If you’re on LinkedIn, you want to make sure that you rank as highly as possible in the search results, so you do not miss any opportunities.Here are five top tips to help you get ahead.
1. Be search engine friendlyMany people don’t realise that employers who search for potential candidates use search terms to find the cream of the virtual crop. Use this knowledge to your advantage and make sure you include “buzz” words in your profile summary. You have around 2,000 words to play with, so it is worth your time to ensure you include keywords relating to your skills and interests. If you are looking for a job as a manager, for example, you should include terms to link your name with the role such as “leadership”, “staff management”, “strategy” and “appraisals” among others. If you are struggling to think of what key terms are needed, try looking at a job description for your ideal role – they are the key to knowing what an employer is looking for.
2. Have a professional photoFirst impressions are everything and if you wouldn’t wear to an interview what you’re wearing in your photo, then it probably isn’t suitable. Many employers will judge by your photo on LinkedIn whether or not they wish to read further into your profile. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, you should try getting a family member, friend, colleague to take your picture against a plain wall with good light and a good camera. Some “don’ts” when choosing your profile picture:
- No cropped group shots
- No “selfies” (self-portraits holding the camera)
- No crazy filters on your photo
- No glamour shots (unless the job requires that look!)
- No blurry/low resolution photos
- No pictures of you out “partying”
3. Show off your workLinkedIn provides the tools to upload a variety of documents to your profile in your “Experience” section. This is especially useful if you work in a creative or visual industry such as graphic design, animation, gardening, decorating. Be creative and change your profile from a simple professional summary to a portfolio of your expertise and creativity. Remember, market yourself like a product – advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason!
4. Summarise yourself in your headlineEmployers don’t search for job titles such as “Co-founder” or “Business consultant”, they search for what you do in your day-to-day job. Remember from my first tip to be search engine friendly? Well, try to create an image of who you are (not what you do) in once sentence. This helps employers and potential clients to know who you are and what you can do for them.
5. Become visibleIf you think creating a profile and then leaving it to gather dust is an effective use of your LinkedIn profile, you’re wrong. The more you use LinkedIn, the more you will get out of it. You will pop up in people’s news feeds more often, be listed as a contributor to all in a group and hopefully expand your network much more quickly. Make sure you join groups related to your career and interests, follow companies and influential people, comment in discussions, post your own blog/articles. All of these things help you to create a personal brand. A job search should be like you are marketing yourself as a product; you need to be the best deal for a potential employers. Alex Carroll is careers and student welfare manager at Finance Business Training (FBT), the Birmingham division of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF).
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