EPMEPM: Productivity

9 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile

More and more employers are finding their new recruits via business networking site “LinkedIn” says Richard Taylor of REJS. Is your profile up to date?

As 2013 gets underway social media continues to dominate the market place. This is especially so in the recruitment industry as we move further away from traditional methods of locating talent. Gone soon will be the days of an employer or a recruiter placing an advert on a job board and waiting to see what the response (or lack of) will be. We are seeing a huge shift towards social media, and recent studies have shown that high percentages of employers are viewing various social media platforms prior to making hiring decisions.

As a professional in a competitive industry – and I guess who isn’t? – one of the stand-out social media sites is LinkedIn. Having been a member for well over five years we have found that LinkedIn has continued to evolve over time and is now a powerful source of information on over three million Australians alone.

So when was the last time you updated your profile on LinkedIn? Given that this one of your ‘windows’ to the world of social media, it just makes sense to make sure your profile is updated regularly. On many occasions employers who are looking to hire have told us that, along with Facebook, LinkedIn is now one of the sites that they look at after receiving a resume or the name of a potential employee.

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is about making connections with others who have common backgrounds to us or who are perhaps in a similar field or occupation. Prior to linking up, many LinkedIn users will scan through profiles and, once again, if yours is a little ‘skinny’ on information they won’t connect. Remember, if this is the first contact they have with you then this is all they will see or know, and a decision will be based on the information that you put there.

Here are a few ideas that may assist you in keeping your profile up there.

1. Update regularly

I know it sounds simple, but make sure when you change occupations that you change your LinkedIn profile. This will let your network know what you are doing and also how best to contact you. If you are loading a resume with your profile, be a little creative in how you describe yourself. Remember, people make instant decisions and don’t want to be bombarded with a heap of facts. Make it interesting and descriptive, and let the audience know about you and your interests.

2. If you’re not sure what to do, have a look at other profiles

Remember, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel! Look at a few profiles and decide on what you like; it stands to reason that others will probably like this style of profile as well. Perhaps they have used fantastic descriptive words, or have introduced themselves to the other users in a unique way. If you were meeting on a face-to-face basis, how would you greet people and what would you say about yourself?

3. Have a unique way to describe yourself

In your profile, under your name, is where you describe yourself or put your title. Make this unique to you, as this is how you may be found when someone is searching; if you stand out then you’ll certainly be remembered! An example may be that, if your title at work is a property manager or asset manager (and many people use this title), perhaps a way you may ‘tag’ yourself is ‘Investors’ Asset Controller’ or ‘First Contact for Investor Asset Management’. Play around with a few ideas and see if you can be different!

4. Highlight your abilities/skills

Remember the market out there is now putting huge weight on LinkedIn and sees this as a professional site for individuals and companies. With that in mind, it is expected that you will be looking to ‘sell’ yourself, so list what you can do. Once again, be a little creative with duties; don’t just list what you may have on your resume. If you think about what the reader may be looking for and then phrase it in those terms, or how you would like to be viewed by the LinkedIn world, then this part of your profile will look fantastic. Remember whilst you may use industry buzzwords don’t put too much jargon or acronyms in your profile as they tend to lose people quickly, and be careful with humour. Ask yourself whether you would say that in a first meeting with someone – if not, don’t write it!

5. Keep it simple!

I know sounds corny, but work on the basis of the simple man in the street not knowing what you do. Use simple terms that explain what you do and what your company does. If you do something different to your competition then mention this as well. Help the readers of your profile understand what you do.

6. Stand out from the crowd!

There is a section on your profile called Additional Information; you can use this section to build on your profile and perhaps add a few key interests and hobbies. Maybe you have some abilities that may be showcased on other websites; if so, add in the URL here. Maybe you belong to clubs, networking groups, associations or groups of interest; if so then this is an opportunity to raise the profile of these clubs by mentioning them here, as well as making your profile a little different from others who couldn’t be bothered to do it. Remember, this is your ‘billboard’ so make it shout about you.

7. Build your credibility by using your knowledge

Here is a term that you will hear more of in the future: Social Capital. You can use your skills to build credibility in your profile by having a little Q & A section where you can showcase your knowledge. Remember, this is how people will view you in the social media world, so use these opportunities to establish your expertise in what you do and raise your profile and visibility, so that people get to know you and want to connect with you too. Make sure you are clear and concise in what you do here and that once again you keep it simple and easy to read. Remember, here is an opportunity to create credibility for yourself.

8. Have relevant recommendations

Within your profile you have a section where you are able to get recommendations – and before you say anything, yes, testimonials or recommendations do hold weight here. Google may also be trolling through LinkedIn and pick up on this section as well. Let me qualify that by saying make sure you focus on quality recommendations and don’t fill up this section with a lot of garbage about nothing; this will harm you, not help you.

Make sure that the recommendations are relevant to you and what you are currently doing (so if you change occupations, change this section). Give yourself a pat on the back if it’s ok! Make sure that the people who recommend you speak in specific terms about your skillset and abilities, or a special ability that you may have.

When recommending someone yourself, please return the favour and make your comments actually mean something as well, as this is also a reflection on you and your writing skills.

9. Work on building your connections regularly.

One of the most important things you should do with LinkedIn is work on your connections regularly, as this will also increase your coverage throughout the entire site. Your connections are a reflection of you within the site, and the company you keep will reflect on you as well. Be careful not to just send out invites to people that you have no connection to all, as this may be treated as spam and you could get blocked by LinkedIn.

One way to gain further exposure is to join groups that are related to you from an industry perspective, as this will put you in contact with many people outside your influence and will lead to connection requests from similar-minded professionals. On a final note, like most things in life the harder you work at your profile and connections the more you will be able to gain from it, so good luck!

Richard Taylor is a director of Real Estate Jobs Search (REJS) and has been successfully recruiting for the Real Estate industry since 2002. For more information, visit www.realestatejobssearch.com.au.

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