Friday, May 7, 2010

Using LinkedIn effectively

I've already spoken previously about the power of LinkedIn and how useful a tool and site it is. However it definitely bears repeating as if you are not using LinkedIn properly you are missing one of the sharpest quivers in your bow when searching for a job or networking in general! If you do not know about LinkedIn at all – make sure you visit the site immediately and input as much information as possible to build a complete and accurate profile.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make with LinkedIn – check your account and ensure that you are not making one of these!

Personalize your profile

Add a photo. People prefer photo's and images and generally if a photo accompanies your profile, it will receive a higher level of attention. Make sure that people can find you by using your real name. The default setup of LinkedIn has a bunch of letters and numbers which means that people will only find you by searching for skills and location, not your name. In addition, LinkedIn allows you to have 3 additional sites that you can refer interested parties to. Use these to reference your blog, your company's website or even your Twitter Feed.  

Recommendations

    One of LinkedIn's greatest strengths is its recommendations feature. Quite a few companies that utilize LinkedIn for their hiring will not even look at candidates without recommendations so make sure that you have as many as possible from your work history. You definitely want to get supervisory recommendations, but you should also aim to get peer recommendations to.  

    Making it stand out

    Use keywords and descriptive words throughout. While you do not want to have something that is 10 pages long, at the same time you are not restricted to 2 pages like most CVs and resumes so you have an opportunity on LinkedIn to actually explain what you've done throughout your career and how your achievements have helped in each of your previous roles. In addition, you want to expound on the actual "bottom line" – what did the company you worked for "get out of it" and why was it a benefit to them.

    Errors and Proofreading

    Perhaps something that doesn't need repeating, but silly typo's and grammar issues are one of the worst things that you could do. It immediately shows a prospective employer that you are NOT detail oriented and that you DO NOT make the appropriate effort in your work.

      

    Updating and Groups

    Another big no-no is inputting your information and forgetting about it. LinkedIn like lots of other sites thrives on content so if you're not updating your information or participating in discussions and groups you are losing a whole new avenue to keep your name "out there". Ensure that any new posts you make on blogs or other sites are advertised in the "What are you working on?" box and that you've linked your Twitter account so that it automatically updates for you.
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