Tuesday, December 2, 2014

7 Effective LinkedIn Strategies

Over the past decade, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular business networking tools online. Millions of people worldwide tune in to connect with professionals in a variety of fields, and to hopefully have a potential employer lay eyes on their profile. With so many well-qualified candidates out in the world of LinkedIn, it can be hard to know what to do to make your profile stand out. For those of you looking for a way to spruce up your profile, here are a few simple tips:

1. Choosing the right profile picture:

Your profile picture will most likely be the first thing a viewer looks at when they log on to your profile, so it's important to make sure that it is well chosen. Ideally, your profile picture should be a current headshot (above waist) of you, standing against a blank or neutral background. It should capture you dressed for the job you want –appropriate attire, and good posture. Try to keep your appearance simple; you will want to avoid distracting clothes, jewelry and make-up, as these will take away from the main attraction -- YOU! Don't forget to smile :)

2. Be honest:

An honest description will attract the employers that are the best fit for you. Getting a job interview on the foundation of a lie is not a good way to start an employer-employee interaction. Fabricating experiences is a big no-no

3. Summarize it:

The summary section near the top of your profile is where potential employers will go to get a quick overview of what you're all about before they decide if they should read on. Here, it will be important to include the position title and/or industry that you see yourself in, highlight the experiences and skills you've gained, and briefly talk about any other special attributes you possess that make you suitable for the industry you’re targeting. It is important to use simple, searchable key words in this section. Look at a few of the job postings you're interested in to figure out the significant words that they've used, and subtly incorporate these terms into your summary as well. This way when these words are searched, they will be connected back to you.

4. The little details:

It is important to share your experience in a detailed but concise manner. To make a good impression, it would be useful to add industry-related words. Be sure to fill in all of the sections that you can as well. Important sections that are often underrated include: volunteer experiences, projects, certifications, and languages.  Many people don't realize that all of these areas combined, add a level of well roundedness and personality to your profile.

5. Endorsements and recommendations: 

Use the "Skills & Expertise" section of your profile as a way to make use of potential endorsements. These endorsements give creditability to your word and will also provide potential employers with a general sense of your professional identity through a combination of your most endorsed skills.

Likewise, recommendations from people you have worked with also give your words credibility and meaning. Ask your co-workers to write up a short review for you when they have the time, or start by writing one for them and ask them to reciprocate.

6. Media:

Reading can be mentally exhausting after a long day, but pictures and videos capture our attention in a fun and easy way. Media can enhance your profile, making it more unique and more interesting. Sometimes seeing a picture or video of the experience you've had fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of an experience or position than a written description.

7. Connect:

Networking is what LinkedIn is all about, so make sure to connect with all the people you work with day-to-day, because this could very possibly lead to a useful ‘2nd degree’ connection down the line. Another great way to get connected is to join groups because this gives you access to a web of professionals and resources associated to your interests.

Be sure to stop by the AA&CC (AC213) for more information about our LinkedIn workshops, or to book a Career Counselling appointment for even more tips!

Until next time,
Rajani Sellathurai

Resources used in this post:

About.com, 9 Simple Tips to Make a Better LinkedIn Profile:

Forbes, 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won't Tell you:

Huffington Post, 8 Secrets to Building a Stunning LinkedIn Profile:

LinkedIn, Creating a Killer LinkedIn Profile:

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