LinkedIn has been an absolute boon for job seekers, for 3 key reasons:
Professional brand – It allows job seekers to be able to publish their professional brand online and to ensure this becomes their ‘landing page’ for social media. In other words, if I want to find you, I can search for you and will (hopefully) land on your LinkedIn profile.
Facilitates networking – LinkedIn gives visibility – and therefore potential introductions – to people you don’t know, but who work in organisations you’d like to work for. In essence, you use your 1st degree connections as a ‘conduit’ for introductions to others.
Jobs – Lots of great jobs are posted on LinkedIn, and in many ways it’s becoming the major online job board in the market.
Bottom-line: You need to have a LinkedIn profile as part of your job search armory. Not just in job search but, it’s also great when you are employed to obtain information, develop business and generally just to stay ‘in touch’ with business colleagues.
It stands to reason that you need a ‘complete’ LinkedIn profile. Not only does this ensure you can be more easily found, but it also creates the right impression when people view your profile. For example, if I am meeting someone, I generally take a look at their profile, albeit briefly, prior to meeting them. This gives me a ‘virtual first impression’ ahead of meeting them and we all know the value of first impressions…
So, what are the 5 things you absolutely must have as part of your LinkedIn profile?
A professionally taken, head and shoulders profile picture – We are human beings and we suss each other out. If I see a picture on your LinkedIn profile that’s better suited to Facebook, I may come away with a skewed perception of who you are. If I see you partying hard with your arm around a friend, I’ll think you enjoy a good time, but that’s not necessarily the impression you want to convey professionally. In short, dress as if you are going to interview (or dress appropriately for your profession or job), look into the camera, SMILE, ensure the picture is well-lit and has a clear background.
A descriptive and high-impact headline – When we are not working, we no longer have a job title or company name to describe who we are (e.g. Widget Maker, Smith Manufacturing). Please don’t use ‘Seeking next opportunity’ as this sounds desperate and needy and is not a headline…Instead use something that describes you professionally. For example, ‘Commercially-oriented Human Resources Business Partner with diverse industry experience’, or ‘General Manager with regional exposure in Cloud-related technology’. Whatever, you use, it has to describe YOU!
A compelling summary of who you are and what you offer – If you want people to read your profile, you need to grab and hold their attention with your summary. A good rule of thumb is to describe you are are professionally, give a flavour of some industries and companies you’ve worked for, showcase your expertise in your profession or industry and add some key strengths that differentiate you as a manager or employee. One or two brief paragraphs is perfect.
A brief description of what you did in each of your roles going back around 10 years – Beyond 10 years, it’s ancient history in professional terms. I suggest to my clients that they limit their input to the size of the text box LinkedIn provides for each role. All you need to add is a broad overview of your responsibilities and one or two significant achievements (e.g. ‘In this role I did A, B and C and a key achievement in the role was….’).
Recommendations from others who can validate your professional skills and value – Reach out to ex-managers, key stakeholders, external suppliers and anyone who can speak positively about your work. LinkedIn only shows 2 recommendations per job and the first 3 lines of each of these recommendations, so make these ‘third party validations’ count.
If you’d like assistance in developing a great LinkedIn profile that will support your job search efforts, contact The Career Medic. Similarly, for assistance with resumes, interviewing and networking skills, The Career Medic can help.
The Career Medic – Taking the worry out of job search for the over 40s.