In a socially networked world, LinkedIn, a professional networking site, is your ‘always on’ resume for potential recruiters and employers. With just a bit of polish, your professional image can shine and attract the attention you deserve to get the interview you seek and the position you deserve. It’s time to use the power of technology to set yourself apart from the other applicants for the job that you covet.
Here are seven highly effective tips to building a LinkedIn profile that gets you noticed:
Have a professional photo done. You’re not supposed to include a photo with a resume, right? Well, LinkedIn isn’t a resume so much as it is a professional social network. Networkers like to “see” whom they are networking with. Think of the site as a perpetual meet and greet function in electronic form. Your photograph is the primary key to successful networking there. Now, having a professional photo doesn’t mean going out and paying for a studio sitting, though you can do that if you like. At minimum, put on a suit, smile and have a friend photograph you in front of a neutral background. Then, look at the shots and post the best head and shoulders view on your profile.
Fill in the details. Unless you’re an academic, your C.V. should only be a page or two. There are no such limits on your LinkedIn profile. You don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had or even every position you’ve held in the past ten years there but, you should list all of the assignments that were pertinent to what you want to do in the future and expound upon your duties at each of those assignments.
Join some groups. Join groups that reflect facets of your career field or your interests and find other like minded people to chat with and network with. Many an acquaintance has been made from a discussion in a group that led to an unexpected opportunity later on. Find a few groups to join and then introduce yourself to the members. Join in an ongoing discussion or throw a new question out there. Get involved with others. Invite other group members to connect with you.
Network. Look up the names of people you know and invite them to connect. Give LinkedIn access to your email address book and invite all of the professional contacts you have already to connect. The larger your network, the more opportunities you have to connect with top recruiters and hiring managers in your field. Don’t be afraid to pass along introduction requests when they come along from the friend of a friend to another of your connections. That’s what makes a network work!
Give Recommendations. Are your current or former subordinates LinkedIn? Write a brief recommendation. How about a former colleague or business partner? Write them a recommendation too. When you write sincere, original recommendations for people you’ve worked with and who worked for you in the past, you often get sincere, original recommendations in return. These become always available references that many employers read closely.
Give Endorsements. Maybeyou’ve connected with a consultant that you worked with once for only a short period and you don’t feel that you know enough about him or her to write a recommendation. Or, possibly, you might have had a subordinate who was good at multiple skills and you just don’t have the time to write a lengthy recommendation that touches on all of them. You can use LinkedIn endorsements to quickly click off on skills you associate with that person. You’ll be doing them a favor and they’ll very likely turn around and do the same for you.
Click the “Jobs” tab. By the time you’ve made some connections, joined some groups, written some recommendations and endorsed some of your peers your own profile should be in pretty nice shape. Go ahead and click the “Jobs” tab at the top of the page or the separate jobs tab that appears within your specific groups. There just might be something posted, especially in a local group or a user group for a particular skill or certification that you have, that’s just the right fit for you. You’ve already laid the groundwork to get yourself noticed!
Using these tips, you’ll look like a pro on LinkedIn and attract the attention of potential hiring managers who have paid for the privilege of having access to well networked and technically savvy people like you.