Are you on LinkedIn?

LinkedInWhen I meet new people in a professional setting I often ask if they are on LinkedIn.  They may be a potential client, someone who can add value to my business or a job seeker I’m working with.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site and many companies use this tool as a means of recruiting staff.

When it comes to landing a job, your LinkedIn profile acts as the online version of your resume.  I’m going to share with you 10 ways to strengthen your profile and ensure you are optimising your professional brand with this online platform.

  1. Before you update your profile, I suggest turning off your activity broadcasts which is explained here. Whatever changes you make to your profile won’t be announced to your connections and once you have finished, you can turn the broadcasts back on and start sharing articles and commenting on other people’s news updates.
  2. Add a professional looking photograph of yourself which will set the tone for your online resume. Avoid holiday or party shots, but at the same time choose a photo where you are looking relaxed.
  3. Add a background picture – there’s some great free photos on unsplash.com
  4. Stand out with your Headline. This is located beneath your name and defaults to your most recent job. Using key words you have up to 120 characters to create an eye catching statement about yourself.  You can write a sentence or shorter words that tell the reader your role or expertise.  Eg. “Finance & Accounting Professional | CPA | Strategic Leader”
  5. Add a Summary which includes key words about your profession (or one you are aspiring to), skills, strengths, industry and how you add value to an organisation. It can be written in the first person as it’s about YOU. You have 300 characters at the top of the summary section before people need to click down. This displays as three lines of text so make the first sentence count when pitching yourself! Try to keep the wording sincere rather than filling it with buzz words that everyone else is using. Look at other people’s summaries for inspiration.
  6. Experience – Showcase your achievements for each role and keep them concise.  You may wish to bullet point a list of three to five key accomplishments. I find the asterix (*) for bullets is better visually than the dash (-).  Remember to check that the dates align with your resume and only list jobs as far back as is relevant, typically the last 10 years.
  7. Add Education, Courses/Certifications and Volunteer Experience so that they marry up with what is listed in your resume.
  8. In the Skills section, be sure to list the relevant skills that you want to be regarded for. Your connections will begin to endorse your skills through this built-in feature of LinkedIn and you will be asked to “pay it forward” to your own connections. You can edit the order of how your skills appear and delete skills added by your connections that do not reflect your brand.
  9. Seek Recommendations from customers, colleagues or managers for each of your jobs. These are like a written reference in the hiring process and can add weight when being considered for a role.
  10. Customise your URL. When you first sign up for LinkedIn, your profile automatically assigns a URL with your name and a bunch of numbers. You can easily edit your URL such as: au.linkedin.com/in/name_lastname

Get active in your job search:

  • When your profile has been suitable refreshed turn your ‘activity feed’ on again and start inviting people to connect with you.
  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your profession or interests and take part in discussions.
  • Follow companies that you are targeting for potential work so you can stay updated with their statuses and job postings.
  • Check your LinkedIn feed on a regular basis (daily is good) and participate by Liking and/or Commenting on relevant posts.
  • For further engagement, share your thoughts on relevant posts by people and organisations in your field.
  • Become a ‘thought leader by writing your own articles; share these on your news feed and build up your followers and build your personal brand.
  • Share relevant articles you have found and give some insights in your post.
  • Message people you haven’t seen in a while to connect for coffee.

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to set the right level of privacy for you. I’ve used this resource by Buffered VPN called LinkedIn Privacy 101 for good ways to managed this.

Connect with Gen today to help build a professional LinkedIn profile.

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