A good friend recently asked me if having a LinkedIn profile was really necessary. What? Of course it is! That’s how I find and hire 90% of my external candidates! She didn’t want to be left out in the El Niño rain, did she? How could she not know that LinkedIn is the most amazing networking, career development and job search tool there is?! Oh. Yeah, wait. She’s a busy, dedicated professional out there actually working who probably doesn’t have the time to surf about on a social networking site.
However, upon further consideration of her question and the context in which she was reaching out, it made sense that she and others would ask that question. Not only is LinkedIn necessary, but how do you use it? What can be gained from putting up your current employment biography and a photo? What else could be gleaned from regular visitation and participation on LinkedIn? And, how is it that she and others don’t know this or use it daily?
So of course, I replied to her and told her about recruiter usage and a bit about key words/search terms. It wasn’t comprehensive at the time, as I was furiously typing back on my smart phone while in line for lunch. But really, here it is, the LinkedIn 4-1-1.
Networking and Job Searching. It’s not just another Social Media platform. Yes, LinkedIn by it’s nature is social; it allows members to post their own blogs, share relevant news articles and statistics, and to keep in touch with others. However it’s also an amazing work horse for those who take advantage of it’s simplest feature. Having a LinkedIn profile allows you to constantly be in front of and available to recruiters and hiring managers (whether you’re actively looking or not) for thousands of advancement opportunities. Imagine having a fire and forget professional biography, that with the right words, and the right engagement can have you always at the top of the search list, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – amazing, right? Interested yet?
Free Information. That’s right, you read that correctly. FREE. As in Zero Dollars. There are a multitude of professional groups and forums on LinkedIn that offer the opportunity to chat and post with others in your industry, career field and scope of influence. I am a member of forums that are specifically for employment law in other countries. I chat and converse with peers and with legal and tax professionals regularly to understand foreign labor law, get service referrals and share best practices for Human Resources management abroad by participating and contributing to the message boards and chat rooms in my groups.
But wait, there’s more!
Professional Development and Training. Through many of the groups I belong to, there are several businesses and entrepreneurs who are offering up opportunities to attend seminars and training for free to promote their service or product. They are legitimate development courses, and if you’re okay with a sales pitch or two during the seminars or web-ex presentations, it’s well worth your time and effort. Even if you’re not the gregarious contributor or online training type, you will still glean useful information and learn from simply reading the posts and topics in each group forum.
So how do you get set up with not only a LinkedIn profile?
- Visit LinkedIn and sign up for a profile.
- Upload a decent and recent photo, showing your face (sans sunglasses or hat).
- Write your short biography and include your relevant work history and a short summary of what you did in each position.
- Add your education history, skills and any hobbies
- Connect with those in your network and in your email contacts (this will be a step in the set up process)
- Join groups! Follow other people, especially those LinkedIn labels as “influencers“
- Log in daily and READ, visit your group forums, engage and post.
If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile, and want to spruce it up, consider adding more groups or participating with frequency on the message threads.
If you’re just not sure how to word your profile, need help with a profile picture or increasing your visibility online, visit my website and sign up for personalized and professional online profile makeover services.