By: Michael Fleming
LinkedIn has often been referred as the social media tool that is very valuable, but often rarely used. Personally, I never thought anything of it. I had my profile up to date, a few recommendations, and a sizeable amount of connections, but it never appealed to me until I had to search for a job. Until I needed it, I didn’t know the true value of LinkedIn.
In order to reach the full potential of LinkedIn your profile has to be complete and up to date. A few simple tips can mean the difference between a solid profile that can lead you to a new job, or a missed opportunity. Below I have outlined several things that you can do (and continue to do) that will enable you to take full advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer.
1. PROFILE PICTURE
As one of the largest visual elements on LinkedIn, your profile picture has to grab people’s attention. It is time to hang up your college years and replace the old party profile photos of years past. Since LinkedIn gears towards professionals, your profile picture has to mirror your intended audience.
In the photo, you want to be easily recognizable and give a great first impression. Please dress professional, take the photo in a well-lit area and have fun with it. It is important to show a little personality without goofing off too much.
2. STAY CONNECTED
LinkedIn is all about connections and it is important to stay current with each connection. On occasion, or after industry events, it is important to find others on LinkedIn and keep the conversation going.
LinkedIn is also a hotbed for high-level CEOs, Companies and News Organizations that often post interesting articles. This is a perfect opportunity to stay connected with the industry and the world around us.
It is also important to keep current with your connections. People often switch jobs and meet new people, so you may never know when that information may come in handy one day.
3. JOIN GROUPS
The ability to join groups has transformed LinkedIn to become much more than just a virtual resume. Features like groups and company pages allow people to stay connected and up to date on the latest ideas and products.
Joining a group allows like-minded people to connect over a passion or company. Thanks to social media, we are seeing a shift from industry experts to more of a community of users who understand each other’s challenges and can provide relevant information. Having online groups also allow users from all across the world to connect instantly. We are no longer seeing small tribes of local people, but a worldwide community helping each other.
When applying for a job, taking a few minutes to research the company’s LinkedIn (or any other social media) profile can give you a better understanding of the company culture. Using this information in a job interview could show that you have done your research and show the company you care enough to spend a few minutes researching not just the job, but the company as well.
4. FILL OUR YOUR PROFILE COMPLETELY
The great thing about this online profile is that you can constantly update it and add information. Adding job descriptions allows people searching your resume to easily understand what the job entailed and also to give your profile more searchable key words.
In addition, adding awards and skills will round out your resume and will paint a better picture to the intended audience. Also, don’t forget to add your headline below your name. The headline is your first description that people will see when searching for you. Make sure it describes you and your current position.
5. GIVE AND RECEIVE
Lastly, start the conversation, ask questions, and keep yourself engaged on LinkedIn. The more often you start a conversation and connect with someone the more likely they will connect back with you. This is a great tool at your fingertips and it is important to keep the conversation going.
Over the past year, people have been discussing the “pay it forward” movement. It usually happens at a fast food window or a Starbucks where the person in front pays for the person behind them. I believe social media can replicate this concept as well. Pay your friends forward by giving them a recommendation, endorsement or posting an article they will like. The ability to spread information at an instant is amazing and it is our job to give the people around us the information and tools needed to better their lives.
As with other Social Media sites, your LinkedIn profile will develop over time and continue to grow the more time you put into it. Like a well-pressed suit your social media outlets have to look sharp, well groomed and professional. Take the time to put your best information online and treat this as an extension of your traditional resume.