One of the first things any prospective employer will do is to look at your LinkedIn page — and see what it says about you professionally. According to one study, 94% of recruiters and human resource (HR) professionals name LinkedIn as the essential source for recruiting.
LinkedIn is where you’ll build and promote your professional profile, job history, education, affiliations, and so much more. If you don’t have a LinkedIn page yet, sign up today. If you have a page already, update it with current information — it will walk you step-by-step through many of the options available. And make sure you list your contact information, including email and phone number.
Basic LinkedIn services are free, and a free account generally is adequate if you are employed. But if you are actively seeking a new job, you might consider upgrading to a Premium account which gives you access to hidden profiles and the ability to send InMail directly to any LinkedIn member even if you are not currently connected to them. LinkedIn has recently introduced the Career Plan, tailored for job seekers, at $29.99 per month. It may well be worth the investment if it helps you land your next job. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to network and reach out to potential employers or business colleagues you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
LinkedIn is a great networking and self-promotion tool, where colleagues can endorse you for specific skills, and you can show how savvy you are through the number of connections you have. But it can be much more than that. Today you can also post photos, comments, questions, blog posts, skills, presentations, white papers, and more. You can create an online portfolio on LinkedIn instantly viewable by everyone – for free. You can engage with other professionals by answering their questions or responding to and commenting on their posts and articles. This will make you stand out from other job candidates. LinkedIn should be your number one priority in your job search.
LinkedIn has perfected their site to the point where I suggest you build your LinkedIn profile BEFORE you create your resume. LinkedIn will walk you step-by-step through every aspect of your career credentials, and prompt you if you are missing anything, such as employment dates or titles. If you complete your LinkedIn profile first, you have a great start on creating your powerful resume later on.
Some LinkedIn Features to Make Your Personal Brand Shine:
Here are some of the most important areas of LinkedIn to master to stand head and shoulders above your competition. Make sure you go step-by-step and build out each part of your LinkedIn page to maximize your visibility and hireability:
Create Your Profile – Your first step is to create a free account and build out your basic profile. Use your professional photo that you use on all your job search materials. A great photo is key, as recruiters actively view your photos for insights into your employability. You can add a background image if desired, as long as it doesn’t detract from your profile photo.
Headline – Choose a headline that clearly states who you are and what you do. This is a key search tool for recruiters looking for qualified job candidates, so make sure your headline and description are filled with searchable keywords.
Contact and Personal Information – Ensure that a recruiter or hiring manager can find you and contact you quickly and effortlessly. Fill this section out completely. Use your permanent professional email. You can link social media pages here, and much more.
Education – You will be prompted to enter details of your education, step-by-step, and they will be arranged in the appropriate reverse chronological order – most recent fist, older information on the bottom. Easy as pie. Your alumni network is one of your key assets, and a great way to connect instantly with many other mature professionals in leadership positions. Make sure you take advantage of your alumni network.
Employment – Again you will be prompted to fill in details of employment, which will be arranged in reverse chronological order. Use keywords, and focus on accomplishments rather than just a job description. A word about your LinkedIn employment profile and résumé: You must be rigorously honest and consistent — no cheating and no exaggeration. Make sure your LinkedIn profile mirrors your résumé. All this information is archived online for anyone to see, and any inconsistencies will pop up instantly. Your online résumé will become a public document that is cached online, so you must be totally honest and upfront about your information.
Former fellow employees at companies you worked for in the past are a great source of job leads. Connect to everyone you know still working in your former companies and also all your former colleagues. With the decades of work experience we bring to the table, this can be a substantial network to tap into.
Build Your Connections – LinkedIn will ask you for access to all your email accounts, and match your contacts to other LinkedIn members, and suggest that you connect via an invitation they will send on your behalf. Just click the invite, and you will start gaining connections quickly and easily. As a mature professional, this is your competitive advantage! You have decades of experience and thousands of professional contacts to build out your contact listing in no time at all.
Gaining Endorsements and Recommendations – You want people to endorse you for your skills, and your extensive universe of professional connections makes it so easy to gain endorsements. LinkedIn will search out key words in your profile, and suggest endorsement topics spontaneously to your connections. They also make it easy to get recommendations. There is actually a place to request such recommendations on your LinkedIn page. Click and request your recommendation. A simple strategy is to recommend them first! Just review all your contacts and write a short but glowing recommendation or endorsement about those who know the quality of your work — a sentence or two is enough — and submit in online. In return, the majority will give YOU a recommendation. And you don’t even have to ask them for it!
Create Posts – These are quick messages of a timely nature, often with a call to action – notices about upcoming events or requests for information, invitations to apply for a job, etc. They can include images with insightful headlines, memes, quotes, etc. You can share posts from others that are relevant to your professional life. Here is where you can ask the LinkedIn community for introductions to key contacts at your desired company, or ask for information about a target employer or industry.
Post Articles – You can post longer thoughtful articles of professional interest, often several pages long, accompanied by an image. You can include links to photos or videos or additional information. These are evergreen posts, meaning they will be viewed for a long period of time. I have articles and posts from years ago that are still being seen and liked. Repurpose reports you have written in the past to create insightful content, or create a new post with topical content. Your years of experience and your unique insights should make this an easy way to showcase your expertise and extensive credentials.
Jobs – The Jobs icon on the menu bar allows you to search companies and individuals anywhere. You can select a range of search criteria, including individual name, company name, industry, current employees, former employees, market or geography, job titles, education, experience level and much more. This is why you need a great headline loaded with keywords. Recruiters will search for keywords, and may find YOU with a well-written LinkedIn profile.
Messaging – You can send instant messages to anyone in your community quickly with a single click, and likewise receive messages from anyone in your network. You will also receive alerts about events – birthdays, job changes, work anniversaries, posts made, etc.
InMail – This is a premium service that requires a paid plan to allow you to message people outside your own network – such as potential employers and many CEOs. It also unmasks some senior executives whose contact is hidden on the regular platform. This can be a key reason to subscribe to a paid premium plan.
Groups – You can join and follow many different LinkedIn groups, which is important to expand your network and optimize your job search. Join your alumni groups, professional trade association groups, or groups that reflect a professional interest. You can use this platform to message members to help gain contacts or insights for your job search. Recruiters often check what groups you are following.
Learning Videos – LinkedIn has hundreds of informational videos, many created by members, that can provide a wealth of information. Check them out.
SlideShare – This is a forum which allows you to post PowerPoint presentations, infographics, white papers or other documents of useful professional information which you are willing to share freely with the online community. These presentations are evergreen, meaning they will be relevant forever or for a long time. Do you have a presentation you have prepared for a conference, training program, or industry overview that you can repurpose? A good SlideShare presentation may garner thousands of views over time, and can establish you as an expert.
Salaries – LinkedIn is a great source of information about salaries to help in your job search. They can provide a general range of salaries based on your desired job title. If you provide them with your current salary and company, they will tailor a market analysis which will be much more specific.
So Much More – There are many more tools available on LinkedIn, with new ones added every day. Go step-by-step to build your expanded profile using this list, and you will soon have a powerful LinkedIn profile that will set you up for job search success. Click on the Career Interests button to indicate to recruiters that you are interested in job opportunities, and see who reaches out to you. You can also search and connect with the companies you want to work for, and contact the hiring manager via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a treasure trove of ways to showcase your expertise to build your personal brand. Make this your number one social media site, and create and nurture a vibrant LinkedIn presence.
© 2018 Diane Huth All rights reserved