With the almost sudden surge of the social network playground and everyone’s immediate need to join as many as they could as quickly as they could, it is often a common mistake to overlook some of the most important social networks and their features.
Most internet ‘power users’ have a profile with every major social network and have reserved their own personal URL. The average user doesn’t realize the potential and impact the web will have on important career moves. I strongly recommend reconsidering your presence on the internet. Is it just a goofy MySpace page and an empty Twitter account? Before you do anything else, visit Go Daddy or any other major domain/hosting provider and reserve (if available) your own personal URL, start with your first and last name (.com). Next, head over to LinkedIn.
If you haven’t setup a LinkedIn profile yet, do it now. LinkedIn is a place where you can connect professionally with those you have networked with. It takes all of the games, silly photo albums and other non-professional, unnecessary things out of the scene and provides a place to truly build upon your professional network. This is important on a number of levels, but first and foremost, it is quickly becoming the first place companies turn to in order to place job openings and the source they trust most for resume submissions. So, whether or not you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is an important piece of your online personal puzzle. Treat LinkedIn like a professional portfolio, your online and visible resume among a huge network of other professionals.
Here are some important tips for beginning or seasoned LinkedIn users that will help get you on the right track.
- Complete Your Profile – LinkedIn offers a helpful ‘progress bar’ while you’re getting settled that points you in the right direction. Focus on the important things like adding a complete work history, importing contacts, adding schooling, listing awards and one of the more common areas left unaddressed…add a photo. Most companies and schools are available from a pick list within LinkedIn that helps you automatically connect with others with the same credentials. Lastly, make sure you add a summary. This is like the cover letter and should detail the important accomplishments and qualifications that help to set you apart from the rest.
- Add Career Experience In Detail – Your experience is vital to a complete LinkedIn profile. Treat this like a resume and keep it brief but be sure to list the highlights or noteworthy tasks you were responsible for. Also, be sure to try and keep the dates you were employed as accurate as possible for each of the companies you worked with.
- Join Groups – Groups are a fun way to connect with others sharing similar interests. Adding groups adds credibility in your profile and shows viewers at a glance what you are most interested in. Contributing by adding conversations or commenting on other conversations helps to build your notability within these groups. Proactive groups hold local gatherings with very informative speakers that also allow you to network with other like-minded professionals.
- Link A Twitter Account – This is a given. You are asked to do this by LinkedIn in several places and at different times during your profile setup. This will allow you to easily connect a Twitter account that will operate as an automatic status updater for both Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Once linked, you won’t have to visit both sites individually to post status updates, if you post something to Twitter it will carry over.
- Get Recommended – Getting recommended is one of the most important and most beneficial features of LinkedIn. As I said earlier, LinkedIn is becoming the source companies go to first when posting job availability and their trust for job applicants through the service is better than if you were to simply drop a resume by in person. LinkedIn adds credibility through recommendations backed by real people, because while anyone can add fake recommendations to a printed resume, LinkedIn recommendations are written by real people that potential employers can reach.
There you go, 5 simple tips to help you get started on or restart your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile public so that it will show up in searches. Unless you’re hiding something, keep it public. Good luck!