Most job seekers have heard or been told they should be on LinkedIn, but are not aware of how it can help you sell yourself. You should put some effort into your profile besides simply filling in the blanks. It should not be a regurgitation of your resume. It is a tool for you to sell yourself. The tips below will help you get started.
1. Make sure it’s public – I can’t tell you how many profiles I see everyday that are not public. Why do you create a profile on LinkedIn and make it private? If there is a reason to do this, please share with me because I don’t get it. If you don’t want anyone to contact you, then you should set your contact setting to reflect that.
2. Make sure it’s current - Your LinkedIn profile is just like your resume in that it is a living document. Don’t fill it out and forget about it. You should keep tweaking it as things change. Please don’t try to fool everyone and pretend you still have a job when you don’t. There is no shame being without a job. Plus, sometimes recruiters are looking for contractors. If you appear you are employed, they probably won’t contract you for contract jobs.
Make sure the email address you use is not a work email. If you lose access to an email account, you will not be able to update
your profile. Keep the email address current and check it on a regular basis.
3. Use keywords – The more keywords you have in your profile, the greater the likelihood of a recruiter finding your profile. Do I need to say more? For a refresher article on keywords, read this http://www.hireaustin.org/2009/07/the-importance-of-keywords-in-your-resume/
4. Fill out your profile completely – Use the summary and skills section to sell yourself – This is a great place to highlight your strengths, skills, and interests. Since this is at the top of the profile, it will be the first area recruiters will read. Make them want to keep reading! Don’t make it too long, but include areas you want to be noticed. Some people use this as a summary area for skills. The more keywords, the better!
5. Public Profile Link - Make sure your public profile is your name and use it everywhere. Don’t’ use the default URL. Your URL should include your name. For example, mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/terribishop. Put the URL in your signature in all your emails, on your business card, and your resume. The more people that see you and your skills, the more chances you have of connecting with someone who might help you.
6. Include your picture – Having your picture helps people remember you. This helps in face to face networking. Use a professional photograph. With the abundance of digital cameras these days, get a friend to take a picture for you. The picture should include just you, not your dog, your car, or your family.
Take a look at your LinkedIn profile now while these tips are fresh in your mind. Ask one of your contacts what they think? Honestly! Offer to trade suggestions with someone else and their profile. Be prepared to do some work. Is it worth your time? What do you think?