Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Job Searching on LinkedIn? Really?

Many people know that having a LinkedIn presence is an important networking and job seeking strategy, but, if you spend any time perusing profiles, it becomes evident that many people do not understand how LinkedIn works. LinkedIn is not a magic bullet for securing a good job. LinkedIn, like any other job search tool, is only as good as you make it. Job seekers, like all of the other professionals on the site, need to have and share work related information on their LinkedIn profile. Unfortunately, most fall drastically short of presenting themselves in the best light.

Sell Yourself
LinkedIn is only a tool. When people look at your profile, they only see the information you have provided. If you cannot provide a polished, succinct and well written representation of your experience, abilities and education; why would any potential employer be interested in you? Know that if you aren’t impressed, potential employers and/or hiring managers won’t be either. "Nobody will think you are somebody if you don't think so yourself." [African-American proverb]

Avoid Rookie Mistakes
Take the time to proofread what you have written to avoid misspellings and poor grammar usage. Polish your prose and the layout of the information you are sharing.

Never Make People Guess
Do not fall into the trap of setting up a LinkedIn account, uploading a photo, formal schooling and career history and then calling it quits. You have to present a well-rounded and complete representation of who you are. What are your core competencies? Have you listed any accomplishments? How impressive are your accomplishments? Listing accomplishments is not bragging; it is providing relevant information about yourself that allows people to make a judgment about where you could fit in their company or among their professional contacts. Potential employers need to see a profile that allows them to visualize you as a potential colleague.

Always Project Professionalism
Resist the use overly commercial language to describe your accomplishments. Aim for an objective, neutral and truthful representation of your academic and work experience. If you have won scholastic awards or work-related awards, list and describe what you had to do in order to win the award.
Maximize Your Profile’s Effectiveness

As a job seeker, your aim should be to get at least 501 connections on your LinkedIn profile. Once you have surpassed the 500 connections threshold, LinkedIn does not list the actual number of connections you have.

If you have 500+ LinkedIn connections and not a single one has given you a recommendation, it usually means one of two things: a] you are not serious enough about networking or employment possibilities to have bothered asking for recommendations, or b] you are not worthy of a recommendation. Neither of these possibilities portrays you in a flattering light.

Always remember to keep your profile up to date. Your LinkedIn profile, much like your résumé, should be ‘a dynamic and living representation’ of who you are. If you have recent relevant information that you have yet to include, do it. Updating your profile on a regular basis helps show activity on your LinkedIn profile. Profiles that appear frozen in time are usually ineffective.

By following the tips listed above, you will set your self apart of the rest of the candidate pool and become a more desirable nominee.

Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. This blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca