LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that allows professionals to post their resumes online and create direct connections between professionals in similar fields. LinkedIn members can utilize the site for a variety of activities including: creating a larger professional network through referrals and direct contact, finding business opportunities through the network, and find common friends that can help you network with other companies.
Like most tools, LinkedIn is only as good as how you use it. Below are few strategies to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile so you can impress employers, colleagues, headhunters, professional association members, and more.
One of the most visible areas of a LinkedIn profile is the summary statement. This field allows you to highlight some key facts about yourself. When doing this, it is important to use keywords that a recruiter or hiring manager would use if they were to search for someone like you. The best place to find relevant keywords is in job listings that appeal to you, and the profiles of people who currently hold the type of positions that you want. Check out LinkedIn’s Company Pages feature to search through the profiles of employees at your dream employer.
When creating your profile, also be sure to “write for the screen”. LinkedIn is not the place for long-form prose. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text with lots of white space. Bullet points are great, too. And remember, it is absolutely fine — crucial, in fact — to include unpaid or volunteer work in your Summary.
Take the time to list out all of your experience, this is the best way to build out your network. One of the most valuable aspects of LinkedIn is the way it connects you with former colleagues and classmates. These are some of the best networking contacts. It would be a shame if a long lost colleague or classmate, who happens to be a recruiter now, couldn’t find you because you hadn’t listed that shared employment in your LinkedIn profile.
Be sure to collect recommendations from a diverse collection of individuals in your network. Nothing builds credibility like third party endorsements. The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each job a person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from professors, internship coordinators, colleagues, employers, and classmates with whom you shared an extra curricular activity.
All of these tips should help you create a LinkedIn profile that is sure to increase the size and effectiveness of your online professional network.