LinkedIn is like baking soda. You know you’re supposed to have it. You’re not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do with it. So it just sits there and does nothing except bring you false comfort.
Time to change that. Made Man interviewed career expert Tom Dezell, author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naïve Job Seeker, and asked him how to punch up a LinkedIn profile. Here are eight tips that will increase your chances of getting a job through LinkedIn.
1. Complete your profile and nail the summary
Dezell encourages you to take advantage of the 2,000-character count profile summary. On a resume, you have limited real estate to tell the story of your career. On LinkedIn, you have the luxury of space. Take advantage. Tell stories of how you got to where you are. Weave in your successes. Play up your progressions.
2. Post a professional-looking photo
Think of LinkedIn like a dating website. Photos draw more attention to your profile page. They also have another benefit. If you meet someone at a work or social function, and you request a connection with them on LinkedIn, they might not remember your name but they will probably remember your face. If you do not have a professional photo, have one taken. Potential employers do not want to see a cropped photo, or the logo of your favorite sports team, or nothing at all.
3. The real estate beneath your name is important
After your photo and your name, the next thing a potential employer will see is the area titled Professional Headline on the backend of your profile. Use this area to list any relevant certifications, and, not just your company job title, but where you see yourself within your industry. Feel free to list a few such items in this space. In the example below Dezell lists Career Advisor, Trainer and Author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker.
4. Title your website/blog
If you want to draw attention to your website or blog, edit the Additional Information section, go to Websites, select Other and manually type in the name of your site/blog and add the URL. Most people don’t know they can do this, and instead of a creative title that leads to their art portfolio, potential employers just see the word BLOG. Really, is there a less-attractive word in the English language?
5. Customize the title of your page with your name
This will push your name higher in Google search results. When potential employers search your name – and they will – you want your LinkedIn resume at the top of the page.
6. Use the network activity bar
Let your network and potential employers know what you are working on, or where you are applying for work. You can hook this feed up with your Twitter account, but other users might develop Twitter fatigue from all of your posts, so be careful if you take this approach. Interact with other people’s status bars. Like Twitter, the more you are able to successfully interact with people, the more valuable you are in your network.
7. Don’t waste your introductions
Let’s say you are interested in working for a company, and you have a first connection who has a second or third connection at that company. Don’t waste your limited introductions on that second or third connection. Instead, contact that first connection, whose e-mail or phone number you already should have, because you know them, and ask for an appropriate introduction with the person you’re interested in meeting.
8. Show that you know your industry
Include the main keywords in your industry in a way that shows your mastery and expertise in your field. Employers want to see that you fit within their space and that you know what you’re talking about.
Your audience on LinkedIn is, to a small extent, your network, and to a larger extent, potential employers. In addition to being an author, Dezell is a professional career advisor. He said that LinkedIn is emerging as a force in the world of job search and is a must for any job-seeker. “More and more, when people are talking about how they found their jobs, they are saying, ‘They found me on LinkedIn,’” Dezell said.
The reason LinkedIn is growing in importance is because it saves employers time. Only around 20 percent of all jobs are posted on job boards. Why? Public hiring is a time-consuming process. Instead of posting a job on a mega-site and wading through hundreds or thousands of resumes, employers can search LinkedIn and contact qualified candidates. LinkedIn is so efficient at matching employers and employees, Dezell said that it is making some headhunters nervous.
To completely master the world of LinkedIn, Dezell recommends that you check out the book I’m On Linked, In Now What? by Jason Alba. There are also a number of LinkedIn tutorials on YouTube. For more information about Tom Dezell, go to www.yournetworkingguide.com.