LinkedIn, along with niche job boards like MedReps, is where recruiters go to find and vet medical sales talent. In fact, according to a 2017 U.S. News & World Report article, 95 percent use LinkedIn as a key sourcing tool to find candidates to present to their client companies.
In my experience, the six biggest missed opportunities to differentiate yourself from the sea of others and bubble to the top of LinkedIn recruiter searches are:
- A Keyword-Rich Headline
- Skipped or Lackluster Summary Section
- An Incomplete Profile
- The Right Picture
- A Customized Banner
- Engagement that Aligns with Your Target Audience
#1 KEYWORD-RICH HEADLINE
If you do nothing else, uncheck the box on your job experience that makes your current job title your default title in your LinkedIn headline.
Why? Job titles and company names don’t always explain what you do and, often times, hiring managers and recruiters will enter in specific keywords to come up with a list of potential candidates.
LinkedIn gives you 120 characters to use to craft a keyword-rich headline. This means you should use this section to include the kinds of keywords a recruiter or hiring manager would use to search for talent like you.
Here’s an example:
VP of Sales, XXX
Keyword Rich Headline:
Medical Device + IT Healthcare Sales/Business Development | CXO Presentations/Negotiations | Specialty-Spanning Network
While the default title contains just 2 keywords (“VP” and “Sales”), the keyword-rich headline contains six in addition to “Sales” while letting the reader know they have a robust network: “Medical Device,” “IT Healthcare,” “Sales,” “Business Development,” “CXO Presentations,” and “Negotiations.”
When it comes to hacking the LinkedIn algorithm, the profile with the most keywords wins!
#2 SKIPPED OR LACKLUSTER SUMMARY SECTION
Taking a page from journalism, I liken one’s LinkedIn summary to a lead (lede) paragraph in a news story that gives the reader a sense of what the story will be about. Can you imagine a news article that skips this critical section?
When you bypass this section in your LinkedIn profile, you are missing an opportunity to tell the reader what your story is going to be about and you’re missing the chance to weave in keywords.
On the desktop, the first 282 characters (or the first 40 words) are what show up (the mobile app, at 147, is even less!). The way LinkedIn’s interface works now, if you are intrigued by those first 40 words, you have to click for more.
Make them count by including keyword-rich language that shows why people tend to hire someone like you. Here’s an example that uses 281 characters:
When pharma companies need sales strategy and leadership to drive transformation, turnaround, launch new products or markets, or catapult teams from good to great – I am brought in.
The results? Plans that convert customers, bring new products to market and unseat the competition.
Other components I recommend including in the summary are a skills section (another opportunity to insert more keywords) and your contact info (providing an interested party with an easy way to reach out to you without having to be a connection or do extra clicking to find your contact info on your profile).
#3 AN INCOMPLETE PROFILE
When you complete as many sections of LinkedIn as possible, not only will you provide the reader with a clearer sense of who you are as a person and a professional, you’ll be able to capitalize on the LinkedIn search algorithm to come up higher in search results.
Sections to complete include: Organizations, Skills, Volunteer Experience, Honors and Awards, to name a few.
By identifying and adding new information to these areas, you will experience a boost in recruiter views and strong connection requests.
#4 THE RIGHT PICTURE
As humans, being what we are, snap-judgments come part and parcel with looking at a LinkedIn headshot. I recommend increasing the likelihood of a positive snap-judgment by including a headshot that conveys the image you are trying to portray.
When it comes to the picture, use a full-face headshot that does not include anyone else in it, doesn’t appear like others are cropped out, and doesn’t look blurry.
Professionally taken is best but in a pinch, having someone use an iPhone and using the photoshopping software will suffice.
#5 A CUSTOMIZED BANNER
A customized banner can help elevate your brand and presence. I recommend a super user-friendly and free site like Canva.com. You don’t need to be a graphic design whiz (I know I’m not!) to create a right-sized banner that aligns with your target role and specialty or disease state interest.
Here’s an example of mine. You’ll see that I included imagery that conveys to readers that I am a writer and included names of publications to which I’ve contributed — to further my brand as a career expert.
#6 ENGAGEMENT THAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Every time you engage on LinkedIn, whether liking, commenting, sharing or posting, it contributes to how those who read your profile perceive you. Conversely, when you don’t engage, the public is left to their own devices.
While you don’t have to be a social media stalker, consider spending a half hour every week participating on LinkedIn to shape and nurture the brand you’d like to convey.
Share articles of interest to those in your industry, including your thoughts on a hot medical sales topic, or even commenting on what others have said.
Stuck for where to start? Follow industry-leading companies and thought leaders in your field. See what they have to say, share it with your connections and add your thoughts!
DON’T MISS OUT
Like it or not, people are on LinkedIn, and thanks to technology algorithms, impact how high your profile pops up in searches.
A complete and keyword-rich profile — together with a bit of activity and a few extra touches — will elevate your brand and increase your shot at rising to the top of a medical sales candidate search.
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– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW
Virginia Franco Resumes | www .virginiafrancoresumes.com | VAFrancoResumes@gmail.com