Abby Kohut is on a personal mission: to teach 1 million people across the country the job-search secrets that recruiters won't tell you.
A recruiter for 17 years, Kohut was frustrated by the errors she was seeing on the resumes she received and the basic mistakes candidates were making during an interview.
While she claims she hired more than 10,000 people during this time, she said she was disturbed by how many people she had to turn away, primarily because it was evident they just weren't educated about the dos and don'ts in the job-search process.
"I felt like I had rejected a million job seekers in my career," she said. So in 2012 she set out in an RV to teach 1 million people how to do it the right way and land their dream job. So far, she claims she has educated and inspired more than 265,000 job seekers.
Also known as Absolutely Abby — because she tells people the absolute truth about the hiring process — Kohut has nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn who listen to her job-search and career-enrichment secrets. She covers everything from resume writing, job boards and salary negotiation to cover letters, the proper way to dress for an interview and networking, but she believes the most powerful tool in today's hiring landscape is LinkedIn.
According to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn when searching for ideal candidates. The networking site has 500 million users worldwide, reaching 200 countries and territories around the globe. More than 133 million users are in the United States alone.
"Monster started it all off, then LinkedIn took over the market. I don't have a choice, because that's how things are done these days," she said. "When I had the mail, I could evaluate each resume based on the resume itself. But now the computer is making the decisions for me. It's easier, but good people now get ruled out," she said.
There are ways to set yourself apart from thousands of other candidates on the professional networking site, said Kohut. Here are nine essential ways to successfully leverage LinkedIn and land your dream job.
1. Stuff your profile with key words and use them multiple times. Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. So in order for a recruiter to find you, you must include the proper search terms in your profile — and not a deriative of the word, said Kohut. She adds that you must think of your key words in terms of what a recruiter would type in to search for an ideal candidate.
For instance, she said, "If I were looking to hire a director of finance, a key word might be GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles), another might be budgets, stocks or Microsoft Excel." She recommends using key words from the job description.
"Key words are very picky. There is no gray. It's black and white," she said. "If I'm looking for a project manager and your profile says 'project management,' I won't find you."
Kohut also said it's important to use the key word at least three to five times throughout your profile — for example, in each job entry, the summary and under technical skills.
"If you can find a way to say the word multiple times, you will appear higher in their search. The tense of the word also matters. So if a recruiter searches the term budgeting, 'budgeted' won't be found."
More from At Work:
2. Get into the recruiter's head. "I look at a resume for 5 to 10 seconds. If I like it, I will look at it for 20, and then I will stop and take some sort of action," said Kohut.
But before a recruiter even has your resume in hand, they must find you, and all start by searching for candidates by job title. Job titles appear in bold on your profile under Experience and should reflect the common titles recruiters are searching for today. "One of my clients said his company called him a resultant — a great title, but no one is searching for a resultant."
Using a title that is more descriptive rather than "founder" or "owner" is also important, as job descriptions are collapsed on a mobile device on LinkedIn, leaving only the titles visible.
3. Use the right Zip code. Kohut said she always searches for candidates by Zip code. "Let's say I am looking for candidates within a 25-mile range of the company I am recruiting for," she said. "If you are looking for a job in Manhattan and you live in Suffolk County, Long Island, I won't find you. You should have a Manhattan Zip code on your profile."
You can choose how your location and other profile fields appear to other members from the introduction card on your profile. This is where you insert your Zip code. Your LinkedIn profile typically shows your geographic region and not the specific city you live in.