[WARNING: With a mother like mine, I had a resume when I was eleven. I may be a little bit of a know-it-all here]
So you want a job. Great. The question you are going to have to answer in every employer’s mind is “why should I hire you?”
Fortunately for you, LinkedIn is a great tool to answer just that. If you don’t already know, LinkedIn is an electronic resume platform – the “professional Facebook”. People create resumes, post job and internship openings, and make company profiles on the social media site. For personal pages, LinkedIn rates your profile based on your updates and how beefy your profile is.
How do you beef up a profile page to make it “all-star” level? See the steps below:
1. Get started: if you haven’t made one before, for shame. It is easy, however, to sign up for a free LinkedIn account. In my experience, you really don’t need premium if you use the free version well.
2. Make an interesting summary statement. Here is where all of that “online branding” comes into play. Notice how some of the strongest brand statements are also the shortest? Just do it. That’s the power of the Home Depot. Is it in you? Make a relatively short statement about who you are as a brand.
3. Fill out contact information. Make it superly-duperly easy for an employer to contact you. Put full name, email, phone, address, website, Twitter, whatever. Keep it to what you are comfortable with – I didn’t add an address, but added just about everything else.
4. Fill out as many other sections as you can. LinkedIn gives you bragging sections for awards, publications, projects, experience, languages, volunteer experience, and more. Use them. Don’t be shy – LinkedIn doesn’t follow the “one page” rule that printed resumes do.
5. Put things under the appropriate heading. Are all of the things under “experience” really best under experience? I had an unpaid social media internship for a few months, but didn’t clutter up my experience section with it; rather, I put it under Volunteering Experiences & Causes because it was for military appreciation at http://www.browardnavydaysinc.org/. It also beefed up what could be considered a wimpy volunteering section, putting relevant professional details under this heading.
6. That being said, don’t get too obscure with your additions. Make sure you have relevant experience to the field you want to go into. I was a babysitter from about eleven to seventeen, but you do not see that on my profile. I still have an all-star profile without my years of “childcare”. Avoid fluff to keep your profile interesting.
7. Add multimedia to the sections. I am currently working on this, too. Does the company you work for or have worked for have a website? Better yet, do they have a section detailing what you or your team did? Add the URL! Is there a video on YouTube somewhere about your work? Add it! Photos? Presentations? Do you have an, ehem, blog? Add the link! Do you have a professional Twitter? Add the handle! Google likes links, so use ‘em.
8. Connect with people based on value, not on numbers. Yes, it is impressive to see a profile of someone with 500+ connections. But do not let the Facebook mentality muddy up your LinkedIn – quality over quantity any day. Why? A potential employer may reach out to a connection of yours to ask for a recommendation. If they don’t know you they are not going to make you look so hot, right? Make sure just about everyone in your connections can speak well of you.
9. Ask for recommendations for specific positions. If you had an internship at an awesome company, ask one of your colleagues or bosses to write a recommendation for you in that position. If they fill it out for you correctly, the position in LinkedIn will read: title, company, dates, description, and (number) recommendation(s). It looks pretty darn good to have multiple for one position.
10. A great way to drive recommendations is to recommend others. You may find it cold, but reciprocity is alive and well in LinkedIn. If you want your past supervisor to recommend you, brag on them a bit. They may do it without asking as a thank you for the great recommendation. I have gotten two recommendations from this so far, and have given some from people who gave me one.
11. Change the URL to something you can remember, and put it on your business card. In “How to Become a Networking Ninja,” I mentioned how you should put your LinkedIn URL on your business card (see https://taylynbrown.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/ow-to-become-a-networking-ninja/). You need to make sure it isn’t linkedin.com/in/taylor56748lynne889938brown4372, or else nobody is going to write it down in the URL box off your card. I changed mine to linkedin.com/in/taylynbrown. Same alias as my blog, Gmail, Twitter, aaaaaand LINKEDIN! To change yours to something you can remember, go to “edit profile”, and under your picture and your contact info you should see your profile URL. Next to it, click “edit” and get one that isn’t taken.
I wish you luck on your LinkedIn journey!
Have a tip not included above? Comment it! Lovin’ the sharing of information over the internet.
Food for thought.
- How to Make a LinkedIn Profile That Will Actually Help You Get a Job (thebillfold.com)
- LinkedIn is Not Only a Social Network, but an Invaluable Business Tool, and Here Study Breaks College Media Provides Must-Read Tips for Best Optimizing LinkedIn Profiles (prweb.com)
- 5 simple rules every LinkedIn user should follow. (oldpeoplenewtechnology.wordpress.com)
- The 12 tips to using LinkedIn more effectively (brennagimler1.wordpress.com)