The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

July 03, 2014

LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Public Accounting Professionals

A quick Google search—or a look through our archive—yields lots of information about designing and maintaining an effective LinkedIn profile: one that readily attracts employers and recruiters. Recently, a social media consultancy firm, LinkHumans, added to this popular conversation with an infographic called “10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile” that visually dissects the standard personal profile display and provides meaningful recommendations and statistics.

LinkHumans’ brief production is an excellent resource for the LinkedIn user community in general, but it isn’t granular enough to support niche user segments. Accordingly, this set of guidelines – along with others that encompass all industries and all functions – inspired us to take a look at LinkedIn profile optimization for one of our biggest candidate bases: Public Accounting professionals.

Business Insider, which featured the LinkHumans infographic earlier this week, remarks that “the value [of LinkedIn] for users lies in searchability”, and we couldn’t agree more. If you’re a passive Accounting job seeker—undercover; open to hearing about opportunities; not actively looking—then your best and most efficient course of action is to welcome conversation by staying searchable. Below, we present our best practices for Public Accounting professionals’ use of LinkedIn from a searchability perspective.

Summarize: Craft a concise self-summary that, first and foremost, explains who you are and what you do. For example, you can begin with the following: “I am a CPA specializing in partnership and corporate tax for both domestic and foreign banking organizations. I am currently employed as a Senior Associate within PwC’s Banking and Capital Markets practice.” You’ll notice that the example includes job-specific keywords. Employers and recruiters search with keywords like “Sarbanes-Oxley,” “insurance clients,” “SEC reporting,” “fixed assets,” etc. These terms are infinitely more effective for searchability than fluffy terms such as “results-oriented,” “team player,” “eager to learn,” and so on. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to repeat some of your job-related keywords in the “Description” fields under your job titles, and in your “Skills and Experience.” Redundancy is encouraged to increase visibility. 

Show Off: Be blunt about your accomplishments. If you hold a CPA, CIA or CISA certification, or have completed your MBA degree, don’t leave the information buried somewhere in your profile. Instead, call it out by placing the relevant acronym after your name. Candidates who are currently working on completing a certification—say, with two parts of the CPA exam completed—are encouraged to make mention in their Summary section. While Private Industry employers generally seek Public Accounting candidates with an active CPA license, current progress toward the certification is sufficiently compelling. With regard to education, where and when did you earn your Bachelor’s Degree? Don’t leave that out; use alumni connections to your advantage. Recruiters and employers frequently prioritize candidates who share their alma mater to initiate a warm conversation. Illustrate your career progression, too. Is your current title “Senior Auditor”? Recruiters and employers would like to see how quickly you attained that title after a promotion from the Associate level.

Share & Socialize: Maintaining a complete and detailed LinkedIn profile is valuable, yes, but your account activity— the widespread circulation of that profile—is just as critical to visibility. Sure, employers and recruiters can conduct Advanced Searches to “find” you, but that’s not the only way you can put yourself in front of them; you can also position yourself strategically through the use of Status Updates and Groups. Status Updates, of course, must be subtle. If you’re a Public Accounting professional beginning to consider Internal Audit roles in Media & Entertainment, we’re by no means suggesting to write status updates about your interest in such a position. Instead, you can comment on industry or accounting-related news or developments, or repost articles of interest, to remain visible to hiring managers, HR professionals and/or recruiters once you’ve connected to them. Likewise, joining groups relevant to your professional interests helps you generate additional connectivity to employers and recruiters.

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