Q. I have the basics of LinkedIn. It is really important to fill it in. The alert that shows my profile is mainly incomplete has my attention. I have a good resume – isn’t that enough? Can I just attach it?
A. A great LinkedIn profile really is that important, and not just for job seekers. LinkedIn is for consultants, successful employees who want to showcase their skills internally, people who want to support others careers, and professionals who value a strong network. Think of LinkedIn as your digital resume – a place to promote yourself in a world that is becoming increasingly web-oriented. According to Jobvite, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn. Additionally, 89% of employers have hired someone through LinkedIn. When searching for a job, it is critical to get noticed and LinkedIn serves as another tool to connect recruiters and job hunters. Having a well-developed LinkedIn profile can only help your career and any job search process.
LinkedIn provides you with tools to publish and optimize the content of your resume to make it easier for hiring managers to find you. This gives you greater exposure to job opportunities in your area and beyond whether you are actively job seeking or not.
Now that LinkedIn boasts approximately 350 million active users, what can you do to set your profile apart? Here are seven important things to include in your LinkedIn profile.
1. A professional photo. LinkedIn is much more formal than Facebook and Twitter. Your profile picture should be professional and clean. It should not distract from the rest of your profile.
2. A summary that highlights your qualifications for your future goals and includes keywords relevant to your field and market sector experience. This section should explain your skills and how your skills will contribute to organizational success.
3. Add connections. Who you do you know? Make sure your network show a diversity of professionals – by age, industry, function. People will look for commonalities, which provides pre-approval.
4. Join groups and actively participate. This is a great way to make connections in your field of interest.
5. A customized URL. LinkedIn allows you to change your profile URL in order to eliminate any unnecessary characters. For example www.linkedin.com/in/johndoe vs. www.linkedin.com/pub/john-doe/0/878/398/
6. Interests and activities that tell potential employers something personal about you. This will humanize your profile and help potential employers evaluate your fit for the organization.
7. Ask for references. Some employers are making it a requirement to have references from current and previous managers on LinkedIn to be considered for a job at their organization. Always ask for references (offer to draft them) and provide references in return.
In the modern market, having a LinkedIn profile is essential. including the appropriate content is critical to the success of a professional – in a job hunt or not.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners
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