Do you paint outside the lines with Linked In?
When you were a child, did you carefully color inside the lines or did your colors sometimes stray beyond the boundaries? There are so many guidelines and rules to remember when writing your resume (i.e. two page maximum, ATS requirements for strict formatting of dates of employment and its lack of forgiveness if any of those, largely unknown, rules are broken – “in the Block Hole” your resume goes).
But Linked In beckons our creative genius to unleash creative opportunities to tell our story and showcase our awesomeness to the world. Sadly, though, many Linked In profiles fall victim to the resume rut and
are, unfortunately, pretty boring rather than compelling a recruiter or hiring manager to read your whole profile and contact you for an interview.
Linked In, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways:
Brag a little, Boast a lot!
- Linked In is the perfect place for you to showcase your achievements, accomplishments and special experience. Do you have a patent? Probably not, but you may have earned recognition from peers and awards from your employer for the great things you have done. Don’t forget to complete the Honors & Awards section and even incorporate your achievements into your header. Who wouldn’t be interested to know how Bill attained “Top Sales Director in the Company for 12 consecutive years”
- Think about your most significant career achievement. Tonya, HR Manager, got several recruiters to call her when she added “Ask Me How I Reduced Turnover 21% and Saved My Company $1.3M in Training Costs” to her Header.
- Have you ever given a presentation or written a publication, even if only published in the company intranet ezine? Images, videos, power points saved to slideshare.com all can be embedded into your profile and I suggest you add to your Summary so the reader sees it at first glance.
- Do you like to share your knowledge or opinion in writing? Linked In offers you an option to write and upload a long Post, similar to an article or Blog. By adding attractive images, you increase your visibility and may be amazed at how many followers you acquire. It is the perfect platform to share your expertise and knowledge with others.
- And don’t forget projects. Whether for your career or on a volunteer basis, describe the skills you used, results and include others you worked with as long as they are linked in connections. Result? Increased visibility and credibility.
Back to Basics
I wholeheartedly encourage you to consider the above ways of promoting you and your Brand; however, be sure to not overlook these basics first.
- Finish Your Profile! No sense having Posts and fascinating Headers if your Experience section is blank. Fill out every section and Linked In will guide you towards the All Star status of completion.
- Join and PARTICIPATE in groups. Though you can join up to 50 groups, I recommend starting with ten which are very relevant to your career and industry and focusing your time on starting or adding to discussions of those groups. “Less is More: in this case rather than spreading yourself out and not having enough time to keep up with all the discussions. Contribute to the group regularly and frequently and soon you will be considered a thought leader,
- Keyword Optimization will help you get found by recruiters, hiring managers and colleagues. If uncertain how to start, search out people with job titles or experience similar to yours. Also, review job postings and include the keywords which stand out to you. Make sure those words and phrases are sprinkled (but not overused) throughout your profile (current job title, header, current and past experience). These are the words which recruiters look for when searching for active and passive job seekers. And don’t forget your linked in address (URL) can be customized to include the keywords. Now we’re talking Career Branding!
- Ask for and give Recommendations and Endorsements. Though Endorsements are relatively easy to obtain, Recommendations are your virtual references and are written by someone who knows your work; therefore, much more credibility is gained.
What suggestions do you have in order to gain a career advantage with Linked In? I encourage readers to share, comment or ask questions. Contact Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com for more information on how to incorporate your Linked In profile into a more successful job search strategy.
Photo credits: www.egyptianstreets.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com