Good career management revolves around the ability to sell yourself. As a professional, you are a product and your next employer is going to buy that product. You must package it correctly. In today’s social media world, you need to fully embrace LinkedIn as a tool with which to sell yourself, not just during career transition, but also when you are gainfully employed. A career decision maker always wants to see you using this platform throughout your career. Here are the Top LinkedIn Tips For Career Management:
LinkedIn Tip #1. Create a profile
It amazes me how many people don’t use LinkedIn. If you don’t have a profile, in my professional opinion, you are committing career suicide. Make it striking. Make it powerful. Make it memorable. The profile is pageless and recently, LinkedIn have added, and are always adding, new tools to help you tell the world your story and shine a light on your career.
LinkedIn Tip #2. Connect
A tell-tale sign of your commitment to career management is the number of connections you have. If you have less than 100, a big red flag waves in front of me. If you have less than 500, that flag is smaller, but again tells me that you don’t connect frequently and most likely are off LinkedIn for extended periods of time. There are many ways to connect. Think of your peers at the company you worked for 10 or 15 years ago. Where are they now? They could, for all you know, be in a hiring position or willing to share leads. Don’t, however, go and connect with as many people as you can. It’s not a race. It’s quality over quantity. Strive to have 500+ connections and preferably, connect with three to five new people every week, even when employed. If in career transition, that figure should be three to five each day.
LinkedIn Tip #3. Key words
Executive recruiters, HR professionals and other decision makers use LinkedIn to source talent. They type specific, industry-related, functional key words pertinent to their search into their upgraded LinkedIn application. If you don’t have these key words in your profile, then simply, you are out of the running, and you have lost that opportunity. Ensure you have all the key words, buzz words, that are pertinent to you in your profile.
LinkedIn Tip #4. Headline
Make it impressive, make it stand out. You have 120 characters to generate a striking headline to sell yourself. If gainfully employed, you don’t want to be overt about your career ambitions. In career transition, you need to deliver a memorable message. Don’t put “seeking my next opportunity.” How about this? “I’m ready for my next marketing challenge where I can strengthen brand, drive profit, and increase revenue.” Treat this section as a newspaper headline designed to attract readership.
LinkedIn Tip #5. Persuasive summary
Below the headline, you can expand to 2,000 characters providing you the opportunity to cement, in a person’s mind, what a great business professional you are, highlighting your attributes and ambition. You need to stand out from hundreds of thousands of other people, telling a story of your achievements, passions, and career commitment.
LinkedIn Tip #6. Quantifiable achievements
Just as you did in your resume, you need to highlight your accomplishments using the English language to the maximum. Employers hire professionals who can deliver, succeed and learn. Preferably, under each position in your profile, there should be several performance driven stories with some facts and figures. Don’t leave the space under each job title vacant as it sends a negative vibe to someone on the hunt for talent. Plus, it reduces your Google rating.
LinkedIn Tip #7. Add your contact info
Firstly, customize your LinkedIn profile address. If you have numbers, letters, or a combination of both after your name, this is the default that LinkedIn provided you when establishing your profile. Remove these to look more professional, and Google will give you a 400% increase in its algorithm visits to your LinkedIn profile. Secondly, include your email, Twitter address and other means of contact in this section. Many are wary about including a telephone number and I hear you. But, during career transition, you need to provide a decision maker with the fastest and easiest way of speaking with you. Ensure your phone number is in the contact section while looking for a job. It’s up to you to decide if you want to keep it there after you have landed.
LinkedIn Tip #8. Photograph
A profile without a photograph raises concern and a red flag. Ensure you have a professional and up-to-date photograph, not a picture of you holding a fish from a recent fishing trip, or your baby or spouse. This is YOUR profile and yours only; a chance to relay a professional image. It’s not necessary to use a professional photographer in today’s world when cameras or smart phones take quality photos. A photograph on your profile also raises your Google ranking by 1,400%, therefore, the Google algorithms will view your profile more often and generate more visibility.
LinkedIn Tip #9. Seek recommendations
Hiring is a process where the organization wants to find the best talent. One of the red flags for decision makers, when reviewing your profile, is zero or few recommendations. The optimal number to heighten intrigue in you is five recommendations per job title. What should that look like? One from your boss, one from a peer lateral to you, one from an employee, one from a vendor/supplier, and finally, one from a customer. An add-on to these would be a classmate from a graduate or undergrad program. Life is all about giving too. So, you need to provide recommendations, and not just take. An equal number of received and given recommendations will increase your candidacy.
LinkedIn Tip #10. Use the media options
LinkedIn now allows you to post your resume as a file, publish articles, and display your videos. You will be surprised at how much extra traffic you receive as a result of embracing the media section.
LinkedIn Tip #11. Share
You need to portray, even when gainfully employed, that you are an authority in your field. Sharing blogs, publications, and newspaper articles provides you the opportunity of portraying your passion and your expertise, and offers decision makers more reasons to call you. If you have no activity either publishing or sharing on your LinkedIn profile, what message does that send an executive recruiter or HR professional?
LinkedIn Tip #12. Join pertinent groups
There are literally millions of groups on the LinkedIn platform. Join and become active in those groups. Target those groups for a purpose; don’t join just for the sake of it. These groups are a grandstand for you to initially introduce yourself to a defined audience who invariably have the same talents and industry expertise as you. When you introduce yourself to the group, deliver a striking message on who you are and what you are seeking. Group participation is important. You never know who may be watching you. They could be your next boss.
LinkedIn Tip #13. Follow companies
There are probably companies that you hold in high esteem where you would like to work. Follow those companies on LinkedIn. If you are in a job search mode, connect with the person who will be your boss or your boss’ boss. Initiate a conversation, but don’t overtly ask for a job. Start with networking and see how the conversation evolves.
LinkedIn Tip #14. Upgrade to a paid account
It’s not necessary to upgrade when you are gainfully employed, however, it is paramount that you upgrade to a paid account when looking for a new opportunity. The “bells and whistles” in the upgrades are highly beneficial to you, allowing for optimal use of LinkedIn features. This also indicates to an employer or executive recruiter that you are a serious user.
In summary, social media, and particularly LinkedIn, has made career management and job search a lot easier. Don’t rest on your laurels and think that a job will come to you because generally, they don’t. You must be proactive in selling yourself. Social media provides you the opportunity to portray to a global audience what a great business professional you are, and your candidacy for jobs.