In Business, only one Profile Matters.
Your LinkedIn Profile is the most valuable tool in your public-professional profile, especially in aviation where both your day-to-day job and career might carry you everywhere. Across the Globe. Hopefully.
Our advice – Don’t search for Job ads. And don’t wait for companies to contact you based on your profile. You might have a good one, but we are going to make it great. As well as teaching you how to find job opportunities that are invisible. Or doesn’t yet exist.
Stories we tell ourselves
Truth: Everyone is “hiring” in your industry. Always. Non-stop. Everything is in motion within an organization and if you are sitting there watching that LinkedIn platform, waiting for that perfect role you – may want to grab a coffee and listen closely.
Now we are not here to tell you what job you want or what the next career step should be. What we are here to tell you is how you should think about companies as your next employer. Companies you feel best suit both your skills and your aspirations. And how you should let them know all about you.
A thousand years ago when I was coming up in the aviation business, I worked for a big Aerospace company. I will protect their identity, but their name consisted of just two letters. There was a rule in that organization where, each year, the bottom 10% of employees would exit the company.
By invitation or not. This can be triggering to most people. But the truth is, if you fail to perform at any level in a potential organization, your position will be questioned.
Time for Content
But the take-away here is the fluidity. All companies in your professional network need a steady supply of candidates due to corporate natural selection and other events. Such as others moving on and up.
That’s good news for you! It means that 100% of companies are hiring. Which means all you got to do is choose the right company for you based on your career goals. Resumes are great and we have an article on that. But in close second place is your LinkedIn profile.
Two hundred characters. You have a limit here, so it’s got to be punchy. We want you to split it into two parts. Part 1 should have all the RELEVANT KEYWORDS for your job in your chosen field.
Don’t know what they are? Don’t worry – find 3-4 job descriptions for that job in your industry and copy and paste them into a word cloud generator and boom, pick the top five. In the second part just talk about YOU. Pitch yourself, your values, beliefs, and goals. This is a key line or two. It’s the most visible brand statement and will be the first impact you make on companies, recruiters, and other profile viewers.
About Me Section
Two thousand characters. This one will take the longest to create and needs a few polishes. Why? Because the content needs to tell a story. Your story. Start strong – like any story. What you are trying to do here is to get them to read the next line, then the next one, then the next. Your first lines are the “Thrust” lines.
We want you to highlight 2 or 3 of your most important accomplishments. Ideally these should be industry projects where your education, skills and effort culminated in value for your company. Then list your core competencies (skills) and areas of expertise but don’t be afraid to repeat those keywords. Our recommendation is you use special characters like the #or the * to make them stand out. If you wish use bullet points here for emphasis.
Three previous positions. That’s it. Not four and not ten. Your current role and two previous. It should be shorter than your resume but again you need to use a lot of keywords throughout. This should also be different to your resume. It should be more informal and again it should be story driven. What you are trying to do on this section of LinkedIn is to capture prospective employers’ imagination with story “peaks”.
Leaving them wanting to know more, or how. Which he will get in your resume. If you are between roles just create a current role as being just, YOU as the solution. Describe your skills and how you feel you could impact their organization. Make sure all your text is short and impactful.
Recommendation – “SOAP”. Specific – Optimized – Authentic – Professional. Exactly how you want to be perceived. And always remember the Keywords.
Education & Skills
I saw a guy’s profile on LinkedIn once where he listed “the School of Hard Knocks” and said he had graduated with excellence. It did make me giggle, but I wouldn’t advise this “creativity” around your actual education.
This person didn’t have one, but the tone of his overall profile was playful and so it was “on brand”. His “story” was consistent and so I respected it. For you, just state your discipline or skills area. If its Design, say Design. If it’s, I.T. say I.T. Don’t just say BSc Science or MSc Engineering. We need to know what your superpower is. Put it up front there. Front and center. All your other industry professional qualifications should follow in the same manner. Discipline – the Level – the Award.
This is always a tough one. Most people find it hard to ask for these and even harder to give them. Our advice is to not ask those who you won’t be embarrassed to ask. Or who you feel will give them. That’s a mistake. What you want to do is ask those whom you feel will be the most impactful for your LinkedIn profile.
And there is an effortless way to do this. We want you to get three recommendations. No more, no less. Using the age-old sales rules of 1%, you will need to identify and reach out to three hundred professional connections to secure three. Yes, it’s a lot. But you might get more than three. Or you might get zip. Just follow up with one more email after a month and then let it go. You can try this strategy once, twice a year and no more. Your success in this endeavor will be highly dependent on how active and supportive you are on the platform.
Quality not quantity. This is so important I am going to repeat it. QUALITY not QUANTITY. This is not Insta, TikTok or YouTube where you only care about one metric. You need to build your network carefully to include former colleagues, clients, alumni, friends and most importantly people in your peer group. Especially ones with prospective employers (Read: companies I would like to work for).
Pro tip – Always personalize each invitation. It really matters. You might be good, but when someone writes personally to me and even includes a line to show they gave it a modicum of thought. My accept-O-meter goes from 50/50 up to 90%.
Experience & Resume
Here are our suggestions for that initial outreach and messages to people.
Make it personal. About them. And the connective tissue between them and you on a personal level. Put something in the Subject line (you’re dead if you don’t) and make it short and to the point. And make it thoughtful.
Why? Chances are they are on their cell phone and the IM system on LinkedIn just makes people not want to read it. Don’t ask for anything, make it clear that you are only looking to connect/chat and you are not selling them anything. Here’s an example of messages to people we like.
Your Dream Company
You’ve found your dream company and you don’t know where to start. You’ve got the resume ready and you’re feeling good. Even the right person on LinkedIn has already circled your profile and you’ve got the profile settings locked and loaded.
Before you do anything, I want you to find a blank piece of paper and a pencil. A pen will also be allowed. I want you to write down these four questions and write a paragraph answering them. Because these are questions that will be next should they decide to speak to you.
- Why do I want to join this great company?
- What valuable skills can I bring to the table that they need?
- How can I enhance the team that’s already there?
- List four specific priorities on why you need to join this company.
Think through these filters
- Value based (their values)
- Fulfilment based (for you)
You’ve got the profile and you’ve nailed the sections. It’s charismatic and funny, with a little hint of both pride and humility and you are kinda afraid NASA or Tesla will be knocking at your door. Maybe. But while you wait, you need to network the opportunities. You need to start those conversations with companies, decision makers and influencers. When you send out that personalized connection request you should send a follow-up.
Again, a personalized “thanks for the connection”. Do not have an automated message that triggers a nanosecond after the person connects. And if you are one of those people that sends a four-page sales pitch with a PDF attachment, I want you to leave our site right now.
Finally, you need to post. And not share or copy. You should post once or twice a month. It can be anything (professional) or volunteer experience. If it’s a company piece, make it as personal as you can. Otherwise just share information or thoughts you believe are valuable. This takes time and effort but is the most valuable overall.
Lastly have a good profile photo. Not a selfie. Please. Go somewhere that understands the impact of a real picture. Someone with the right certifications.
Good luck with those profile settings – they take time. But it will be the best career time you will ever spend.