Tapping into the networking world of LinkedIn
In the world of business, connections mean everything. We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, with LinkedIn, it is a bit of both. The connections you make now in current jobs may help pave the way toward new, exciting opportunities and/or careers. And, when a tough situation comes along, such as loss of employment, you can be certain that your network will be who you will count on for your next job. In fact, an Adler Group survey back in February 2016 stated that 65-75% of job seekers found their next job through networking (only 10% found a job on a job board). Here are some other interesting stats to consider from LinkedIn (LI):
- 93% Employers Have Used LI
- 89% Hiring Managers Have Used LI to Hire
- 94% Recruiters Used LI to Vet Candidates
- Executives from all Fortune 500 Are on LI
- 90 of Fortune 100 are on LI
Even books for job-seekers such as What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Bolles, which has been in print since 1970, has dedicated a chapter to LinkedIn.
So you’ve followed the trend and you created your LinkedIn profile…now what? Here are some useful tips on how to get the most from your LinkedIn page.
Customize Your URL
When you initially create your LinkedIn profile, you end up with a long URL which consists of your name followed by a series of numbers. It’s a link only someone with a photographic memory will remember. This is easily fixable. Just move your cursor over Profile on the top left and click Edit Profile. Scroll down below your profile picture and move your cursor to the right of the URL and a little gear icon will appear. Click the gear and in the upper right you will see Your public profile URL. Click on the pen icon to the right of your URL and then you can customize your URL. Keep in mind, LinkedIn is supposed to be for business professionals, so having URLs such as http://www.linkedin.com/MyLittleBooBooKitty isn’t the best idea. Keep it simple and professional. A simple, URL can gain you more visibility and help enhance your personal brand. Once your new URL is ready, don’t hesitate to put it at the top of your resume.
Make Your Photo Count
People like to put a face to the name. Make sure your profile has a clear photo of you. Potential employers are seven times more likely to view a profile with a photo. And, please, don’t post that photo of you wearing that goofy hat from the party, or posing with a bunch of friends, or in front of a cluttered or busy background. Your profile photo should be you looking your best and don’t be afraid to smile. People are more drawn to a happy face. Keep clothes conservative, business casual, with no overly bright or dark colors, or shirts with sayings or team logos. Your photo should display how you want your next boss to see you. There are even some sites like Photofeeler.com where people can rank the quality of your photos. Not a great site for the thin-skinned, but a great place to find out if you’ve choose a winning shot.
Complete Your Profile
Similar to your resume, your LinkedIn profile should tell people the essential skills you have that drives you apart from other job candidates. One difference is that on LinkedIn you can write your profile in first person. But, before a potential employer even gets to your previous job experience and education, there are two other crucial areas of your profile that must shine bright; your Headline and your Summary.
Your Headline is your personal brand. List the functions and specialties that make you the valuable employee that you are. For example:
Getting Data & Insights To Work @LinkedIn Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Quantum Physicist, Author
Now, though most won’t be able to list quantum physicist as a job title, you still have excellent qualities to highlight the best of you with awesome, searchable keywords. You should avoid using certain symbols such as “&” and “/” in your Headline, as it may affect a keyword search. The Headline will also include you current and previous employers and educational institutions you attended.
The Summary is the highlighted information that you would include in a cover letter. It usually covers four areas: Profession, Skills, Environments and Strengths.
Give a detailed description of your job title in present tense. If you are a vice president, for example, don’t just say “I am the vice president at PepsiCo.” Rather, “I am the vice president of PepsiCo’s distribution division and I lead a team 65 employees and two managers…”
Skills should include all the expertise you have in a particular area and any certifications or training you have completed.
List all types of organizations such as Fortune 500, non-profit or government agencies that you have worked for and, also, if you were part of a small group, large group or an entrepreneurial environment at any time.
What makes you unique from the other candidates with your skill set? Maybe you have a great temperament, are a problem solver or have specialty computer skills that gives you an edge. What makes you marketable?
Become a recognizable person in the feeds of your connections. Post comments in the update section that highlights your skills and write some more in-depth articles detailing subjects where you have expertise. Make sure you add a great photo to compliment your article.
Like and comment on other people’s posts and recognize their skills as well by endorsing them at the bottom of their profile. This may encourage others to return the favor and endorse you. Just make sure you list the skills you most want to see endorsements for at the top.
Under the Interests tab at the top you can pick companies you are interested in and follow them. You can also join Groups. Groups are where people gather to talk about subjects of common interest. So if you are into digital marketing, find a group on digital marketing where you can share your knowledge and learn and comment on other people’s posts as well.
Engaging with others is a great way to get noticed, gain connections and network. There are also groups dedicated to job seekers.
If you are looking for work or to change careers, consider investing in LinkedIn Premium. It cost $29.99 a month, but it just might be worth it. With the Premium package you can see a full list of who has viewed your profile. If a potential employer or recruiter has viewed your profile, it shows that there is already some interest in your skills. Premium allows you to use InMail to send messages to people even if you are not connected with them. This can be a good way to reach out to recruiters and human resource personnel. Just make sure you use the etiquette approach and don’t just ask for a job. Introduce yourself and give some information about what you do and the skills you have. You may get some feedback on current job openings and how to apply.
In addition, you can search jobs by salary and get a more detailed advanced job searches to help narrow down to exactly what you are looking for. But, one of the biggest advantages to paying for the Premium service is access to IN Learning courses. Learn WordPress, Social Media Marketing, Art Direction, Graphic Design and so much more with online course you can complete at your convenience.
Improve your profile, engage, hone your skills and whether your goal is to increase your network, change careers or find a job in your realm, you will be on the right track.
Lee Hecht Harrison – Advanced LinkedIn