By now everyone knows networking is key to a successful employment search; and that networking has gone digital. Most Recruiters use LinkedIn so it’s imperative to put your best foot forward there. A strong LinkedIn profile not only helps you to connect with old classmates and colleagues but can help catch the eye of recruiters and future employers. So how exactly do you go about building an effective profile?
Stand Out– first and foremost you need to make sure your profile stands out so create a catchy headline that includes your field. Maximize the 120 characters of your headline by describing what you do and what you have to offer. Don’t just list your job title. If it says, ‘CEO of XYZ Limited.,’ they don’t know what you offer, so it could be ‘CEO of XYZ Limited: Helping business-to-business professionals with all their accounting needs.’ This will surely set you apart.
Picture It– Put a face to your name and include a photo of yourself. Use a professional looking picture that will enable people recognize you when they meet you. Let the picture be about you alone, keep family, friends and pets out of it.
Summarize Well– the “Summary Field” is a good place to quickly give potential employers a snapshot of what you offer. Make it easy to read with bullets and highlight your tops accomplishments and priorities. It is in this 2,000-character space that the LinkedIn algorithm searches for key words, so be sure to fill it with information you believe your target audience is looking for, and to spice it up with awards or accomplishments that will make you stand out even more. Job seekers should put in keywords that match the jobs they are looking for.
Multimedia– While words are good, images, videos and graphics all help your profile to stand out. But be careful not to overdo it and keep it relevant. If you have a relevant blog or website, link to it to easily highlight your work.
Cover It All– Of course you want to fill out employment and education but take the time to fill out every field such as volunteer experience, skills, projects and awards. Also, remember to join groups relevant to your field as these appear on your profile.
Update It– While it is important to make certain everything is up-to-date you should also post industry relevant news and blogs to your profile to add interest.
Recommendations– Perhaps the life blood of LinkedIn are the recommendations. Don’t be shy about asking former colleagues to write recommendations for you if you are actively looking for employment.
Creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile can take time but when searching for a job this is time that can definitely pay-off as 80% of potential employers admit to checking the site. This is not the time to be modest so toot your own horn a bit.