In this “Creating a Social Media Presence Series,” we will cover a number of ways you can increase your online and social media presence.
LinkedIn is one big resume and should be treated as such. If you are going to give your LinkedIn account to an employer, then you have to be sure that you were just as meticulous with that profile as you were with deciding the margins of your resume.
For those who don’t know, LinkedIn is the professional social network. ‘Friends’ and ‘Followers’ are called ‘Connections’ and your network is made up of business professionals and company profile pages. Instead of posting photos of your family vacation to Europe, you put your job experience, educational background, skills and resume on your front profile page. This isn’t the profile page your friends are visiting. This is the page people who want to hire you are visiting, so it is important to make it flawless.
The cosmetics of the page don’t matter as much, just choose a work-friendly photo and set is as your profile picture. The rest of the editable information will be professional data, and by now I’m sure you have plenty of experience with filling forms out. But you do have to fill it out, and it is important that you get all of it. LinkedIn has a meter that gauges how complete your profile is so don’t even bother getting started if you’re not planning on maxing it out; employers can still see an incomplete profile.
It’s not a bad idea to get started by writing a list of skills you have. There is a section for listing these and you’re likely to not put in a couple if you just list what’s on the tips of your fingers. Outlining has been pushed on you since grade school, and for good reason: it helps.
Make sure your resume is polished and then upload it to the site. LinkedIn will take care of the formatting, but if you still see something you don’t like then go in and change it. This should take care of your work experience and education sections, but still go and double check what your profile looks like for errors.
Next, you should write a solid objective statement that makes sure employers know exactly what you’re looking for. Tell them you are looking for a career track in book publishing with the goal of moving up to become a book editor in five years’ time. Don’t be company-specific, but be specific about what you want.
LinkedIn has recently made an update that adds Projects, Courses and Publications to your profile page as well. This is where you put in information about any outside special courses/training you have received as well as what specific projects you have done successfully in the past.
That should take care of setting up your LinkedIn profile, but now comes the most important part. When prompted, allow LinkedIn to look through your Facebook, Twitter and email accounts for addresses and contact information from people in your network, and ask them to join your connection network. This is most important because it’s what increases your exposure; the more connections you have, the more likely you are to show up in search results since priority is given to those who are connected to you in some way. If your connection has a connection at Random House and is looking for a publishing intern to hire, you will be higher up on the search results than someone who is not a connection of the connection at Random House. Spread your feelers out as far as you can in order to maximize the effectiveness of LinkedIn and your profile.
While setting up your information professionally is very important, it doesn’t matter if no one sees it. Once you have finished your profile, spam everyone you know to add you as a connection. This may be frowned upon on other social networks but it’s the lifeblood of LinkedIn so don’t be shy. The profile is useless without anyone to see it.
What are some things you do to LinkedIn to ensure you are using it to it’s maximum ability? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Shane Pope