Some of my LinkedIn workshop attendees have told me they were encouraged to join LinkedIn because LinkedIn is the answer to their job search. I cringe when I hear this because what they were told is only partly true.
Being on LinkedIn will increase your chance of getting a job, but it isn’t a guarantee, especially if you don’t understand what it takes to be successful on LinkedIn.
I tell my workshop attendees their LinkedIn strategy involves 1) creating a presence, e.g. your profile, 2) connecting with others, and 3) being active. Without all three, your LinkedIn campaign will crash and burn.
Creating a presence. Let me make this easy for jobseekers who are starting their LinkedIn campaign. Leverage what you’ve already created, your professional résumé, by copying and pasting it to your profile. However, don’t stop there. After doing this you need to revise it to reflect a networking document.
Many pundits have written about how to create a powerful profile, so I’ll simply outline the necessary components:
Your Snapshot area is where you capture readers’ attention with your quality photo and branding headline. Don’t waste this area with a poorly done photo and a headline that simply states your title at your previous job. Both your photo and headline can brand you–a photo that shows you’re a professional and a headline that states your strong areas of expertise.
Let’s not forget how your headline can contribute to the keyword count. These are the skills recruiters/hiring managers/HR type into Search. Having the proper keywords and more instances of them will rank you higher and, consequentially, garner more visitors.
Make your Summary worth reading by writing it in first- or third-person point of view; include some Wow statements; and express your passion for what you do. You’re allowed 2,000 characters for your Summary, so use them all. This will allow you to tell your story, as well as give you more space for those ever important keywords. For more on this, read 4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary.
Your Experience section can resemble your Work History from your résumé or you can simply highlight the accomplishments. I favor the latter, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so showing all is the way to go, duties included. One of the areas weighed heavily for keywords is the position’s title. You’re not limited to your title; you can add some areas of strength as well.
Ex. Project Manager | Budget | Lean Six Sigma | Cost Reduction | Leadership
The Media section is where your profile can be really dynamic. I tell my workshop attendees that it’s their online portfolio. There are a number of different media you can include in your Summary, Experience, and Education sections. On mine I share PowerPoint presentations and a link to my blog. Others, like my valued connection Anton Brookes, have YouTube videos and/or documents.
Your Education is more than what you include on your résumé. It allows…or rather encourages you to expound on your degree and/or training. Along with the traditional information–college or university, dates attended (optional), GPA (also optional)–you’re given the option to include Activities and Societies, as well as Description.
Next we’ll look at the second of three components necessary for a successful LinkedIn campaign, connecting with other LinkedIn members.