LinkedIn has become one of the most powerful tools for job seekers, recruiters and networkers. As the site continues to evolve and provide more and more interactive tools, it is the first place people go when they are looking for experienced candidates and firms to hire. Therefore, if your LinkedIn profile is not up to date – make a commitment to update it soon.
Even if you’re not looking for a job at this moment, you may be in the future. Or, if you want to be considered a thought leader on a particular topic, you can tweak your profile so that you come up in searches when groups may be looking for speakers or contributors to journals.
If you’re in sales, this is a no brainer. LinkedIn is where you can network with others and develop business leads. Conversely if you are targeting a business, one of the first places someone will go to review your credentials is LinkedIn.
There is real Return on Investment (ROI) from having a great LinkedIn Profile for very little effort.
Resume on Steroids
If you think of LinkedIn as simply an online resume, you’re not maximizing some of the great opportunities to present yourself in the most comprehensive manner. For example, under your name you have the opportunity to list a title. If you simply enter in your current title, it can look something like this:
Director of Patient Services
I have no idea what a Director of Patient Services means to you. Instead, think of it as a headline and make it count.
Director of Patient Services | Behavioral Health Specialist | Specialize in Treating Autistic Adolescents
This title immediately tells people a lot more about you than just “Director of Patient Services” which could mean many different things to different people.
Here is where you really have the opportunity to show off. Your summary should be a highlight of accomplishments, publications, specialty areas, etc. Make this a very action oriented area. Use words like accomplished, developed, led, conceived, improved, designed, etc.
Your Summary is an area that you will probably update the most. If you took on a challenging project, added a new skill, or received a certification, add it to your LinkedIn profile.
I am constantly surprised at how many profiles have no photos. I am in a business development role and do a lot of meetings with people I have never met before. LinkedIn not only allows me to learn a little bit about their career path, but I also get to see what they look like so I'm not confused as I’m waiting for them to arrive for a meeting.
When you update your photo, please use a current headshot. While it doesn’t have to be taken by a professional, it should at least resemble what you look like today. Putting up your college graduation picture, if you graduated two decades ago, just makes you look silly. Hairstyles, clothing and even photo techniques have changed and it’s easy to tell when someone has an old photo up there.
Complete Your Profile
Once you finish completing your career information, don’t neglect other areas of your profile such as Skills and Expertise, Volunteer Positions, Interests and Hobbies.
People like to do business with people they like and with people like themselves. So if you’re competing for a coveted job opening and the only thing differentiating you from hundreds of other candidates is that you’re passionate about fly-fishing or Bruce Springsteen or basket weaving, one of these unique traits can set you apart and help you get the call.
There are many other features of LinkedIn that can help get you noticed as well. Endorsements, Recommendations, Published Articles, Groups. There are many more. Take some time to get to understand all the features LinkedIn offers and take advantage of them. This is your best and easiest opportunity to use social media to advance your career, build sales, make new friends and stay current on information you care about.
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