LinkedIn is the biggest social networking site for business with over 175 million users worldwide with more than 9 million in the UK alone. It is also one of the principal search tools used by businesses to hire people, including 85 of the Fortune 100 companies. As a test of its relevance try googling your name. If you have a LinkedIn profile the chances are that your LinkedIn profile will appear in the one of the top five results. This means that any employer searching for information about you will almost certainly visit your LinkedIn profile first.
Complete your profile
Photograph: Ensure your profile is comprehensive by completing all sections. Although you would not include a photograph on a CV you should on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it is in a professional setting though – this isn’t Facebook.
Tagline: This is a great opportunity to make a brief statement about you as a candidate. Keep it snappy e.g. Sharepoint Specialist within Financial Services
Including relevant keywords will increase the chances of your profile showing up on searches by recruiters and hiring managers. For example:
- IT packages – SAP, Oracle or Excel
- Qualifications – Prince2, ACCA or CFA
- Experience – multi-site operations, benchmarking, TUPE, change management, public sector, P&L responsibility or budget forecasting.
Keywords can be used throughout your profile, but make sure they are relevant to the section – don’t shoehorn ‘strategic alliances’ and ‘stakeholder management’ into the Education section just because you want it to show up on searches.
Skills and expertise
LinkedIn allows you to choose up to 50 relevant skills and expertise and you should choose several that are relevant to your background. It helps when recruiters and hiring managers are conducting searches. Connected to this section, LinkedIn has recently launched Endorsements, which allows you to ask for recommendations from your connections for your skills and expertise. Again, well worth sending out a few requests to your network of contacts.
Divide into three parts comprising
- One sentence about what you do i.e. your particular area of expertise.
- One sentence overview of your experience.
- Your specialties.
Ensure your dates of employment are accurate.
Include 3 – 5 points relating to your skills that also incorporate your achievements, but avoid cutting and pasting your CV – keep it relevant and brief.
Recommendations and Endorsements
Getting feedback from your network of contacts is extremely useful because it shows potential employers that colleagues, suppliers or clients are happy to recommend you. This can be a powerful testament to your ability and acts as evidence for your application. Try to get recommendations or endorsements from connections for each company you have worked with, as this will reflect consistency of your great performance. This is similar to Endorsements but more comprehensive.
Social Media links
Include your Twitter username and Facebook profile (as long as these are business appropriate).
The site allows you to edit the URL for your profile page. Make sure this includes your name as it will help your profile to show up on Google searches.