Social Enterprise

Ten tips for using your LinkedIn profile to the best advantage

Your LinkedIn profile is basically an online resume. Here are the Profile elements you should be paying attention to.

More and more employers are using LinkedIn to find job candidates. I'll be offering some tips on how to best use LinkedIn to get yourself out there in front of recruiters. First, we'll tackle the Profile. Your LinkedIn profile is basically an online resume. Here are the Profile elements you should be paying attention to:

  1. Heading: This should be a short, memorable way to state who you are in a professional context. Akin to the objective statement on a resume, your heading should be something like VMware Expert.
  2. Education: Include schools you've attended, your GPA, tech certificates, etc.
  3. Professional summary statement: Think of this as a condensed version of your cover letter. For readability, feel free to use bulleted points.
  4. Specialties section: Include IT-specific key words and phrases so if a recruiter or hiring manager types them into a search engine, he'll be able to find you.
  5. Status update: It's a good idea to do this weekly, mentioning any projects you're working on or trade events you've attended.
  6. Badges: Join groups and display the badges. Don't go crazy here -- post badges of groups that are pertinent to your job area, like Cisco Professionals or Content Management Professionals.
  7. Recommendations: It's one thing to say that you were a great employee at a past company, and it's quite another to offer up a recommendation from someone who actually worked with you. Third-party recommendations carry a lot of weight with recruiters.
  8. Claim your unique LinkedIn url: This increases the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine. Just set your LinkedIn profile to "public" and claim a unique URL for your profile (as in: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname).
  9. Share the fruits of your labor: Add examples of blogs you've written for professional societies or tech web sites by displaying urls.
  10. Make your resume available: LinkedIn offers a free application for uploading your resume: box.net. You can also use LinkedIn to create a pdf of your resume. Here's how.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

11 comments
morrieg
morrieg

While there are some useful tips in this article, there also needs to be some cautions. As others have said, Linkedin is not a job board. And be very cautious about including any information that someone could use to scam you. Additionally, the farther into your career you go, the less important info like GPA becomes. It may even look silly. And unless you are unemployed, it is important to realize that your employer will be checking you out as well. So, instead of helping you find a better position, your Linkedin page could get you fired.

DFO_REXX
DFO_REXX

Is it a good thing to point this out in your header, or would it be considered a turn-off by people searching LinkedIn? This goes to the question of whether LinkedIn is a sophisticated job board or a place to show your professional credentials. As with other posters, I feel LinkedIn should be used to "advertise" your professional expertise, no matter what it's in or how many fields of "expertise" you might have. In this case then yes, I think if possible (within the limited number of characters available) one should However, it seems many corporations use LinkedIn like a job board; I don't know if that's true or not. If true, though, would a prospective hiring manager read your profile header and think, "This person isn't committed to working in (field)"? The answer to this question is different depending upon how LinkedIn is used... and we just don't have enough information, at the granular level, to fully understand that. Or do we? If so, I haven't seen it; would someone kindly point me to that information if it exists?

umaira09
umaira09

The impression is made that LinkedIn is another Monsterboard.com. I have not, do not, and will not use LinkedIn to advertise myself in finding a job but contrary do use it to stay in touch with the business network and administer groups we have created exclusively for our students. My profile is simple and straight forward and sometimes less means more. Although the article may be interesting for those who do use it to find a job, a profile is more than a self advertisting media alone.

ijusth
ijusth

the good thing about box.net is that it tells you when your resume 9or other document) was accessed. The bad news is that to find out who did the access you need to spend like $18 for the monthly subscription. I also worry that if I were to know would it be kind of creepy and stalkerish (is that a word LOL) to say, "hey saw you opened my resume ... can we talk?"

ittechexec
ittechexec

The LI Profile must be different than the resume, or what's the point? The message or "brand" should be consistent, but you are typically reaching a different audience...or at least the same audience in a different mindset...when they are reviewing an online profile. As a Certified Online Professional Networking Strategist (OPNS) specializing in LinkedIn Profile development and optimization for job seekers in the IT and technical fields (www.ittechexec.com), I have found that the summary section is the best place to "state your case" to the reader. The experience section is best presented very briefly...only highlighting key achievements. Having a solid profile is important, as more than 50% of recruiters are now using LinkedIn as a primary channel for sourcing job candidates.

impcad
impcad

@TrajMag The info listed in the article contains very little that one wouldn't be willing to offer when looking for a job or prospecting for more work. While I agree that many people expose to much personal data on social media sites, well thought out posting of who you are on a site such as LinkedIn is good advertising of your capabilities.

TrajMag
TrajMag

With all the social media vulnerability due to public posting of personal information, there should be serious doubts about putting all of this information in a public forum. It would appear to be handing out the keys to the ranch.

ittechexec
ittechexec

I agree that LinkedIn should not be used like a job board. You risk alienating your actual professional network. However, LI goes way beyond just your profile and what people see when they read it, although that's important too. Reconsider using LI for a job search. There are lots of great tools there to help you search for companies, decision makers, influencers, etc. You can find out out openings that fit before they hit the Web by looking at who is starting in a new job and what company and position they just left. Also LI Groups and Answers can help position you as an expert in your field.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you're job searching, the information indicated is pretty typical of a resume, something most people distribute widely. if you're using LinkedIn to maintain existing relationships, much of it may not be necessary. Job searching will always require disclosing some information.

loki_the_fiddler
loki_the_fiddler

Nowadays you are told not to put references and personal data on CV. The old keep it basic short is once again popular. So Add all your jobs to Linked in and describe in detail. Make sure all your courses, Cert.s and language skills etc are there.. Put you hobbies down. Even add an email that is not you main one. use a yahoo or msn alias Make sure you don't give out too much that can be used to steal your identity. so no birth place names of family or pets, where you bank or your NI. No scans of passports .. common sense to most people. Then you can create short CVs with only you name, contact email, LinkedIn URL, Professional synopsis and the newest job experiences and relevant skills. You can have multiple version for different roles. the above will likely suit that ideal One Page CV recruitment agents want. Using LinkedIn in this way protects your data as you can hide things like age and other private info. You don't even have to add it. The best thing about LinkedIn is it makes you think about your CV and the format is becoming de facto standard. Just hope they don't make the mistake and stop it being free.

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