Make It

Is your LinkedIn profile sexy enough?

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  • Resume vs LinkedIn profile: You might be doing it all wrong
  • Don't ignore your LinkedIn profile for fear people will know you're "looking."
  • Always have a customized resume ready to go.
  • Stack your LinkedIn profile and resume with keywords that recruiters might use in searches.

Most people think they need a perfect resume. They spend a lot of time crafting the one magic bullet that will get anyone who reads it to say, "Whoa, you're EXACTLY what I'm looking for! Can you start Monday?" (Hint: This doesn't ever happen.)

Most people also ignore their LinkedIn profile for different reasons. You've seen profiles with a minimalist introduction and, under "Experience," a list of the job titles, the firms, and the years employed, with no description of what they accomplished. You might have that profile now.

I've heard every reason (read: excuse) as to why people don't work on their profiles, from fear — "I'm afraid that others will think I'm looking for a job," to laziness — "I don't need a great profile if I have a great resume," or complacency — "I don't need one if I'm not looking, which I'm not."

Reality check! You should ALWAYS be looking. Your CEO is looking right now, and she has everything — resume, profile, references - ready to go at a moment's notice. Why not YOU?

Another reality check! If you have a bare profile, it actually shows people that you're boring, you're definitely not "sexy", and you may lack good communication skills (which is listed as a prerequisite on every job description). Who is going to swipe right on your profile?

I've heard many times that the busiest people sometimes have the worst LinkedIn profiles. While that may have been true at one point, that's not a valid excuse anymore!

Sell, Mortimer! Sell!

Think like a salesperson, and you're selling YOU. How do you sell a highly specialized product? Attack the target markets, which are twofold: recruiters and hiring managers.

Your best weapon is your LinkedIn profile. It's your sales brochure. So, build a killer profile, update it regularly, and also have a base resume that you can customize for each job.

Let's first look at recruiters. Recruiters and headhunters are usually not subject matter experts in your field, so they pick out the most important parts from a job description, and distill it down to a few keywords. Then, they do a keyword search to generate a long list of potentials.

To properly attack this target market, you'll need to have the right keywords in your profile just to get them to find you. What makes some keywords better than others? Hard skills are typically better than soft skills.

Examples are proficiency in a specific software (hard skill) vs being computer literate (soft skill), having built and managed teams while creating new performance appraisal and compensation structure (multiple hard skills) vs. people person (soft skill). Certifications (ex. PMP or Scrum Master) are excellent to add. Make a list of all your hard skills.

Hiring managers look at candidates differently. If they're working with a recruiter, they probably expect candidates have been screened for the right skillset, and will want to read about what impact you had in your past roles.

Make a list of your coolest accomplishments. Not what you did on a day to day basis, but projects you helped complete, or products that you launched. Include key performance indicators (revenues generated, costs saved, for example) where you can.

For each job on your profile, include a short description of what your responsibilities in your day to day job were, add your accomplishments, and sprinkle those hard skill keywords where appropriate.

I've even seen profiles with headings under each job "Key Responsibilities" and "Key Accomplishments." Optically, it helps the hiring manager get to the heart of what you could bring to the table. And bring your personality, add your interests or volunteer work. Being well rounded never hurts!

Recommendations from colleagues and bosses are another way to demonstrate the value you've delivered. The best way to get one is to give one. Be generous with your praise, and you'll get it back in spades.

Now, your brochure is ready to go. Recruiters will find you via your keywords, and pass your profile on to the hiring managers who will see how you can add value. Update it regularly, and you'll show up on your contacts' feeds. Almost like a free drip marketing campaign!

Custom is the New Black

Your base resume will include everything in your LinkedIn profile. When you're ready to interact directly with a company, customize your resume for what's in the job description. A bespoke resume will tell the recruiter and hiring manager that you took the time to focus the message that's most relevant to the role, and not throw everything plus the kitchen sink at them. Of course, they will look at your LinkedIn profile, and see there's much more to you.

Lastly, like a good salesperson, keep track of all the companies you've applied to, and the resumes you've sent out. One trick that's always helped me is I give each resume a filename that's custom to the company, like "Dan_Yu_May_2017_XYZCompany.pdf."

Good luck in your search. Remember to send thank you notes. And never stop selling!

Commentary by Dan Yu, a Talent agent at The Hired Guns, a New York City-based agency helping companies find the best digital and creative talent. Previously, Dan held leadership positions in trading and fintech sales for several firms including Instinet, Citigroup, Barclays Capital and Armanta. Dan spends his spare time coaching fencing and searching for the best barbecue. Follow him on Twitter @danoyu.

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