How Recruiters use Your LinkedIn Profile to Screen People Out or In

LinkedIn Headlines 600x250

LinkedIn Profiles are the “low hanging fruit” of internet recruiting search.  


I use LinkedIn’s advanced people search to find people who have the keywords I’m looking for in their profile.  This starts with title and department but also includes education, keywords specific to this job, etc.

  • Be sure that your keywords are “optimized”
  • Spelling and grammar count

I search for these people and others on the LinkedIn Groups that high achievers in this field might post in.  I read their comments and postings to see if they can present information in a cogent and clear way.

If I feel that I have a good list of all the people whom I’m looking for, then and only then, will I contact each one to ask for a fresh resume – I send or tell them what we are looking for, see if they might be interested and ask for that résumé.  It needs to be a fresh resume, highlighting the things that my client needs to have done, not a generic one sent to the world, and certainly not “did you see my LinkedIn Profile? That’s it.”

This is pretty simple, but the implications for the job seeker are:

Have a picture – most professionals do and it needs to be professional, not you and your sweetie (especially if you have one of those names that could be either male or female) or you on that mountain in the distance, or you in your swimming suit on the beach.  A “head shot”!  Even if it is a selfie.

Use the Headline space to highlight what you do – most use it for their current title (although you would be surprised at how many people don’t change that when they move to a different job!)  There are places for your current and previous titles further down, so use this to tell us what makes you attractive for the job you want. Complete this sentence: “Oh, s/he is the one who…..”

Use the Summary to tell people more about what you are interested in.  Many people just plop in a résumé.  This is a different space where you can tell potential employers (and co-workers, current employer, various business friends, your old college pals, etc.) what you like about your current job and what you do, what you are passionate about and how that shows up in your job.  You can demystify your title, speak in plain language or use the jargon of your specialty.   Don’t waste the space by just duplicating your résumé!  You can also put your email address here  (or in Advice to Contact) so that recruiters and hiring managers you are not currently connected with can get in touch with you.

Fill out Specialties, Skills and Experience – These are those very important key words and using them will allow recruiters to find you faster.  You should ask your connections to endorse your Skills and Experience – thus providing social proof that you actually have these. Remember to endorse them for the Skills they want.

Give and get some narrative Recommendations as well.  This should be people you have worked with: former bosses, former co-workers, former employees as well as vendors and clients.

Did you know that the sections of the Profile can be moved around? 

Drag the sections that are most pertinent to the places that you want them.

Did you know that you can add all kinds of things to each section?

You can post documents that you want to publicize – perhaps a report that shows what you can do?  Your publications list? Etc. You can connect your Blog if you have one,  SlideShare PowerPoint presentations,  your website,  a poll you want to run, events you are attending or hosting.

Whom do you want to attract?  Don’t just be a blank – fill it in!

And let me know so I can look at it!


May you find your next career step soon!





Is Your LinkedIn Profile a Dud?

3 things you need before you start your job search and none of them is a resume!

 before your job search

Do you ever feel like this
when you start a job search? 

Most people who find that they need to do a job search start at the end with a resumes and wonder why it is not working.  Yes, you will eventually need a resume but before you even begin to write a resume, you need:

1: A spreadsheet where you keep your skill set and what you know

2: A spreadsheet of the companies that use those skills

3: A spreadsheet of your career network

Notice that I say spread sheet and not just a list.  There are lots of details that will steer your job search and allow you to control the course of your career.

The first list should have all of the skills you have that you want to be paid for.  We can all wash a dish and tie a shoelace, but perhaps you want to use your Southern Blot skills more than your dish-washing ones.  So the content of this list should be as complete as you can make it.  These are like the LinkedIn “Skills and Experiences” list that you can be “endorsed” for.  It will also become the source list for your resumes.  Note where and when you learned each skill and where you used it last.  Include a column for any metrics you can for each.


Skill Learned Date Learned where Last used date Last used where Metrics
tie shoes I was 6 at home this morning at home 100’s of broken shoe lace

Can you think of any other fields?

 The second spreadsheet needs to summarize the companies that you like:

Company City/State What they do Why I like them Contact info Website Priority
Hampton & Associates Oakland/CA Recruiting for biotech small company, great people 510-601-1343  


The third one is the real gold.  Who do you know who either works at each of the above companies or knows someone who works there:

Name Relationship Contact info Where they work When I last spoke with them details contacted for my search
Connie Hampton friend 510-601-1343 Or to schedule a time to discuss this list: Click here
Hampton & Assoc.


We talked about her need for web and social media help and a possible barter  X

 Want to discuss this?
Click Here

Related articles

Where is my Bioscience Job? How can I find it?

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper.  Here is what some people think is the difference

handshake19The whole purpose of a resume is to get the hiring manager interested enough in what you can do for him that he will contact you for more information and to see if you are a “fit” for the job, the company and the team. 

Yes, what you include in your resume is important, as are the words you chose to use to describe your actions, but it is as important to eliminate fluff, wordiness and irrelevant topics.  It has to be short and answer the question – why should I hire this person?

[ tweet this! “A resume is a piece of advertising designed to get you an interview!”]

A resume is a piece of advertising.  And the more tightly you can target it to that particular hiring manager, the more likely you are to get the interview. 

You have to answer the hiring manager’s “pain”.  Why is he going through the pain of posting and interviewing when he really wants to be getting the job done?  What has he run out of that he needs to buy it from you or your competing candidates?  How can you supply him with the answers he needs to know that you are the one who can make his pain go away?


What does the hiring manager really need? 

When you agonize over your resume or, alternatively, have someone else write it for you, you are thinking about yourself and not about that hiring manager.  It is as if you want to go to the prom, get all dressed up and then go stand outside the door, waiting for someone to invite you. 

Do you know what you have to offer that hiring manager as well as what he needs.  Can you speak his language? Use it when you talk about how you already fixed that problem (for someone else)? Describe how you can do it again, perhaps even better since you have learned more about it.

Make it easier to write your resume/advertisement!

Dragon Green

Dragon Green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resumes are notoriously hard to write for yourself because you don’t have the list of words describing what you have done.

Don’t start with adjectives, start with verbs.  What tasks have you accomplished?  What did you do? 

I love PAR statements.  Some call them dragon-slaying tales.  Describe the problem (what was the name of the dragon)?  What action did you take?  (Which tools did you use and how did you approach the dragon?  How did you slay it?)  Then what happened?  What result was achieved?  (Did the villagers go on to harvest more than they could eat in two decades?)  What are your dragon-slaying stories?

Click here for help with your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories


revised 4/19/17

What Should Be in YOUR Resume?!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854

Companies need people with specific skills to accomplish specific tasks.  If you try to write one resume to send to every company or any job, you won’t be as desirable as the person who “nails” the needs of that particular company and team in that particular resume.


If you need someone to review your specific resume for a specific job click here

Your Resume is NOT About You

A resume is not about you.  It is about how you can solve that particular company’s particular problem.

No company hires unless they have a problem or situation that they can’t fix with the people they are already paying.  It may be that they need someone to duplicate what is being done because they have run out of time, or it may be that they need someone with a different skills set.

Resumes get about 6 seconds of “eyeball” time.  Next time you are watching a commercial on TV or at the movies count to 6.  What did you learn about the product? Does it “speak” to you?  YOU get those 6 seconds to convince the resume reviewer (who may NOT be the hiring manager) that you have what they need.

So what do they need? Do you even know what problem they have?  If the position is an entry-level job, not managing, not in research or development, then probably the problem is that the people who are doing this job simply don’t have the “man-hours” available to get it done.

If it is a new position or even a replacement, then the company has a situation/problem that needs more than just “butt in the seat” or even “hands at the bench”.  What problem is it?  Can you solve it?  Do you want to?

We all have dealt with problems that we hope never to see again.

If this company has that problem, it probably is not a good fit for you.  Why waste your time trying to get the job?  If you can see that it is not a fit, what makes you think that the hiring manager won’t see it? And if you were to get this job, how long will you and the manager be happy?

How can you format your resume so that the things you know the company needs, that you know that you can do, that you know that you want to do, stand out on the top half of the first page of your resume?  Everything after that (“below the fold”) is simply proof that you can do those things.

The company is not interested in your career objectives.  They don’t care.  They just want to know that you can do the job that they need to have done.  And they want to know that you have done these things in the last decade.

Need some help with this?  Click here

Do You Use These Alternatives to Your Resume?


revised 4/19/17


Virtual Interviewing – are you prepared?

Are you prepared for online, on-camera, video interviews?


English: A Logitech QuickCam Chat for Skype we...

English: A Logitech QuickCam Chat for Skype webcam Italiano: Una webcam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know how to use Skype?  G+ Hangouts? Your cell phone? Other online interview sites?  Does your computer even have a webcam?  More and more companies are using these tools to do first interviews, especially if you are not local to the company you are interviewing with.

It is not hard to use these tools but you don’t want your first time to be in the interview.  You need and want to make a good impression.

Make sure that the background that can be seen behind you is bland and not distracting – hang a sheet or use a blank wall.  You don’t want the interviewer wondering where you are and what that is in the background.

Be sure you know how to use the webcam and the tool that you will be using.  Plan to use it first with a friend or colleague.  Many people are very comfortable with their webcam but many of us are not daily users and need to get more comfortable.  You don’t want the camera to point up your nose (all too common with a cell phone or tablet), be too close or miss your face altogether.

Unlike phone interviews where you can be in your sweats, do wear the same clothes that you would to a face-to-face, in-person interview.  Look nice and be sure to smile.

Do have notes for your answers and questions but don’t look at them continually. Place them as close to the camera as you can so that you can look into both the eyes of the interviewer and see your notes.  Don’t read them.  

Do you have other tips for video interviewing?

Want to practice?  Book a call here






Which resume template?

resumeThere are over 13 million sites with resume format templates, so obviously there is no one right way to present your skills. 

Some of these sites want you to build your resume on their site so they can sell the product to recruiters in a resume database.  Some are built into MS Office or Google Docs. 

Since your resume is not really about you and is not your whole life on two pieces of paper, what is it for? 

A resume is a lure to get the hiring manager to want to speak with you, first on the phone or a video call and then in person.  It is a piece of marketing with an “invite me to speak to you” call to action. 

So what does your perfect hiring manager need to know to want to talk to you?  Of course it depends…

It depends on what industry you are in, what job you are applying for, what problem the hiring manager is trying to solve and what format works best for him/her. 

Graphics industry jobs need to have a very graphic resume, not a template, so that you can prove your graphics abilities.  A sales position needs numbers.  A professor needs a CV with all publications, books, chapters, etc.  A marketing person for a life science company needs to demonstrate real understanding of the industry as well as marketing acumen. 

But all of them will stand out much better if you know what problem the hiring manager needs to solve and the language, jargon or technical terms he prefers to use to describe it. 

As a recruiter, I prefer to receive resumes that include the name and contact information in the body of the document, not in the header or footer.  However, if you think that the resume will be printed out, putting your name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page is not a bad idea.

You want the most powerful reasons for the hiring manager to want to talk with you to be on the top half of the first page of your resume, whether or not you use a cover letter. 

So ask yourself what the hiring manager really wants and needs to know.  What can you do for him?  What problem does he have that you have solved and want to solve again?  He doesn’t care what your career objectives are; those are your dreams.  He wants to know if you can help him reach his own dreams. 

After “hooking” him with 3-5 ways you can solve his problem(s), you need to prove it by showing (in reverse chronological order – latest one first) what you have done for your previous employers (that have to do with the hiring manager’s problem(s).  This also serves as social proof – someone else has benefited from your expertise and you learned even more there.  Show career progression and how you are now the master of solving his problem.

Some HR people want to see that you have all the requirements posted in the job description on the top half.  You do need to get past the applicant tracking system and HR to get your resume to the hiring manager’s desk if you apply through their website, however, it will be the hiring manager who decides who gets an interview.  If you get asked by the hiring manager or someone on his team for your resume, then having the right keywords is even more important.

The second page of a resume gets even less attention than the first page, usually just a glance to see if you have the degree required.

It is not until your resume is being compared, side by side with someone else’s that it is looked at carefully.  The first review is to eliminate the “off-target” ones.  

“Functional” resumes and other forms used to disguise your age or your unemployment time will not actually accomplish those tasks. They will make the first reviewer have to work harder to see if you are a fit for the job.  If you make the reviewer work hard, the resume will go to the bottom of the stack.  It is better to simply focus on your PAR Statements and “dragon-slaying stories” and be able to address the unemployment or “experience”.  Confidence is very attractive. 

While you must absolutely include only the truth about your experience, you do not have to include all of it. 

Ten years is usually the most you need.  If the job you are applying for is most related to what you did more than ten years ago, it may not actually be the right job for you.  You may need to look at the position again to see what problems you can solve that you have solved more recently. 

Once you do get to the interview, your resume will be used as a notepad by the interviewer.  So do leave enough white space and margins for note-taking.  Remember that most hiring managers are over 40 so don’t use tiny, hard-to-read fonts.  Do take a spare resume (printed on nice paper) to the interview with you.

Other than these points, it really doesn’t matter if you use one format over another as long as they are clearly laid out and easy to read.  

Remember that your resume is the last step before the interview.  Don’t forget the previous three steps!

Need a quick review of your resume?  Click Here!

What words should I use in my resume?!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854Since you have your online Profiles filled out and are using both keywords and skills & expertise in it, you have a good start on your resume. 

You have written your PAR statements and have a chronological list of your jobs which you keep privately on your computer.

You have recorded the words your networking partner at each company used to describe their problem(s). 

You have been asked to submit a resume or your job finally showed up online at the companies you had on your watch list. 

Now is the time to write a resume for that particular job at that particular company. 

Start with your name and contact information, of course. Do I still need to say “Make sure your email address is professional”?

Don’t bother with an “objective” as your resume (unlike your profiles and PAR statements) is not about you.  It is a piece of marketing collateral that speaks about that particular company’s problem and how you can solve it; plus proof that you have done similar things before.

So start with 3 to 5 bullet points about the things you know are issues for the company that you know that you can do and that you want to do. 

Use the notes you took to decide which of the items in the position description (if you have one) are the issues that the team is really concerned about.  There are always seven ways to say something.  Use the way that your networking partner from that company used. Make these full sentences, not single words or phrases.

If you are applying “cold” to an online job posting, be sure to print out the position description first and highlight all the keywords used in it. Use those in your bullets and PARs. This allows the Applicant Tracking System to “see” the “fit”. 

Then list each of your titles and dates you held them along with the name of the company and a short statement about what they do (or did).

Below each position, use one of your PAR statements.  Tell the story of what you were hired to do, how you did it and the outcome.  Use the language from your notes for that company or language from the position description.  Use first person sentences…”I was hired because XYZ company needed someone to….”

List your awards, publications, and education at the bottom.

By using that company’s language or jargon, you are proving that you are a member of their “tribe”.  By translating the PAR statements from another company, you are provided proof that you can do these things because someone else hired you to do them.

Don’t use words that this company didn’t use unless you are certain that they would have if you had asked the right questions. 

Make your suitability simply leap off the page.  Don’t make the reader hunt for it and then have to translate it. 


Podcast: Keywords for job search

 Do you know what your keywords are?  

Part skills, part expertise, part desire, keywords are essential to finding your next good job.

How to use LinkedIn and your previous resumes to find keywords to use to get you past the black hole of ATS systems and HR people who don’t understand what you do.

Tips on using LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise pages to

  • find your keywords
  • people who use them
  • the increase or decrease of their use in LinkedIn
  • number of people who use them and their ages
  • companies who use them, job postings that use them
  • places where they are used the most
  • groups that use them


3 Myths About a Great Biotech Resume

698x462 resume not about you Myth #1: Use only your home address and phone number

The Truth:  Use as many ways to get in touch with you as seems reasonable. 
Use your personal email address (as long as it is not silly: hunkaburninglove@hotmail  is not professional),
 use your LinkedIn profile URL: (do get an /in/ URL – check in your settings
Use your G+ address
Use your Twitter address
As long as you are being professional on all of them.

Don’t use your business phone or email.  You are looking to leave there.

Myth #2: Write an objective about what you want to do next

The Truth: No one cares.  They are not hiring you because you need a job or want to be a…whatever.  They are hiring you because they have a problem they can’t solve with the people they are already paying.  You only get 6 seconds to impress them enough to put you in the “look at more closely” pile instead of the trash.  What can you do that they need to have done that you want to do?  Craft that into 3-5 bullet points using the keywords they used in the job description (or better yet, the ones the guy who is trying to solve the problem, while still doing his regular job, used in the networking meeting you had with him).  Then prove it by showing what you have done to solve those problems in your previous experience.  Use PAR statements or dragon-slaying stories with as many numbers in them as is reasonable.

Myth #3: It is all about you

The Truth:  Your resume is an advertisement designed to get you the interview (not the job).  It should be all about how you can help them solve their problem and intrigue them enough to want to talk with you about it.

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