Are you using your LinkedIn profile to its full potential?
In this post Alex Carroll lists 5 tips that you should consider adopting in order to improve your employability and searchability.
1: Be search engine friendly
Many people don’t realise that employers who search for potential candidates use search terms to find the cream of the virtual crop. Use this knowledge to your advantage and make sure you include ‘buzz’ words in your profile summary. You have 2000 words to play with so it is worth your time to ensure you include keywords relating to your skills and interests.
If you are looking for a job as a Manager, you should include terms to link your name with the role such as ‘leadership’, ‘staff management’, ‘strategy’, ‘appraisals’. If you are struggling to think of what key terms are needed, try looking at a job description for your ideal role – they are the key to knowing what an employer is looking for.
2: Have a professional photo
First impressions are everything and if you wouldn’t wear to an interview what you’re wearing in your photo, then it probably isn’t suitable. Many employers will judge by your photo on LinkedIn whether or not they wish to read further into your profile.
If you can’t afford a professional photographer, you should try getting a family member, friend, colleague to take your picture against a plain wall with good light and a good camera.
Some ‘don’ts’ when choosing your profile picture:
- No cropped group shots
- No ‘selfies’ (self-portraits holding the camera)
- No crazy filters on your photo
- No glamour shots (unless the job requires that look!)
- No blurry/low resolution photos
- No pictures of you out ‘partying’
Remember to smile and look confident as if you were walking into an interview!
LinkedIn provides the tools to upload a variety of documents to your profile in your ‘Experience’ section. This is especially useful if you work in a creative or visual industry such as graphic design, animation, gardening, decorating.
Be creative and change your profile from a simple professional summary to a portfolio of your expertise and creativity. As someone who delivers employment modules, I have included some PowerPoint presentations in my profile of lessons I have constructed which have been successful when delivered.
Remember, market yourself like a product – advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason!
4: Summarise yourself in your headline
Employers don’t search for job titles such as ‘Careers and Student Welfare Manager of the London School of Business and Finance’, they search for what you do in your day-to-day job. Remember from my first tip to be “search engine friendly”? Well I have tried to create an image of who I am (not what I do) in one sentence: “Student services manager specialising in employability and welfare. Tutor | Coach | Business Developer”. This helps employers and potential clients to know who you are and what you can do for them.
5: Become visible
If you think creating a profile and then leaving it to gather dust is an effective use of your LinkedIn profile, you’re wrong. The more you use LinkedIn, the more you will get out of it. You will pop up in people’s news feeds more often, be listed as a contributor to all in a group and hopefully expand your network much more quickly. Make sure you join groups related to your career and interests, follow companies and influential people, comment in discussions, post your own blog/articles.
All of these things help you to create a personal ‘brand’ and as I said before, job search should be like you are marketing yourself as a product; you need to be the best deal for a potential employers.
Alex Carroll is the Careers and Student Welfare Manager at FBT, the Birmingham division of LSBF.
For more hints and tips on how to enhance your career prospects, have a look at what FBT’s Career Service has to offer.
A version of this article has been published by Entrepreneur Country.
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