The internet has become somewhat of a double edged sword when it comes to job hunting. You might experience a moment of panic when you think about potential employers looking through all of your pictures on Facebook (and they will). However, when used properly, the internet should be an invaluable resource during your executive job search. It has become easier than ever to network, post resumes, search for jobs, and apply for them directly. While the internet is convenient for you, it is even more convenient for recruiters and hiring managers when they are looking to fill a position.
It is crucial for you to have an online presence on a professional job site when looking for a new job.
But, there are so many! Which one should you choose you ask?
It's up to you; however, if I can only recommend ONE, it would be LinkedIn, and here’s why.
This professional networking site has over 380 million users globally as of October 13, 2015, 118 million of which are located in the United States. You may have heard that networking is the fastest way to get a job. That still applies with social networking, and with more than 4 million company pages, LinkedIn makes it easy to find people within a company to connect with. Having a presence on LinkedIn also makes it easier to be seen by the millions of recruiters who use the site to find candidates.
Beyond posting your work history and searching for job posts, it offers a variety of other benefits. Joining groups allows you to connect with people within your industry and have open discussions about current topics. You can write and request recommendations from other users. After listing your various skills, your connections can endorse you and validate your expertise. Best of all, the majority of services LinkedIn provides are free. You, of course, have the option of upgrading, but it is free to join and establish your presence on the most popular professional networking site.
Now that I’ve convinced you WHY you should have a LinkedIn profile, here are some TIPS on how to make it appealing to recruiters, hiring managers, or anyone hoping to find their next “A Player.”
- Getting started: If this is your first time creating a profile on LinkedIn.com (or you're polishing your existing profile for a new job hunt), look at other profiles of people in similar roles to the ones you are pursuing for ideas.
- Say “cheese”: Some people wonder whether or not they should put a picture on their profile. You might think it could lead to discrimination, and the fact of the matter is, that is a possibility. However, people are far more likely (40%+) to click your name and read through your profile if you have a picture. It should be a professional headshot of just you so that potential employers aren’t left guessing which person they are contacting. Make sure it is appropriate and represents you as the great professional that you are!
- Headline: This is not just your job title...it's your value proposition! Who and how can you help?
- Summary: Avoid stuffing this section with keywords. Instead, have a brief, concise and direct objective or value statement. Then, list your 3-5-7 greatest career accomplishments (and these can be repeated in the experience section). Keep them results oriented! Remember, the goal here is to draw readers into your profile, get them to look further and get them to ultimately contact you.
- Experience: Your profile is the first glimpse many recruiters get of you. Make them want to go the extra step in contacting you by defining your accomplishments, responsibilities, and awards. If you have an award/position that no one has heard of, explain its significance. Additionally, if your company isn't a household name, be sure to include 1-2 sentence about what they do.
- Encourage contact: Keep your profile public and customize your profile URL. If you are actively looking for a job, make it as easy on recruiters as possible to contact you. Of course, there is the inmail option on LinkedIn; however, it would be much more efficient (and cheaper!) for recruiters to contact you directly. Put your email, cell phone, home phone, twitter account, or anything that would make it easy for someone to contact you.
- Show off: Take advantage of the publishing, skills and recommendation features. LinkedIn allows you to tell the world what you are capable of in many ways. Now is not the time to be modest. Have a presentation you've done, attach it. A prolific writer, publish it. You can also ask for recommendations from coworkers, employers, business partners, etc., in order to establish credibility and validate your numerous skills.
- Connect: Upon setting up your profile, LinkedIn will encourage you to connect with others and provide some easy methods like importing your address book. Further, I would encourage you to think back through all of your relationships, past and present (school, work, social), and reach out to those people to connect. And be sure to connect with me.
Overall, your LinkedIn profile should be an accurate, professional, and well put together representation of your professional career. When used correctly, it will greatly increase your chances of getting at least a telephone interview and at most your dream job. Happy Hunting...and CONNECTING!