Are you a busy professional who could benefit from connecting with others in your industry? Do you appreciate opportunities to gain knowledge that helps you advance yourself in your career? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. Most savvy professionals are committed to seeking opportunities to improve themselves and maximize new business prospects. Now consider this: Do you know what LinkedIn is? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If so, has it been months since you last looked at it? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it is time to take action.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented global social networking website used mainly for professional networking. Its users enjoy the benefits of building their profile to share with others who can help with career advancement and smart networking. While there will always be a use for traditional face-to-face networking through meetings, LinkedIn networking offers an instant opportunity to interact with countless other well-connected professionals who share a common interest, experience or group membership.
Whether you are using it as a marketing tool for your organization or to land your next job, there are simple tricks to make your LinkedIn profile irresistibly memorable.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla
Include an updated photo.
Nothing screams unprofessional and careless like a blurry photo of you and your college friends wearing matching jerseys during a tailgate party at last season's championship football game. Simply put, Facebook is for personal pictures and LinkedIn is for professional ones. Recruiters are more likely to click on a profile if it includes an updated photo that shows you in a professional light. If you don't have a photo included with your profile, you are at a serious disadvantage. A recent study by TheLadders.com found that recruiters spend more time examining a LinkedIn user's picture than actually reviewing the person's qualifications.
Update your summary.
If your summary focuses on your biggest accomplishments in 2010 and it is 2013, you are coming across as irrelevant and stagnant. The most important part of your profile is the summary. You wouldn't send an outdated resume to a prospective employer, right? The same should hold true for your summary. Take the time to periodically review and update it throughout the year so it doesn't turn into an overwhelming task. You never know who may stumble across your profile. It could be your next big client or employer. Give them something worth looking at longer than the 10 seconds most people spend skimming a LinkedIn summary.
Get the full bang for your buck by building important relationships online with others who share your professional knowledge, interests and industry experience. LinkedIn groups offers an unmatched opportunity to get the most out of your time by generating new connections with fellow group members and engaging in online conversation about relevant topics. Speaking from firsthand experience, it is even possible to get offered career opportunities simply by engaging in conversation within your groups and posting a well thought out reply to questions posed by others.
Don't wait until you start a job hunt to frantically clamor for recommendations. Since the vast majority of prospective employers or new clients will check out your LinkedIn profile while making a decision about working with you, it is smart to have them ready at any time. Recommendations are the proof behind the accomplishments you highlight within the summary of your profile. They provide a framework around the skills, experience and accomplishments you claim to have.
LinkedIn is the optimal scene for professional connections. If you are serious about wanting to connect with other professionals, industry leaders and decision makers to boost your career, take the time to make smart connections. Take the time to show why you are worth remembering and doing business with.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, professional development and executive coaching for more than 13 years. She brings leadership experience from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.changeagentsee.com.