From the beginning, LinkedIn established itself as the social media site for making professional connections. If used correctly, LinkedIn can help you find that elusive dream job you’ve been looking for or attract new clients to your business. LinkedIn is such a powerful job search and marketing tool that people like Jason Alba dedicate much of their time to teaching others how to leverage it effectively.
Presentation is everything, even in a LinkedIn profile. So, be careful what kind of photo you choose. Some people leave the photo section blank. Others use photos of places or logos. That’s all right, but most people like it when they can put a face with a name, especially if they plan to do business face to face. If you do decide to add a personal photo to your profile, make sure it’s something appealing. Avoid using a photo from last summer’s vacation in Cancun, unless it’s something that can be cropped down to a headshot that’s as large as a standard studio headshot.
Focus your profile summary and work history so that they reflect what you do or want to do. So, if you’re a former administrative assistant who’s pursuing a career as a writer, your summary and work history should focus more on the writing-related skills and accomplishments you’ve amassed. For example, if you helped create a monthly newsletter for a previous employer, mention this in your summary, especially if your content often received positive feedback from readers. The keywords you use should make it easy for people looking for writers to find you, rather than people looking for administrative assistants.
Make your summary interesting and conversational. It’s not a cover letter. Use the summary in your LinkedIn profile to tell a professional story about yourself. Talk about accomplishments, such as when something you suggested was used by an employer and saved the company thousands of dollars. If you’re changing careers and don’t have a lot of past experiences to share, you could share accomplishments from your previous career that would be relevant to employers in any industry, such as soft skills. Everyone’s looking for a good leader, so if you have demonstrated excellent leadership ability, share it in your LinkedIn summary. You get about 2,000 characters (that’s words and spaces), so make the most of them and allow people to see the real you.
Everybody needs references. On LinkedIn, they’re called recommendations. Get as many as you can. Sometimes, the best way to get a recommendation from someone else is by recommending him first. It always feels good when someone publicly talks about what a good job you’ve done, and most people will reciprocate without being asked.
Although LinkedIn is a social media website, it is also an excellent job search and marketing tool. Taking the time to create a profile that is rich with the right kinds of keywords, bears an appealing photo and has an engaging summary could quickly prove to be time well spent.
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