In today’s job market, no job seeker should be without a LinkedIn account.
Your profile serves as your digital calling card; knowing how to make it work for you can make you stand out among an increasingly crowded job-market.
1. Be thorough
Make sure you create a full profile. This includes the summary, relevant information about your background, experience and skills. Your profile should give recruiters a good sense of who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. Don’t forget to include any quantifiable information such as numbers, data and statistics that show off achievements and contributions to your current and former employers.
2. Key Words Are...Key
Be sure that you use appropriate key words on multiple occasions throughout your profile. The challenge? Figuring out what keywords to use.
Think about ‘what are all the possible search terms someone might use to find someone like me?’ Then make sure all those words are somewhere in your profile. If someone is looking for a ‘Manager’, and you were a ‘Supervisor,’ they may not find you if you don’t have the word ‘Manager’ in your profile.
3. Be a positive spin-doctor
If you are unemployed, or have big gaps between jobs, find ways of framing your situation positively. Refrain from writing “Unemployed” in your profile heading. Also refrain from writing ‘Looking for next great opportunity’, this doesn’t say much about your talent and potential to help future employers. This is the perfect opportunity to brand yourself and include some keywords.
4. Tell the truth
While there’s no reason to stress the fact that you were laid off from your last job, outright lying has no place in your LinkedIn profile. Don’t write that you achieved 100 percent customer satisfaction because it sounds good. A ‘near perfect’ rating is more acceptable and easier to defend at an interview.
5. Say ‘cheese’ and wear a suit
Include a professional looking photo in your profile. Adding a profile picture makes your profile seven times more likely to be viewed by others. Maybe it’s even worth wearing a tie.
6. Build Your Network
Though LinkedIn isn’t a popularity contest in the way some other social media sites seem to be, having a lot of connections pays off in several respects. The first reason is simple. The more people you know in your industry, the more likely you are to hear about job opportunities. A strong network shows potential recruiters how well you market yourself, and that you are well connected to others in your industry.
7. Ratchet up the endorsements
LinkedIn’s endorsement function is important. It helps to reinforce the fact that you have the skills and experience you claim to have. Having positive reviews are even more helpful.
8. Proof and double proof
Keep in mind that your profile is a recruiter’s first impression of you. They will view the quality of your profile as an indicator of the quality of work you will deliver if hired.
Proof your profile multiple times to make sure there aren’t any spelling or grammatical errors. Consider having a friend or family member proof it, too. Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes will catch something you’ve missed.
9. Skip the hard sell
Don't over sale yourself as it can be a turn-off for recruiters. For example, don’t write something such as, ‘Best HR person around.’ Your skills and background should speak for themselves.
10. Move and shake
Again, don’t just set up your profile and wait for the job offers to role in. To make LinkedIn work for you, you’ll need to stay active. A great way of doing this is by joining and engaging in LinkedIn professional affinity groups. Once users have joined the appropriate groups, they can benefit greatly from engaging in the conversations there.
The bottom line: The more you use LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it.