I know, I know, all this social media is really tedious for the over 40′s. The rest of you probably don’t need to read this, and why should you? What can a (nearly) fifty year old tell you about using the interweb?
Probably nothing. But I have been gathering my thoughts about Linkedin. These are not the thoughts of a gunslinging socmedguru, although I do still wear T-shirts with provocative slogans from time to time. Instead, they are the thoughts of a person who likes to think he knows a bit about the job search process and who has been fiddling around with a Linkedin presence for a few years also.
Furthermore, to prove I am fully au fait with the internet age, the contents of this article is the result of internet research. In other words, I did a quick Google search, found a few lousy articles (probably much like this) lifted a couple of ideas, mixed in my own et voila, and original piece. Just for you. Call it “a literature review” if you like, that’s the way they describe plagiarism these days. You’ll notice that, like so many other blog articles these days, it is in the form of a boring list of “dos and don’ts”. Apparently that’s the most effective way to communicate nowadays. Lists of stuff.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, How to create a great Linkedin in profile. There’s loads to talk about so this cannot go into everything. Just a few things that I think make a big difference.
- Get a professional profile picture. In almost every other respect your Linkedin page is like your CV. However, one of the big differences is that this is a searchable public document. You want strangers to look for it and to be interested in you. A good quality photo helps. A lousy picture is a bad thing. No picture makes you look like you can’t be bothered. No holiday snaps. No pets, family, or full body images of you taking up 10% of the frame because you want us to see the beautiful landscape, no busy backgrounds. Just a good head and shoulders shot against a plain background. Look like you’re at work.
- Your Professional headline. Describe yourself as a professional: Marketing Director, Senior Finance Professional, Property Lawyer. be truthful, but use the language that people searching for someone like you might use. There’s no point in giving yourself an obscure title because the chances are you won’t be spotted. Some people also like to add a few words like “Seeking new opportunity” to indicate they are available for work. Don’t be shy about doing this. People looking for you won’t think any the worse if you are not currently working. They know there are plenty of talented people out there looking for work. Make it easier for them to spot you. You have a big advantage in being available to work.
- Summary. Unlike your CV where you should limit the amount of space assigned to this, on your Linkedin profile you can go into a little bit more detail because nobody is counting pages. That said, it is not an invitation to ramble. Your objective is to communicate, succinctly, what it is you might bring to any organisation. Since you don’t know who is looking at it or what they are looking for, you need to keep it reasonably general, but not so general that it reads like it could be by or about anyone. Don’t fall into the trap of using universal platitudes – stick to meaningful facts. Tell the reader a little about your background, your level, where you have worked, etc, and tell them some stuff that will make you stand out from the crowd. Particular relevant experience, languages, overseas experience, significant projects, that sort of thing.
- Experience. Describe achievements, not responsibilities.
- Be proactive on Linkedin. Most people set up a profile and then ignore it. The way to be noticed, to come up on when people search, and to prove yourself and knowledgeable is to participate. The way to do this is by joining Groups (up to 50) related to your area. Recruiters are also in these groups and they will see you there. Don’t make a nuisance of yourself by spending your whole time in those discussions, but do drop by regularly and offer a comment if you have something useful to add.
- Be visible, not anonymous. When you visit someone’s profile you want them to know you visited, unless you’re a spy or possibly journalist. Go to Edit Profile, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find a heading entitled Connections and the option to Customise Visibility. Click on this and make sure your connections can see your other connections – that’s what networking is about. Then behind the dialogue box you’ll see a list under Privacy Controls. Choose Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile and make sure the first option, Your name and headline is active.
I know this article may give the impression that I find the whole business of Linked in tedious and wearisome. that’s not entirely true. I just find all the blabber about it tedious and wearisome. I also get fed up with the way it is badly used by job seekers. Linkedin is not networking. It is a tool to aid networking. Having a Linkedin profile doesn’t bring waves of job offers to your inbox, it just makes it easier for you to do your job, which it to find people to connect with who may be able to help you. The above tips just highlight some of the many ways I have noticed that people fail to make best use of their Linkedin presence.