Have you heard of The FAVAR Method™? It is a systematic way to build your profile on LinkedIn for maximum effectiveness. According to its creator, “The FAVAR Method of LinkedIn Profile Creation is a strategic and tactical approach to writing LinkedIn Profiles so that the Profile is found for appropriate opportunities; then able to be viewed and evaluated, resulting in the individual being easily contacted.”
I recently learned about Dan Stiffler of MaxOutLI and his FAVAR Method through the Career Thought Leaders, Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark. I spend a lot of time learning about LinkedIn but his webinar series caught my eye because it is from a recruiter’s perspective and it gives a unique view from someone who uses LinkedIn every day to find candidates. As a recruiter, he seriously uses a paid version of LinkedIn through their “app” called Recruiter Corporate and much of his information comes from knowing the ins and outs of this app. However, like most recruiters, he is also forced to use the basic version due to limitations of the paid version, so the concepts he shares are useful for multiple LinkedIn platforms.
The mission of MaxoutLI is to help people be successful in advancing their careers by using LinkedIn wisely. Dan was motivated to create this method because he saw a lot of information being shared about LinkedIn but none of it seemed to address the key issue of getting a profile through the many steps of the selection process. He decided to provide a central resource to share his heavily researched method. The main website (www.maxoutli.com) offers many resources (free and paid) to assist in this effort.
As Dan points out, the job seeker doesn’t have to come up as the number one result in a search, they just have to stay in the game at each step of elimination. In Recruiter Corporate, search results display the top 1000 people and it doesn’t really matter if you show up as 2nd or 10th. Your client’s real goal is to end up in the final group to be contacted. Using the FAVAR Method ensures that they will “survive and advance” to the next round in each phase of the selection process.
The premise of everything in the FAVAR Method lies in its name. FAVAR (pronounced like favor) is an acronym for the five steps in the search process that are native to all LinkedIn account types. Below gives a description of each letter and a few tips to maximize your use of LinkedIn. As with many aspects of career advising, this advice may need to be tailored to the person’s situation. Not every piece of advice will be appropriate for every circumstance.
FINDABILITY - Relates to being found by recruiters on LinkedIn. The five most important aspects are: location, title, company and industry, along with keywords to add relevance.
- Research the appropriate keywords for your industry and profession and naturally weave them into your profile. Repeating keywords in various sections is good but don’t just pack them in without any context.
- The more places you use the right key words, the more likely you will be found for them.
- Complete your profile! Searches rely on the data you provide. There are no penalties by LinkedIn for including too much information. That said; make sure the material shared is relevant and not too overwhelming.
ATTRACTABILITY - Does the Snapshot (top of your profile) generate interest for the right opportunities? Does it encourage the recruiter to read your full profile? The snapshot is going to create the first impression of you and the recruiter will make a quick decision whether or not to keep reading.
- Give serious thought to the words in your headline (think keywords). In most cases, using your current title and employer name is not going to provide the best branding for your client.
- Use an attractive headshot that is appropriate for your industry. Dan recommends hiring a professional. I don’t think you have to pay someone but it must be a good photo (not a selfie, not from your beach vacation, etc.).
- Dan says that not having a profile picture won’t eliminate you from an opportunity if there is enough other information but we both agree that a profile with a picture is more compelling than one without.
- Geographically speaking, always display the major market (i.e. Washington DC or Baltimore, vs. Annapolis) to attract more opportunities.
VIEWABILITY – How many people can see your full profile easily? What can you do to make your profile viewable by the most people?
- The larger your network, the more easily you can be found and your profile viewed!
- Even with the paid subscription to Recruiter Corporate, a recruiter cannot see every profile in LinkedIn. If you are out of network with the recruiter, it will be harder for them to view your profile and contact you.
- Make a real effort to increase the number of first degree connections to maximize the full potential of LinkedIn. Set a goal of gaining a certain number of contacts each week/month.
APPLICABILITY – Is the information in your profile compelling enough to be contacted for the types of employment you seek? Focusing on this area will help you attract “appropriate” opportunities.
- Utilize the right keywords to be found. If you use the wrong words, you will attract the wrong opportunities.
- Use the summary to showcase your personality as well as your skills. The recruiter will read this to see if you are a good fit for the work culture.
- Use first person in your summary to make it warm and friendly.
- Graphic images such as videos and presentations are not visible on Recruiter Corporate but they are still valuable for visual appeal on your profile when viewed in the basic version.
REACHABILITY – Is your contact information easy to find? How difficult would it be to contact you outside of LinkedIn?
- Provide more than one way to make contact. Add your phone number along with your e-mail.
- Do not put your contact information in the field for your name or headline. This is against LinkedIn policy.
- Remember that in the basic version, your contact e-mail will only be displayed to your first degree connections.
- To make it easier for everyone to contact you, include your contact information in multiple places in your profile. Besides the required field for e-mail, also include it in the beginning of your summary and in the section titled “Advice for contacting you.”
It’s helpful to think of the FAVAR method as a funnel, starting at the top with Findability and ending with Reachability. At each level, you have the power to keep the attention of the recruiter with the goal of having them reach out to you as the final step. Use this method to help your client make the cut. If you are interested in learning more about the FAVAR Method, go to http://www.maxoutli.com/.
Note: This is a modified version of a similar article I wrote. It originally appeared in Volume 37 Number 2, March-April (2015) edition of the Career Planning & Adult Development Newsletter.