LinkedIn can be an effective tool for job hunting, networking with like-minded professionals and opening doors that may have not opened otherwise. Of all the social media platforms, it ranks third in users, just behind Facebook and Twitter. With nearly 400 million users, it is important to utilize your profile to stand out and showcase your unique abilities and talents to potential employers. With some homework and preparation, you can build a strong LinkedIn presence:
- Have a professional profile photo. Just by having a photo on your profile, you’re 11 times more likely to be viewed. But save the selfies for Instagram and opt to have a friend snap this photo. Dress professionally and look your best since this will be the first impression recruiters have of you, even before reading your dazzling profile info.
- Do your research. Before you start filling out all those text boxes on your profile, take some time to research what other users have done in the same career field. Find out which titles and descriptions are used the most and utilize them. Recruiters use key words to wade through piles of profiles, so optimize your profile with those words to grab their attention.
- Fill out your profile. All of it. While some consider LinkedIn just to be their online resume, it’s better to consider it a chance to take your resume to the next level. With LinkedIn, you aren’t limited to a single page of career history. Expand upon previous job duties, list your skills and strengths, boast your achievements, awards and volunteer work. Entice recruiters with a charming summary that paints a full picture of who you are as a person and a professional.
- Post examples. Recently, LinkedIn has begun to offer users the opportunity to post pictures, videos and links to samples of their work. If you are a chef, post pictures that’ll make a foodie drool. If you’re a blogger, attach a link to your blog (and you might get even more readers). Post the PowerPoint presentation you spent weeks creating or the rousing speech that took a month to write. Potential employers will gravitate to those who have concrete examples of their craftsmanship.
- Ask for recommendation from your connections. A recommendation can go a long way to potential employers. Ask previous co-workers and supervisors to write a short blurb praising your work ethic and achievements. If you don’t seem to have luck in asking someone to write a recommendation, try writing a few for others instead; oftentimes they will return the favor.
- Join a group. Groups are a great opportunity to network outside of your personal social circle and connect with like-minded professionals across the world. If you are looking to break into a new field, this is a chance to ask experts what credentials and skills to pursue. When job hunting, group members may offer new connections or suggestions you wouldn’t have found on your own.
Heart of Florida United Way is dedicated to changing lives for the better by helping families and individuals gain access to resources they need to stay afloat and succeed financially. For more information about Heart of Florida United Way’s efforts to improve employment and financial stability in Central Florida, visit www.HFUW.org.