Gone are the days when a well-written CV and a good interview are sufficient to catch a dream job. Today, employers are increasingly turning to online social networks to both find and research potential new employees. Even if your job has little to do with the internet, you’ll need to find a smart way to present a coherent picture of yourself – both online and offline. Here’s how.
A picture is worth a thousand words
You don’t necessarily need a formal business shot for your LinkedIn profile, but you do need to pay attention to the image you’re portraying. Cut down on distracting props, pets or other people in the photograph and make sure you have a tightly cropped, clear image of your (ideally smiling) face.
Tell a story
In your background/summary section, a good tip is to begin with your name on the very first line to make it easier for people to find your profile, even if you’re not connected to them. Unlike a traditional CV, you can then weave a compelling narrative of your profession. Try to convey as quickly as possible what your personal brand and vision is, to let visitors know exactly what you’re all about.
It’s social media – so be sociable
LinkedIn profiles offer you the chance to show a bit more of what makes you tick. Use the first person (“I manage…”, “I studied” etc.) and don’t be afraid to endorse others and encourage them to endorse you. A busy and active profile is much more appealing than a dead one with few contacts.
More is more
LinkedIn profiles fortunately don’t have to be brief, like CVs. You can belong to as many as 50 groups, so take full advantage and try to network with other relevant professionals. Make sure each and every section is filled out in as much detail as possible. Include dates, titles, and other people you’ve worked with.
A LinkedIn profile is not static and should grow as you do. First, make sure that your qualifications and skills are written in active tense, and include plenty of verbs. Explain your responsibilities and the results you achieved, rather than just listing your job title. Be sure to update your profile with every achievement and make sure you keep information up to date.
Don’t be shy
Many people balk at the idea of asking outright for a recommendation on their profile, but a well-written endorsement on the front of your LinkedIn profile can be gold in the eyes of curious employers. Politely approach people you’ve worked with in the past and ask them to write a few words for you. Most people are more than happy to be flattering – and you can offer to return the favour.
The biggest mistake is to think of a LinkedIn profile as nothing more than an online CV. But LinkedIn is a platform with many unique features that will definitely garner you some attention if you take the time to use them correctly. Dedicate a few hours to fine-tuning your profile and you might be surprised at who it connects you with.