First impressions are very important, this is no less true when you’re looking for a job and in the current economic climate you need to do everything you can to get ahead of the competition.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places a potential employer is going to search for you if they are intending to contact you. Read the twelve tips below to make sure your LinkedIn profile is viewed by the right people.
1. Think about your intentions with the site.
LinkedIn is a social networking site used mainly by professionals to get in touch with other professionals. Your first step is to make some decisions so you know how best to use your profile to assist in your job search. Which career are you aiming for? Do you want to be employed or self-employed?
2. Think about your grammar and spelling
Just as in your CV or job application, people will be making assumptions about you based on your wording. Words are very important and using professional words, spelling things correctly and using correct grammar are important. Don’t write an essay on your history and working life, be succinct and to the point, just as you would with your CV. It’s also better to avoid abbreviations where possible – just because you know what it means, it doesn’t mean everyone else will.
3. How do you want people to see you?
Every time you make a comment or appear on LinkedIn your strap-line is shown with you. Brand yourself properly and spend some time thinking about how you want to be seen by others online, especially if you are looking for a career that is different from your current one as recruiters may search for individuals with a particular job title when head hunting for new roles.
4. Make sure that people CAN see you
So you’ve spent lots of time updating your LinkedIn profile? Great… now it’s time to make sure that you have checked your profile settings to make sure that people can find you!
Ensure that your profile is set to public, and where possible customise your profile URL to contain your name (see below).
In addition make sure your contact settings include career opportunities, consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries and reference requests as this is the sort of thing recruiters will be looking for.
5. Think about your entire profile as a selling method
Every part of your LinkedIn profile needs to be selling you as an excellent candidate for the type of role you are looking for. The summary box on your profile should state why you stand out from other candidates and what skills and assets you can bring to a new company. Include words that you might find in an appropriate job description or person description that recruiters could be searching for.
Specialities can also be used effectively to list key words that employers could be searching for.
6. Use URLs effectively
Find a way to include your own name within the LinkedIn URL, for example “http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname.” so that recruiters that are searching for your name will see your name listed higher. You can also include other URLs within your profile, where you should include actual links for people to click on and view rather than expecting them to search for company websites. It is also ok to put real company names instead of just ‘My Company’ or if you have a professional blog or presence on other social media you can include that too.
7. Connect your social sites up
If you have profiles on a number of different social media sites then you may find yourself continually updating all of these different sites. You can use your LinkedIn profile to connect all of your social media profiles and update all of them at the same time. Use the Blog Typepad app to pull RSS or atom feeds from your blog or twitter feeds and updating your profiles. If your blog is WordPress then there are other apps which you can select that allow you display your blog on LinkedIn.
Ask your customers and colleagues to make recommendations for you on your LinkedIn profile as these are very prominently displayed and an excellent item to be read for prospective customers and possible employers.
Most people are happy to give feedback after a job, and a list of positive recommendations could be the difference between a prospective employer picking up the phone and asking you to come in for an interview, or not.
9. Be consisent
Your social networking within the professional world is how your advertise yourself, particularly if you are looking for a new career. Make sure your branding, and how people view you in each of your professional social profiles, is the same. Use the same backgrounds, avatars and headlines throughout your profiles so that recruiters are in no doubt you are one and the same person.
10. Search Engine Optimisation
Recruiters searching LinkedIn for possible candidates will be using keyword searches to find those individuals. Think about the sort of keywords that you might want to be found against, think about the keywords you have used in your CV and shower them throughout your profile. Make sure you fill in all of the categories on your professional summary as all of them could be used by employers to search against.
11. Status updates are important
Use your status updates on LinkedIn to let people know what your achievements are, what projects you are currently working on, and how well you’re doing in the things that you are doing. Tell them about big clients you’re working with, even if you’re not sure it’s relevant just demonstrating that you’re still updating your profile and letting people know you’re still out there is important. There is no harm in including things like,
“Steve is looking for a new senior audit manager position in London. Anyone have contacts in that field?”
It’s not just about your status either, take some time every couple of months to review your profile and make sure it is still accurate so that potential recruiters don’t contact you after you’ve just taken a new job elsewhere.
12. It’s all about content
As you might expect, the more relevant content you have against your LinkedIn profile, the more chance you have of being short-listed when a recruiter runs a search. Enter information into every available section of your profile, and try to make it relevant to the sort of role you are interested in working in.
Include information in the Experience section, explaining which companies you worked for and the responsibilities you had there. Just as with your CV, if it’s relevant to the posts (or just makes you look good) include unpaid and/or advisory roles, perhaps including how this linked to your professional life.
13. Make sure you are open for business
If you are on LinkedIn and using it to look for a job you DO want to be found. Common sense really! Make sure you contact settings are set to include, career opportunities, consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries, reference requests.
Make sure your profile is public, and as suggested earlier, customize your public profile URL so that it contains your name.
Keep coming back to Learnist.org to read our priceless tips about Linkedin!
photo by: kevin day