Grab Recruiter Attention with LinkedIn Projects
By Laura Smith-Proulx
Seeking more ways to attract employer and professional interest on LinkedIn? Look beyond the commonly used areas of the site (such as Summary, Experience, or Education) and into the Projects section. The Projects section is a powerful part of LinkedIn, impacting the site’s search algorithm.
Projects do NOT have to represent formal initiatives from your work history.
The Projects section can facilitate your findability as a candidate, especially when you add a substantial amount of keywords.
How to Leverage the LinkedIn Projects Section
Add Projects that show desirable skill sets, group and individual work efforts, new capabilities, or informal use of valuable skills that reinforce your brand message.
Projects must be "linked" to either jobs in your Experience section or entries in your Education section – whether these are current activities or from your professional history.
The key is to emphasize the type of data important to your target employers to demonstrate your value as a prospective employee, whether it’s a specific area of expertise or industry term common in your field.
To get started using Projects, first navigate to the Projects section and then hover the mouse over the section title to find "+ Add Project." Fill in details using these strategies:
- Project Name
This field has strong ranking in LinkedIn’s search algorithm, so you’ll want to add a description that notes skills or job titles where possible.
For example, a Project Manager who has delivered small SAP deployments might add "Project Manager – SAP Modifications, Finance Module." A Sales Rep who is applying for team management roles (but who has only mentored junior colleagues thus far) could add "Sales Management" as a Project Name to describe ongoing efforts to train other aspiring sales staff.
The Project Name can also be a major initiative that was mentioned in your employer’s marketing materials, such as a rollout of a new customer-facing capability or the release of next-generation software. As you can see, the Project Name can represent any area of your expertise, work history, or skills, with the idea of further marketing your capabilities.
Here, LinkedIn lets you choose the Experience or Education entry most applicable to the Project. This can be your current job, a past role, previous university studies, or current coursework. If you’re using the Projects section to emphasize a current skill represented across more than one position, the most likely selection here will be your current job.
- Project Dates
Like many other areas of LinkedIn, you can either ignore the Date requirement, specify a Year only, or provide both Month and Year. If your Project entry is intended to show a current area of expertise, click "Switch to date range," and you’ll see a check box that will allow "Project ongoing" to be selected.
- Project URL
If relevant, a hyperlink to your Project (whether it’s an online document, video, or web page) will provide viewers with an additional means of viewing your work. Note that unlike the rich media features of LinkedIn, your Profile will not display a thumbnail image from this link.
- Project Team Members
Here, LinkedIn provides your Profile entry as a default. You can add other colleagues, which is particularly helpful if you participated on a group publication or work initiative. Colleagues shown here will be provided a prompt to "accept" the Project and display it on their Profiles.
- Project Description
Almost as important as the Project Name field, this description entry can be used to provide more keyword-specific information on the effort. You can, of course, add considerable text to describe a major project at your employer, but keep in mind that a short description (relevant to your brand) will provide more keyword density (the ratio of keywords to all the words in your Profile) and therefore increase your findability.
As an example, a Plant Manager working on an upgrade to company manufacturing systems might add "Production Increase" in the Project Name field, with "Operations management for increased production capacity" in the description. An IT Manager who is converting systems to cloud-based platforms could add a Project titled "Cloud Platform," with a brief description such as "Transition to cloud-based platform from on-premise solutions."
That’s all there is to it! Click Save to add your Project. Then, select the blue "View Profile As" button from right under your name (in Edit Profile mode) and then scroll down to the job or education entry tied to your Projects. There, you’ll see where LinkedIn noted the number of Projects you’ve attached to each entry, with a link to view some of the details.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that not only will Projects show employers that you’ve undertaken extra efforts in your work, this area of LinkedIn will provide more keyword strength for your Profile. You’ll benefit from trying out the Projects Section, and watching for more traffic (and interest!) on LinkedIn.
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About the author...
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Connect with Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert, on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/laurasmithproulx, and on Google Plus.