Connections and networking have always been key elements of successful job hunt strategies. In today’s increasingly competitive market, maintaining a profile on the social/business site LinkedIn should be a key element in your successful career path plan.
LinkedIn is not just another Facebook – so don’t confuse the two. Think of LinkedIn as Facebook’s more professional and business savvy cousin. Effectively utilized, LinkedIn is a media for you to post your resume, apply for jobs, connect to companies and hiring managers – and tell your lifestyle story as it relates to your career.
With more than 8.5 million professionals in 130 industries – including all of the Fortune 500 companies – represented, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for developing business relationships that fit your long-term career goals.
An Online Resume – And Then Some
All LinkedIn content is searchable, so a well-executed profile optimizes your chances of being found by people and organizations in need of your skill set and abilities.
Here are some tips as you create your LinkedIn self-portrait:
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Use a good, tasteful photo. It doesn’t have to be a formal shot, but you must appear professional. Model your photo after those in established business periodicals and magazines. Dress professionally and avoid looking dated or fatigues. No vacation beach party shots.
- Introduce yourself. Begin your Background Summary with your name on a line all its own. Then include all relevant educational, professional and volunteer roles and dates. This way, you’ll be easily found by those who overlap with you.
- Tell your success stories. Lots of people may have professional responsibilities similar to yours. Distinguish yourself by emphasizing your personal accomplishments. On LinkedIn, you can share more details and compelling vignettes, which are not easily accommodated on a resume.
- Put references to work for you. LinkedIn’s endorsement feature has yet to show substantial value, but solid, well-written references are priceless. Keywords used by colleagues who recommend you appear in your profile and are commonly searched by recruiters and hiring managers.
- Be a joiner. You can be a member of 50 LinkedIn groups at a time. Join these industry, professional and skillset-based groups to further enhance your profile.
- Share your interests. LinkedIn is a social site, so you can be a little more personable – without sacrificing your professionalism. LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams tells the story of a friend who was weighing two equally qualified candidates for a job. On LinkedIn, they learned that one had volunteered with an animal rescue organization. The hiring manager was an animal lover, so guess who got the position?
- Keep your profile up to date. Post regularly and wisely. For instance, “I’m off to Philadelphia for a few days to attend an international public relations conference.” Your update can include links to articles and other pertinent Web content. As Williams noted, “If you share something just once a week, you are 10 times more likely to have your profile viewed by a hiring manager.”
Clearly, LinkedIn can be a critical tool as you promote your personal brand and value. To learn more about this and other career path strategies, contact PrideStaff Fresno today.