If a recruiter wants to contact you about a job opportunity, be VERY easy for them to contact, or they will move on to the next candidate. Make your contact information easily available, allowing employers and recruiters -- who are always in a hurry! -- to contact you.
Don't Play "Hard to Get"
Having an online profile that attracts employers and recruiters is critical to a successful job search. But, the best profile will be useless to you if those employers and recruiters you've worked so hard to attract are unable to reach you once they have found you.
Most people who aren't reachable are either unaware of the need to allow others to contact them or are protecting their privacy (too effectively, in this case). You can be reachable without putting your privacy at risk.
If an employer or recruiter is interested in contacting you, make it very easy for them. Being difficult to contact can make opportunities evaporate. Permanently.
Since most job seekers have LinkedIn profiles and since most recruiters search LinkedIn for qualified job candidates, starting with your LinkedIn profile is logical.
Do NOT overload your profile with your contact information! That reeks of desperation or inexperience. Choose one or two sections in addition to the Contact Info section, particularly if there are different reasons for people to contact you.
1. Contact Info
At the top of every LinkedIn profile is a box containing the member's photo, name, professional headline (or current job title), location, and industry. At the bottom of that box or immediately below that top box, you will find a Rolodex card icon beside the words "Contact info." This is probably the first place that people looking for contact information will check.
Click on the card icon or the words, and the box expands to offer several opportunities for contact information to be added:
- Email address - Don't use your work email address. Use a private email account that you check at least daily.
- Phone number - Definitely not either your home phone number or your work phone number! Set up a Google Voice number which can be forwarded to any number you want (and email). It makes you reachable and also protects your privacy (and your job).
- Address - Do NOT publish your home address! Include your city and state (current or target).
- Twitter - If you have a professional Twitter account you use often, add the URL.
- Websites - Include your blog (if you have one), About.me, or other professional online visibility.
You are not required to complete every item. Job seekers should always include an email address, preferably one that is not associated with a current job. If you are employed, you will probably need to use your employer's official email address.
Be EXTREMELY cautious about making personal contact information public! Do not publish any information related to where you live (like your home address or your home phone number).
A relatively anonymous email address (Gmail, for example) is best, as long as you remember to check it often.
2. LinkedIn Summary
Your LinkedIn Summary is another good location for contact information. In addition to the Contact Info section above, your profile's Summary offers plenty of room for contact information to be included.
3. Additional Info
This is the section that originally contained any indications that a member was interested in being contacted. It contains a section called, "Advice for Contacting [name]." In that section, you can explain why you want to be contacted (carefully!), and provide the contact information to be used.
NOTE: If you are currently employed and job hunting, do NOT make your job search obvious to your employer by broadcasting your interest in finding a new job! That action could cost you your job (Yes! they can fire you for that)!
The Experience section of your profile is where you list your jobs (going back ten to fifteen years, typically), and including job-specific contact information in the description of your current job is appropriate, particularly if your job is associated with outreach to clients and suppliers.
If you are a freelancer or contractor, including your contact information in this section may be relevant and appropriate (and good marketing).
If you list Projects in this section of your profile and -- if you are employed -- it is logical for someone from outside of your employer's organization to contact you (possible participants, etc.), include appropriate contact information for each project. Again, this is particularly relevant if you are a freelancer or contract worker.
Important Do NOT's!
Avoid making these mistakes when you publish your contact information on LinkedIn:
1. Don't include your contact information in every section of LinkedIn listed above!
At a minimum, have contact information available in the "Contact info" section. Then, if your contact info differs for different jobs or projects, include the contact information appropriate for that section. Adding the same contact information to every section looks desperate.
2. Don't add your email address and/or phone number to your "Professional Headline."
Your professional headline is the text that appears below your name on your profile and, usually, with all of your public actions on LinkedIn. It looks desperate, particularly if you are not in a sales position, and it also uses space that could be put to better use with keywords that could bring more people to view your profile.
Someone who contacts you using the contact information in your Professional Headline has probably not bothered to look at your profile, and may not be contacting you for the right reason.
3. Don't broadcast these profile changes to everyone in your LinkedIn network.
Turn off the network notifications while you are doing your updates. Simply choose "No" in the "Notify your network?" box in the right column near the top of your profile on the Edit Profile page.
Be easy to contact, so you're easy to hire!
More on Being Easy to Hire
More on LinkedIn for Job Search
Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. This article originally appeared on WorkCoachCafe.com.