LinkedIn is a social network that sometimes gets overlooked even by the heaviest internet users. This is a big mistake! So many professionals are now turning to LinkedIn as a primary source of information for job candidates. Some are even forgoing the traditional resume in favor of a LinkedIn profile. It may sound silly, but we really are living in a “digital age” and it’s critical that job candidates have a well-rounded online presence to accompany a solid resume.
Here are some tips on building and maintaining a great LinkedIn profile:
- Make sure that you fill in all of the fields. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people have incomplete profiles. You are doing yourself and potential employers a disservice by not showcasing all of your talents. This includes adding a professional photo of yourself.
- Re-vamp your Summary. So maybe you already have a LinkedIn profile that is all filled out. But when is the last time you have updated it? The summary is the first thing that people see when they go to your page. Keep it interesting and more importantly, current. Check out the Summary for your colleagues and friends to get ideas on how to be more creative with yours. Also consider listing some of your biggest accomplishments from the prior year.
- List your other accomplishments. LinkedIn doesn’t just have to be about your professional accomplishments. The site even provides a spot to list volunteer work and charitable contributions. You can also list professional groups that you belong to. Even hobbies could make the cut, if they are related to your current industry or a job that you are interested in getting. Employers are often more likely to hire people they perceive to be well-rounded.
- Connect with others. There are several ways to connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. You can follow companies or individuals. You can interact with people who are already in your network by offering endorsements. Hopefully they will return the favor and endorse some of your skills, as well. Another way is through belonging to a LinkedIn Group. There are some unwritten rules to LinkedIn Groups but if you use them correctly, LinkedIn Groups are a great way to make connections and positions yourself as an industry leader. If employers see that you are actively engaging with others in your field, this could reflect well on you as an applicant.
- Double check your spelling and grammar. Again, this may seem like something that goes without saying…but you would be surprised at the errors that are easy to find in many profiles. Take advantage of spell check. Have a friend or co-worker who is good with grammar read over your profile. You need an outside pair of eyes to make sure that everything that you have included makes sense.
LinkedIn can be a powerful personal marketing tool, if you treat it as such. It’s a good idea to check in at least a few times per week, more if you are actively seeking employment. This way, you can see any important updates, new endorsements, or articles that are relevant to your field. By keeping up a strong online presence, you make yourself an even better job candidate.