In 2002 LinkedIn was launched and since then it has grown into the essential job search tool allowing you to provide details of your professional experience, and more importantly for recruiters to search and review these details.
LinkedIn is now so important it has become a vital part of the professional’s way of networking with others, and there is potential for you to find your next job.
Why should you use LinkedIn?
The majority of professionals have found that LinkedIn is an essential aspect in order to search for a job or more clients, looking for a business partner or just check out the competition.
If you’re looking for employment opportunities or new employees then LinkedIn is a very effective tool. There are a wide variety of ways to search: by people; company; location; trade sector; level of skill etc. and you can either to a search within people you already know, or people who are one link removed. If your search results find a contact that is one link removed you can then request an introduction from the mutual contact.
Why is LinkedIn better than my CV?
Your LinkedIn profile is also much more than a CV. Even though it may contain much of the same information, your CV is a static entity which stands alone, usually read alongside a covering note and nothing else. Using your LinkedIn profile to search for jobs is much more interactive allowing the recruiter to seek further information on a particular topic or read additional details about you if they are interested, perhaps reviewing your linked blogs or other social media.
Additionally, and worth far more than gold, LinkedIn allows clients, colleagues and other individuals on the network to leave testimonials. A wealth of good testimonials clearly demonstrate that you are appreciated and valued by your previous employers, colleagues and customers, and dramatically increase the chances of you being offered a job interview. Each positive testimonial is worth much more than you simply stating ‘I am an excellent accounts manager’ as the recruiter will already see that others are making this statement.
Your social media can also be linked together using LinkedIn. There are various Apps which allow you to update any linked blogs or social media including Facebook automatically to avoid having to manually duplicate this information and enter it into each of your online profiles. It is also a good idea to use consistent images (such as profile avatars) and information throughout your social media so that you can create your own brand image, and recruiters or others viewing your sites can immediately tell that they are looking at the right thing.
How to use Your LinkedIn Profile as a CV
Even if you’re not actively searching for a new job, ensure that your LinkedIn profile is regularly updated, take time every 2 months or so, with recent projects or new skills and information. This shows to readers that you are still using the profile, and helps you to remember your achievements when you do decide that your CV needs updating to find a new job. Here are excellent tips to optimise your Linkedin Profile to make it look like a winning CV.
1. Enter details on a new Profile
Start by creating your profile on LinkedIn, or if you already have a profile then make sure its updated with your current information. Just as with your CV, you will need to include your contact details, employment history, education, interests and any other relevant information.
2. Fill it all in!
Make sure that you take time to fill in every section as recruiters will often search by any of these and if you don’t have details entered, you won’t come up on their search. The Professional Summary section of your profile is an opportunity to write what you are excellent at your job in your own words. Highlight your unique experiences and talents.
Your Headline is important. It is the first thing that people will see when they view your profile and is visible every time you make a comment. Make it smart and professional.
4. Put up a Photo
You don’t have to add an image, but we strongly recommend that you do. Try to make it professional therefore a small (80×80 pixels) headshot. As noted above, use your LinkedIn profile as the start of your branding so you should try to reuse this same image on all of your social media to maintain consistency.
5. Job Skills and Keywords
When you write your traditional CV and Cover Letter you would refer to a Job Description and reuse Keywords so that recruiters identify you with the skills they are searching for. This is just as important on your LinkedIn profile as recruiters may be searching for those particular keywords. Look at an appropriate Job Description or make a list of keywords that might be appropriate for your job role, and scatter them throughout your profile including Professional Summary so that you aren’t overlooked on the initial searches.
Double check your settings to make sure that your profile can be viewed by others. Even if you’re not seeking a new job right now, it would be a shame to miss out on an excellent opportunity because you have not ticked that you are ‘Open to Offers’.
LinkedIn allows you to link your profile to other websites such as your company website, professional blogs, or social networking sites to give more information about you to your existing contacts and possible recruiters.
If you’ve done all the hard work of creating a new profile then you’ll want people to see it, and for your profile to come up on searches so make sure your URL is public. Customise your URL, ideally to include your name, so you can more easily be identified.
9. Email Signatures
Don’t forget to include links to your LinkedIn profile on your signature so that company contacts can quickly find you.
10. Update, update, update!
Just as you would update your CV when you change positions or move to a different company, make sure you keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Take some time every couple of months to add new information or current projects so that it is not an insurmountable task when you do come to find a new job.
The connections you have, the more people view your CV, and if they know you are open to job offers, the more chance you have of receiving a job offer. Keep it sensible though – don’t connect to just anyone even if you don’t know them. If you want to get in touch with someone then ask a mutual contact to introduce you. This will be more welcomed and make a better first impression.
Ask colleagues and previous employers to leave testimonials for you. Every time you complete a job for a customer take a moment to ask them for a quick reference on your LinkedIn profile.