Having an online presence on LinkedIn can be important in your job search.
Why? Because That’s Where The People Are. LinkedIn is the number one social network for professionals — and, arguably, the most important website for jobseekers — with more than 650 million members worldwide. Not only are people you know already on the site (friends, family, co-workers, colleagues), but so are people you should get to know — recruiters, hiring managers, and your future co-workers.
Your LinkedIn profile can present your credentials to prospective employers and hiring managers, increasing your chance of securing an interview.
Your LinkedIn profile should complement your résumé, but it shouldn’t duplicate it directly. To have a strong online presence, you must be clear about who you are, and who you are not. (An unfocused LinkedIn profile may be worse than no profile at all.) Your LinkedIn profile can also be more comprehensive than your résumé, since it offers you more room to showcase projects, publications, and experience.
A successful LinkedIn profile gives readers a snapshot of who you are and how you can contribute to their organization. You must understand and be able to articulate and communicate what makes you exceptional and compelling.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, make sure you do these four things:
- Complete Your Profile. Your profile is the “front door” to your LinkedIn account. First impressions matter — so make sure you’ve made your profile as complete as possible. As an added benefit, your LinkedIn profile generally ranks high in Google search results for your name, so make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate, and fully populated with information about you.
POWER TIP: Your LinkedIn profile should complement — not duplicate — your résumé. Be especially careful to ensure the two are in sync, as prospective employers are likely to Google you and will compare the two.
- Grow Your Connections. There are two schools of thought when it comes to LinkedIn connections. You can choose to connect selectively — accepting invitations only from those you know and trust — or you can use LinkedIn to grow the network of people you know. You can connect with people you meet through Groups and get introduced to people you don’t yet know “in real life.”
POWER TIP: The power of networking lies in “friends of friends,” so the larger your network, the easier it will be to connect with someone you don’t know (yet). Remember the principal of “six degrees of separation.”
- Give To Get. Authentic, genuine Recommendations can make or break a LinkedIn profile (just like references can for a job candidate). Select a handful of people in your network and write Recommendations for them, without asking for one in return. You will be surprised at how many people will reciprocate.
POWER TIP: Make sure your Recommendations are specific and detailed. When reading the Recommendation, you should be able to tell exactly who it was written about. Quantify accomplishments (with percentages, numbers, and dollar amounts) as much as possible. Tell a story, if it’s relevant.
- Speak Up! Think of your LinkedIn profile as a large group gathering. Don’t just stand in a corner and watch — start a conversation (using LinkedIn Publishing or a post on your profile) or join an existing conversation (comment on other people’s posts or in a Group discussion).
POWER TIP: Aim to write at least 2-3 LinkedIn Publishing articles each year. “How-to” and analysis topics will likely get you the most engagement and visibility.