Is Your LinkedIn Profile Getting You Job OFFERS?
Last week, I spoke with a technology executive about working with us on his LinkedIn profile and resume. Upon investigation, I discovered that he was getting interviews for positions that interested him—but not job offers. At first glance, it might seem like the problem was his interviewing skills. After all, isn’t the job of the LinkedIn profile and resume to get an interview, and after that it’s up to you? Well, that’s partially true, and it’s certainly possible that this client could use some interview coaching. But a freaky fact of human nature suggests that something else could be at play. It’s called “impression formation” or “priming,” and it’s not to be overlooked or taken lightly.
Do you think that if you’re getting interviews with your LinkedIn profile and resume you don’t have to worry about whether you need to change them? You might be wrong.
A study of students’ perceptions of their professors, and how these perceptions can be formed, is a case in point. Consider these excerpts that illustrate how much our preconceived notions affect our experience of another person:
…[I]n one of the earliest studies on impression formation, Kelley (1950) found that when students were told a guest lecturer was “very warm”, the central trait produced more favorable evaluations of the instructor than when students were told the guest lecturer was “rather cold”. In a more recent replication and extension of Kelley’s experiment, Widmeyer and Loy (1988) had students evaluate a lecture presented by a visiting professor. Prior to the lecture, students received background information about the instructor; some received information suggesting that the visiting professor was warm while others were presented with information that suggested the professor was cold. Analyses revealed that students perceived the visiting professor as a more effective teacher and more pleasant to have for class when he was described as a warm rather than a cold person.
…Those who read the syllabus written in an unfriendly tone rated the hypothetical adjunct candidate as being colder than those who read the syllabus written in a friendly tone.
…Those who received the syllabus written in a friendly tone rated the target as being warmer than those who read the syllabus that was written in an unfriendly tone.
…Those who read the syllabus written in a friendly tone rated the instructor as being more motivated to teach the course.
Did you read that?!! Wow. Extrapolating to interviews, if the interviewer has a preconceived notion of the candidate as warm or friendly, it’s more likely he or she will experience the candidate as warm, and even as more motivated, in the interview! Conversely, if the interviewer thinks ahead of time that the candidate will be cold, it’s unlikely that the interview itself will change this impression.
Interviewers Make Unconscious Conclusions
You might be thinking, “But these were students being studied. They are young and impressionable! Surely an interviewer, who has more maturity and experience, would not be swayed as much by past judgments.” I’m afraid that’s not the case.
In 2008 study, Williams and Bargh staged job interviews with study participants and found that if interviewers drank hot coffee before the interview, they would perceive the candidate as warm. Iced coffee? You guessed it. Cold candidate. Interviewers’ perceptions were also influenced, disturbingly, by the comfort of their seats and the weight of their notetaking folders.
There are many conclusions that can be drawn from these studies, from “Make sure you have a warm hand when you shake hands with your interviewer” to “Don’t hire candidates based on interviews since your unconscious mind is ruling the decision. Use psychological testing instead.” The conclusion I want to draw, however, is about your LinkedIn profile. And maybe your resume too.
Conveying Warmth with Your LinkedIn Profile and Resume
You have a huge opportunity in your LinkedIn profile and resume to prime the pump for your job interview. People respond to warmth. So look for ways to appear warm! Show some of your personality in addition to showcasing your accomplishments. Even if you’re not as warm in person as you are in your job marketing collateral, chances are you’ll be seen as warmer than someone who doesn’t communicate warmth in their LinkedIn profile and resume.
Here are some examples from profiles written by The Essay Expert. Note that while we generally encourage first person for LinkedIn summaries, warmth can come through in the third person as well. Also note that your photo is a huge way to convey warmth!
My journalism background gave me the ability to distill a large amount of material and hone in on what’s true and important. I can pinpoint the real message that needs to be conveyed, creating a human story that moves and inspires an audience.
Ted knows that people hire people, not resumes. Companies are not just looking for a set of qualifications that match a job description. To ensure a complete match, Ted extensively interviews both companies and candidates to find out who they are and what they are looking for – as companies and as people.
Ted is most fulfilled when helping people to grow professionally. His vision and ability to nurture relationships lead to long-term solutions and success.
How warm are you in your LinkedIn profile and resume? Are you priming readers to perceive you the way you want to be seen? If not, consider a rewrite. If you want assistance, please consider our LinkedIn Profile Writing Services and Resume Writing Services. We’ll make sure you look great—and warm—online and on paper.
Want to do it yourself? Don’t miss the latest version of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. The e-book is fully updated for 2018 and available now!