I know LinkedIn isn’t the sexiest social network. There aren’t celebrities posting personal tidbits or getting into public spats. But I’m a fan of LinkedIn for a very practical reason. It can help you land jobs –and not necessarily in the obvious ways that you think. In addition to “linking in” with professional contacts you’d like to network with, you can do career research on LinkedIn. I sometimes peruse profiles to see what sort of job titles exist (some real ones include: Irish Storyteller, Artist Wrangler, and CEO of Fun) and to track the career trajectory of people I admire.
If you’ve got a kickass LinkedIn profile, you’ll be surprised at how many people will search you out– either for job opportunities or just to network. The Huffington Post recently wrote about ways to create a LinkedIn profile that “rocks.” I’ve taken some of their ideas and added my own to come up with 7 Tips to Create a Kickass LinkedIn Profile:
1. Come Up With A Snappy (Specific) Headline: Make sure that people who check out your profile or search for you can tell what it is that you do. For instance, “Writer” is pretty generic, so be as specific as possible. Copywriter? Blogger? Journalist? Novelist?
2. Use Appropriate Keywords: Headhunters and recruiters often use keywords to find appropriate applicants. Be sure to list all of the keywords for the positions you’re interested in. You might want to search for people who have the job you’re interested in and see what keywords they use.
3. Get Recommendations: Of course, nobody is going to post a bad reference on their LinkedIn profile, but having positive recommendations shows that people in your field (or at least a couple of them) think highly of you. At least it couldn’t hurt, right?
4. Keep Your Work History Concise: You don’t need to include the babysitting job you had in college or jobs that are totally irrelevant to what you’re doing now. On the other hand, if you had a really interesting job that could prompt conversation, you might want to include it even if it isn’t in your field.
5. Add Some Personality: If you use your Twitter account professionally, you might want to connect it to LinkedIn so your connections can see your updates. Also, add your web site and links to any blog posts you’d like people to see.
6. Make Connections: Don’t be shy about linking in with folks– even if you don’t know them well. But don’t go ahead and spam people. Only connect with people you actually know–or at least have met in passing.
7. Use the URL: LinkedIn lets you personalize your URL so that you’ll be easier to find (Hint: click on “Edit profile,” then, “Public profile.” In the right-hand column, select “Your URL” and type in a URL that is your name–or something easily identifiable with you).
Check out my LinkedIn profile. Impressive, huh?
According to a survey by Bullhorn Reach, 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find job candidates, so if you’re not optimizing your profile, you’re missing out on an opportunity.
Are you on LinkedIn? Do you have any tips to add?
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