Ever wonder how companies and recruiters find their latest, greatest hires for jobs and internships? It’s actually not as complex, expensive or impossible to get your resume noticed by these recruiters as you may think. In fact, it can be as simple as changing a couple of words and phrases on your LinkedIn profile. How do you understand the whole recruitment system? Master the art of the Boolean search!
What is a Boolean search?
At its simplest, a Boolean (pronounced BOO-lee-un) search gives someone the ability to narrow, broaden or change a search of any kind by adding words (known as operators) like “or,” “and,” “not,” or “near.” The idea is to find a range of options that better meets what you’re looking for.
For example, pretend Her Campus was looking for a new social media assistant and had a recruiter conducting the search. If that recruiter was to just type the phrase “social media assistant” into Monster or LinkedIn, a whole slew of different types of social media assistants would pop up.
One issue right off the bat is location. How many of these social media-savvy people live in Boston, where Her Campus’s headquarters is located? It’d be better to type in “social media assistant NEAR Boston” because that rules out people working in other places. As you can see, the more a recruiter customizes the search, the easier it gets to find the right applicant without having to search through thousands of profiles.
In the field of recruitment and employment, knowing how to fix your LinkedIn profile, personal website or online CV and understanding how to manipulate these searches can give you a huge edge. Of course, Her Campus is going to show you how to beat the competition!
Becoming More Searchable in Three Easy Steps
Her Campus talked to Jan Melnik, a certified career manager and professional resume writer as well as the founder of Absolute Advantage, to discuss simple and straightforward ways to make your online presence (specifically, your LinkedIn profile) more searchable. You’ll be at the top of a recruiter’s list in no time!
1. Do your research
Many people say job searching is a full-time job in itself. Naturally, part of that job includes research! Don’t just stick to staring at your own LinkedIn profile; branch out! There are millions of users on LinkedIn (not to mention millions of personal websites and online resumes) for you to look at. Check out not only the profiles of established professionals who’ve been in the business for decades, but also the profiles of recent grads and even current college students for ideas and inspiration. Someone could be setting up his or her profile better than you.
One thing to look at in other LinkedIn profiles is word choice. Do you notice common words or themes? For example, if you look at profiles for people working in your dream field and realize that all of them use the term “self-starter” when talking about themselves and how they completed their work, it would be best to change “takes initiative” to “self-starter” on your LinkedIn profile. Again, it’s not only important to see how successful people in an industry completed a job, but also how they say it.
2. Place the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile
Now that you’ve seen which words and phrases people in a particular industry use, it’s time to look at job descriptions and make sure that your LinkedIn profile aligns with what job recruiters are looking for! “Ensure that keywords that tie to opportunities being targeted are used throughout,” Melnik says. “Glean those keywords that consistently appear and reappear, then match to experience, background and interest in writing the content of [your] LinkedIn [profile].”
Looking for a more concrete way to ensure that you’re using the most effective keywords? Use “word cloud” generators like Wordle to help you figure out which words to put into your resume. Just copy and paste a job description into Wordle and look at which words appear the most. Then, take these words and place them appropriately throughout your LinkedIn profile.
Next, be the recruiter yourself; type different words and phrases into job search engines and see what comes up. Then, match your profile to mirror what works best!
3. Make sure your LinkedIn profile has the right material
If all your profile says is where you go or went to school and the names of a couple internships you did in college along with that little grey box where a profile picture should be, it’ll be very hard for a recruiter to find you in a sea of other profiles. Also, if an employer was to stumble upon your profile, he or she may not look at it for more than two seconds.
But which specific sections should you flesh out to make your profile more recruiter-friendly? There are several places to start! “Make sure your profile includes a narrative-rich and compelling summary section, a strong headline, well-developed experience content and a myriad of detail in the community/civic/volunteer/projects sections,” Melnik says. She also suggests including relevant links, publications, URLs and anything else that could help a recruiter separate you from the rest of the pack.
If you take the keywords you found through word cloud generation and put them in your summary, headline and experience sections (which are usually at the top of your LinkedIn profile), a recruiter is more likely to find them, become intrigued and want to read more!
Melnik also suggests looking at a LinkedIn profile as being both professional but politely conversational. From the employer’s perspective, who wants to hire someone when all they know is her job history? You’d want as many details about a potential employee as possible. What are her interests outside of work? Which organizations does she support? What more unconventional experiences would help her be a great employee and a nice addition to the staff? By answering these questions and looking at your profile from a recruiter’s point of view, you can make your profile top notch!
Your LinkedIn profile is an investment. Spend time on it!
Remember that building an impressive resume and then transferring it to an online audience and platform takes time. Do your research and be as detailed but personable as possible. Using these three steps and a broader knowledge of what a Boolean search is, you’ll become a recruiter’s dream!