While most social media these days is focused on relaying the latest dramas or posting play-by-play images of meals, LinkedIn is the exception.
LinkedIn is solely focused on your career. Providing both an online resume, a legitimate networking platform and recruitment platform all in one, it can really make or break your job search efforts so it's important to put in the extra time to really hone your profile into an exceptional, professional example.
Fill in everything
There's nothing more dull or uninspiring that a barely there profile. Your page should be a live reflection of your history and your progression as you move through your career. There are a number of fields to fill in and the widget effectively fills it out for you if you give it a little bit to go on.
A gripping Headline - a tagling to sum you up in several words - make them exceptional!
Summary - a little note to sum up your accomplishments, things you're particularly proud of or a glimpse of your personality.
Education, Work Experience - note what qualifications you've gained, what work experience you did to support the qualifications, what jobs you've had and how you've grown through them up the ranks. The point is to show progression, show your learnings, it's like learning Math is school - the answer isn't the most important part, you need to show your work, how you got there.
Recommendations - get friends, clients and coworkers to recommend you and to endorse your skillset to gain additional merit on your profile.
Contact information - link your websites, portfolios, particularly great presentations - anything that supports your resume and history here.
Just like a blog, you have a space to post updates. It's also important to share updates, other people's posts, comment or like other posts etc as a way of crafting your personal brand, creating some authority behind your profile photo and networking online. This isn't however a place for personal photos and boozy nights out - this is your professional persona, everything you post should reinforce that version of you. Make sure that your profile benefits from these updates too - everytime you gain a new skill, qualification or job, remember to add it to your profile so people can see your progression.
Networking in real life is hard, online is much easier. Join in conversations, request to connect with those who you feel would be good people to know and associate with, people who support your career goals. Join in communities related to your career and goals.
Feeling confident? start your own groups and discussions, ask to connect in real life too rather than just profile to profile. .
Your Profile Photo
This one is a biggie. Your profile photo shouldn't be your Facebook profile photo. You're not here to show your hottest selfie or your cat caught in an hilarious position, this is your career, your personal brand. Your profile photo here should be professional. It doesn't need to be stiff, after all it should show a bit of who you are. It depends on your industry. If you're a banker or C-Suite exec, a suited and booted picture is going to suit best, if you're a creative though, you get a little more free reign, wear something a bit sassy but still conservative and professional. Ladies, no drunken photos, short skirts, cleavage, tattoos or facial piercings. It should go without saying, but unless you are a tattoo artist, celebrity or piercing model, it's just not appropriate for LinkedIn.
Have fun with it. Your resume is so limited that you're rarely afforded the opportunity to show your personality, your achievements or your passion for a certain role. LinkedIn is the place to expand on that, or a personal website as we discussed in our previous post. Make your profile an accurate reflection of you and all your skills and strengths out on display in all their glory!