & Accountable Teams
  • Purposeful, Proactive and Passionate Revenue Guru

Nope. Most are not using those terms, yet executive job seekers follow the guidance offered by many telling them to do just that.

This advice will not help you meet your job search goals.

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In most cases, internal HR and recruiting agencies are NOT looking for those terms when searching for their next candidates. They are using titles for search terms – Chief Operations Officer, Senior Digital Marketing Director, VP of Finance, CISO, SVP of Human Resources, etc.

Considering that LinkedIn remains the top tool for recruiters, with 87% of them leveraging the platform,1 and 59% are using search engines,2, it's time to make sure you are doing what you can to your profile to ensure quality traction.

Understanding the critical value of the different pieces of real estate on your LinkedIn profile is vital to ensuring your success and meeting your goals, as is establishing your goals for your profile.

And that is where we will begin to revamp your profile.

What are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to attract?
The LinkedIn profile can serve various purposes to help professionals achieve numerous goals. Establishing your goal should be your first task. Your efforts may fall flat if you don't have a goal for your profile.

What are you trying to achieve?

  • Increase traction for new job opportunities?
  • Expand your lead generation?
  • Strengthen engagement with clients?
  • Securing potential speaking or board opportunities?
  • Promoting your company's executive leadership and team?
  • Position your company for investor engagement?

After establishing your goal(s), follow these top 6 tips to improve your profile:

As mentioned, don't insert descriptive adjectives or trendy buzzwords in this space. Optimize the headline/tagline beneath your name to not just say your current role (unless you want to make a lateral move). If you seek specific level titles, make that clear – say Senior Marketing Director, VP of Operations or Chief Technology Officer (assuming you have the qualifications to meet those target roles). This does not have to match your current role – FYI, it can be aspirational but still must be aligned with your experience level and ability to perform a job at that level.

Follow that title with specific terms that position you for the role – Sales Leadership – Lean Manufacturing – Digital Marketing – Revenue Growth, etc. If you target roles within a specific industry, add that to the headline as an endpoint – Manufacturing, Digital Products, SaaS, Aerospace, Healthcare, etc.

    1. Senior Director Digital Marketing | Customer Capture | Partnerships | Retail & ECommerce
    2. VP Operations | Quality Assurance | Performance & Profits | Manufacturing
    3. CMO | Strategic Planning | Patient Experience | Community Engagement | Hospital Systems

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About Section
Your profile summary can be used to provide additional descriptions of your experience, expertise, awards, etc.  This is where you can give people a glimpse into who you are, your background, your top three value points, and what you're looking for – a new position, expanding your network, or industry leadership opportunities through officer or board roles. The summary also presents an opportunity to include links to content that you have created (or participated in creating), media coverage or photos showing you speaking, accepting awards, etc. Finally, get a little personal. Write your summary with some personality. Maybe you are proud of your Pickleball league stats, volunteer for the local Boys & Girls Club, are a lifelong traveler and spent a year in Greece, are a serial 5K runner or bicyclist, or just picked up surfing (like I have!). Let people in just a bit to learn more about you at the end of the About section to drive connections and engagement.

Job Experience
Don't simply lift information from the company website or job description and insert it. There is an opportunity within the work experience section on LinkedIn to share what you do overall and, most importantly, your accomplishments in current and previous positions. Consider it a timeline of your growth and evolution as a professional. Flesh out as much information as possible for each relevant position you have held. Make yourself stand out by showing what YOU ACCOMPLISHED while in that role and the impact you had (If you need help identifying what your impacts might look like, READ THIS ARTICLE to learn more.)

Skills Section
Properly utilize your Skills section. With each skill, you'll see the number of people who have endorsed you for any individual skill set. If you find that the skills listed on your profile don't accurately represent your capabilities, you can always go into that area of your profile and either add or remove them. Don't be afraid to update it regularly and position your TOP 3 SKILLS of this section by using the “reorder” button that you will see when you click on the “pen” to update the skills section.

If you're going to ask for recommendations, personalize the message.  You're asking your connections to set aside time to say nice things about you in a public forum, so your communication with them should be sincere, appreciate and offer some guidance. Let them know you are strengthening your profile to reflect the work you have done and enjoyed working with them on XYZ. Offer up 2-3 suggested topics for them to work with when writing the recommendation – think about what you want your target audience to know that you do well and figure out which of these topics aligns well with your work with that person.

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Your profile photo and background banner
First impressions are important. Dress for the part you want. Keep your pose, background, clothes, makeup and smile professional. Allow for some space around your shoulders and head to crop it into LinkedIn's profile photo slot – you don't want your entire head to fill the circle. Ask a friend or family member to take it for you. No selfies. Hiring executives may look at LinkedIn before they review your resume. Pay attention to the image you are portraying – confident, intelligent, approachable, positive, experienced.

Select from license-free professional photography for your background banner, replacing the standard green-grey background LinkedIn inserts when you sign up for an account. Keep this high resolution and professional, considering using cityscape, landscape, or slick graphics. You can create a personalized banner, too, using Canva or PPT, or engage a designer to create one for you.

Once you have completed these things, your profile is ALMOST ready to go. If you want job search traction, don’t forget to set your job alerts and spell out job titles for the recruiter alert section.

One last piece of advice – do your recommendation request outreach after you are completely thrilled with your updated profile. Make sure it's ready to impress!

1 – Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report
2 – CareerBuilder

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If you prefer to work with a professional award-winning LinkedIn coach to update and position your profile to meet your goals, we’d love to work with you. Get in touch with us at There is a link on every page to schedule a no-cost consultation and our packages and prices are clearly spelled out for clients to review.