The professional network site is the modern day Rolodex, which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure you polish your LinkedIn profile before you start your next job hunt, and to use the site to the fullest once your search is underway. There are more than 300 million professionals on LinkedIn; stand out from the crowd by using these tips to build up your online resume.
Create a headline and summary
These are the first sections people see when they visit your LinkedIn profile, so you want them to be accurate, professional and packed with keywords. Your headline should include your job title and any pertinent keywords. You can expand it up to 120 characters to include a short version of your elevator pitch if desired.
The summary should be casual yet professional, summing up the benefits you can provide potential employers. Remember, the goal is to draw a recruiter in and making them want to know more about you. List the reasons you’re an expert in your career in a bulleted list and be sure to include relevant skills--members who list skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive an average of 13 times more profile views than those who don’t. Also note that a summary of 40 words or more makes you more likely to turn up in a search. If you’re drawing a blank, researching other profiles is a great way to find out how people with similar careers are talking about themselves.
Upload a photo
Research shows if you have a profile photo, it increases the likelihood that your profile will be viewed by 14 times. If not, people may think you’re not active. It doesn’t have to be a professionally taken photograph, but be sure to use a photo that shows only you and gives a clear view of your face with no obstructions. One where you are smiling makes you look more friendly and approachable. Alternatively, an avatar can be used in lieu of a photo, and ideally that same avatar will be used across any other social media outlets you are on.
Invite people to connect
Once you’ve got the basics in your profile, it’s time to build up your connections. Use email addresses to find people if possible, and personalize the invitations you send to anyone you know and trust. Rather than connecting through “People You May Know,” always go to their profile so that you can personalize the invite. Once your network is built up, ask your 1st degree connections if they can introduce you to 2nd degree contacts working at places you want to get to know.
Groups are a great way to interact with other people who might not be a direct connection (without paying for pricey InMail). Find your most relevant group for your industry and interests--including any university alumni groups for any school you attended--and sign up. People who post or engage in Group discussions get an average of four times as many profile views. Also, you can use the “Reply Privately” option within groups to reach out to LinkedIn users who are not within your network.
Find the most desirable jobs
Keep track of “Jobs In Your Network” and “Jobs You May Be Interested In” by signing up for LinkedIn’s notification emails. Use the Save Job button to create a list of opportunities of interest. Also, be sure to pay attention to the “People who viewed this job also viewed…” section--there may be even more interesting positions for you there.
Utilize other online tools
You want to claim your public profile, so create a personalized URL--firstnamelastname.com is always great, but there are plenty of options if that’s not available. Add your LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle and email signature across all mediums. And don’t let Twitter fall by the wayside--it can help establish your personal brand in social media. Establish yourself as an expert by retweeting articles you find interesting with brief commentary. Always follow a company that you want to get hired by--especially if you have an upcoming interview--in order to familiarize yourself completely.
Interact in the real world
Remember, talking to people in person is the most important thing you can do for your job search, so regardless of how amazing your online resume is, you need to get out and meet real people. The majority of hiring is still a So get out there and socialize!
This article was written by Wendy Saccuzzo, Career Development Specialist at Riviera Partners & Director of Career Development at Women Who Code. Follow Wendy on Twitter @aboutworkstuff
For more valuable job search tips, you can join Wendy for in-person career development workshops in partnership with Women Who Code. For more information, check out the “Job Club” events at the Women Who Code MeetUp page. Contact Wendy Saccuzzo with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.