Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LinkedIn for Job Searchers

I'm preparing for an upcoming workshop at Menomonie Public Library in Wisconsin called LinkedIn for Job Searchers. Whether you are searching for a job, trying to build your professional credibility, or strengthen your client base, LinkedIn is the most powerful business networking site available.

LinkedIn allows users, like you and I, to maintain online profiles. It ranks extremely high in Google search engines, so your profile (a professional representation you created yourself) will be the first result that appears in search results. LinkedIn boasts over 54 million users in 200 countries. With 80% of employers claiming to be using LinkedIn as hiring tool this year, we would be fools not to create profiles on LinkedIn.

What should you know about creating a profile on LinkedIn?
  • The headline is the first thing someone sees when viewing your profile. Make it good. Have a clear professional title. If your title is something nobody outside of your company would understand, adjust it so it represents what your actually do.
  • Would you rather hire an 'Engineering Job Hunter' or a 'Professional Engineer with Experience Working in Cutting Edge Technologies'? This is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • The biggest mistake new users make is not including a professional picture. People build relationships with people. A picture gives a sense of personalism. Use a current picture that shows your personality so you are recognizable in face-to-face situations. Do not use a family picture and crop yourself.
  • Edit your public profile URL so it is your name and not your identification. Use your URL on your resume so employers have access to a more complete profile of your qualifications.
  • Your summary needs to be one to three short paragraphs about who you are as a professional. Give up the goods as to why you are the best and worthy of attention. You are writing this about yourself, so use first person, not third.
  • Do NOT send invitations to connect until your profile is complete. FULLY complete. Connections are a reflection of the caliber of people you surround yourself.
  • When you do send invitations to connect, do not use the LinkedIn template. In one to four sentences, greet the person, remind them of how you know each other, and explain why you would like to connect.
  • If you get an invitation from someone you don't know or recall, reply to the invitation with, "Thank you for the invitation to connect. I have the privilege of meeting a lot of people and, unfortunately, sometimes I cannot always put a face to a name. Can you remind me of how we met or know each other?"
  • Keep your information current.
  • Use your LinkedIn URL in your autosignature so people you correspond with know you are available to connect.
  • Request recommendations from former colleagues, clients, and employers.
  • Give recommendations, if you can praise that person. If you are uncomfortable giving a recommendation, don't do it. Recommendations, given or received, are also a reflection of your professionalism.
These tips and more are available in a LinkedIn for Job Searchers presentation I created available on SlideShare at http://ow.ly/12DMu.  

Also, don't forget to become a Facebook Fan of 'Laurie Boettcher Speaks' so you can stay current on upcoming workshops and news.

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