Once you’ve registered for a LinkedIn account and have spent time filling in your profile, it can be easy to let it slip down your to-do list.
But if you thought this giant networking site was just a type of online CV to leave dormant, think again. Creating your profile page is the first step in unlocking a host of powerful features that can help you be noticed, get introductions to useful contacts, connect with potential employers and hopefully ultimately land your dream job.
In the first of a series on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, here are eight questions to ask yourself to check your profile packs a powerful punch when it comes to landing your dream role. (Oh, and it goes without saying that if you’re a job seeker and aren’t already on there, your first step is to join!)
What’s the first item on view in your LinkedIn profile, and the thing that speaks volumes? Your photo. It seems obvious, but it’s key that your head and shoulders shot is clear and crisp, and makes you look friendly and professional. Grainy and blurry snaps are a no-go, as are ones of you enjoying yourself a little too much on a night out...
When you appear in a LinkedIn search, all that’s seen is your photo, name and headline (which appears just below your name). If you’re currently employed, it might not be wise to advertise the fact you’re looking for a new role. But if you’re between jobs, grab the chance to let people know by including it in your headline.
Think about how potential employers or recruiters would describe a dream candidate. Look at job descriptions of the positions you’re applying for, pick out words and phrases they use (or put them into a free word cloud tool such as Wordle) and weave them into your headline, summary and profile. Bear in mind that LinkedIn is searchable so every relevant mention counts.
You might feel you’re motivated and enthusiastic, but it may be best to keep it under your hat on your profile. According to LinkedIn, those two buzzwords top the list of the 10 most overused (and therefore less effective). Other culprits include ‘creative’, ‘passionate’, ‘successful’ and ‘driven’. Apparently it’s also good to steer clear of ‘track record’, ‘leadership’, ‘strategic’ and ‘extensive experience’.
What skills do you have that make you a winner at work? It’s important to think which ones potential bosses will rate the highest, as the people you’re connected to can endorse you specifically for those skills. Having plenty of skill endorsements will make you look more suitable for the type of roles you’re going for, plus as skills show up in searches you’ll be boosting your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile needs to include a comprehensive rundown of your work history, but it’s so much more powerful than a CV. You can make your profile fly by also adding Word documents outlining previous projects, videos of you speaking to camera or PowerPoint presentations you’re proud of.
Few things scream ‘I don’t take myself seriously as a professional’ more than an incomplete profile. If anyone’s viewing your profile to find out more, they’ll want to know as much as possible - including where you’ve worked, your main skills and how others view you.
If you need a nudge, LinkedIn will tell you how complete your profile is, and suggest areas that you can expand on to come up with something that works. That’s great news for you as a job seeker, as anything that can help you shine to a potential manager is definitely worth a go.