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A friend recently asked me if creating a LinkedIn account could help him get a job. My answer was a conditional yes ... Just creating an account is similar to buying a gym membership, it won’t pay off unless you work hard at it.
Across the board, being present on LinkedIn is becoming more of the norm among professionals. But, again, just being there is not enough. If you want to get the attention of hiring managers, network and build new connections that can help with professional development as well as with job-hunting efforts, build a solid profile that positions you for all of these aspirations.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
Your newborn may be adorable and so is your sunbathing vacation photo, but LinkedIn isn’t the place for sharing any of these personal photos. Pick a professional shot in an attire that matches what you’d wear to the office or to a job interview.
In short, dress to impress. If you don’t have such a shot, get one.
The little details that matter in any interview
In addition, make sure your photo is high quality and recent. Why would anyone care? Probably no one would blame you for a selfie taken in your cubicle, but your overall profile will look better and more professional if it is a tidy, formal photo. If you want others to take you seriously as a professional, appearances are an easy point to score.
Complete your profile
Take time to complete a profile as thoroughly as possible. Many hiring managers may refer to this profile as an addition or even in place of your resume. And double check the resume is consistent with what is on LinkedIn. The good news is LinkedIn isn’t limited to the one-page rule that many resumes today are limited to.
So you can include detailed job descriptions that showcase your experience, information about your education and training and even your volunteer work and interests.
LinkedIn tracks how complete your profile is and provides suggestions for sections that are pending. The more comprehensive the profile, the more likely headhunters will find you when an opening suits your experience and qualifications.
Your profile won’t look so good if there are only have a handful of connections. So once you build your profile, reach out to as many people as possible among coworkers, past coworkers, business contacts, clients, etc. LinkedIn will give you suggestions for many more you might know, and that probably will help get the invitations out quickly. The point is to create a good number of connections quickly so that the account seems to be active.
The connections also can help introduce you to others. This is a typical activity in professional networking, so don’t shy away from asking to be introduced to someone new. If you get the introduction, make sure to thank both contacts.
Keep it alive
Find ways to get more attention from your network of connections. Post updates, share industry news and articles that might be relevant to others, and comment or like others’ updates. Engaging your network will help you get their attention as well as that of their connections.
You will eventually begin to receive requests to connect, which is likely to widen your network further.
Your activity also will be seen by prospective hiring managers. If done correctly, this activity should point to your strength in terms of industry involvement, commitment and networking. These are all great attributes from a hiring perspective.
Make sure to back up any claims put on paper
LinkedIn recommendations provide a great deal of credibility. The fact they are out there in public gives them extra weight with prospective hiring managers. Although you may have lost touch with past employers, coworkers and clients, turn the connection on LinkedIn into an opportunity to request a recommendation.
Reach out only to those who would write well and positively about your skills, background and qualifications. LinkedIn will let you personalise a message to them requesting the recommendation, so you can always ask them to stress particular points — professional or personal.
You also can remind them of particular areas, projects, etc. In all cases, having a good number of positive recommendations will help in the job hunt as well as in building your personal brand as a professional.
Get on LinkedIn
Have a complete, professional profile.
Find contacts in your industry.
Stay engaged and active.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor