As we live more and more of our lives online, the need for a professional online persona, in addition to our margarita night persona, has moved front and centre. There is a digital platform for every facet of our lives, and that includes managing our careers. That’s where LinkedIn comes in.
The world’s number one online business directory, LinkedIn’s global reach is enormous - 260 million and growing. With over 4 million active (monthly) users in Australia, LinkedIn presents our brightest and best in the local job market, on an easily searchable digital platform.
What does this mean for professionals today? Well, it’s changing the landscape of how we recruit, how we present ourselves to talent hunters and how we connect and network with our peers.
Easy access to a huge pool of talent
If you are a talent scout, head hunter or internal recruiter, you have an incredible pool of talent to search through - more candidates than could ever walk through your door. LinkedIn has become one of the primary sources of talent in the professional world. Getting the right person for your role has never been easier.
Talent hunters monitor skill-based groups, hunting for project managers or data analysts.
They look for people who follow particular thought-leaders - helping to identify candidate’s passions and interests.
And they search for companies whose employees are known to have the skill they’re after. This is not frontier stuff anymore, it’s just the smart way to hire the right people.
LinkedIn features a pretty clever search tool to help recruiters narrow down their list. Keyword searches on skill, location, education and more are combined to give you a refined list of candidates that you can then contact and start a conversation with.
Browsing through a pile of resumes is a happily consigned to history. Because viewing a candidate’s online profile is the new CV. No need to ask for a document to be emailed when all the information you need is at your fingertips.
And with the ability for us to add media, posts and links to our profiles, the picture we present to recruiters is a much richer, fuller view of our professional selves than a CV ever was.
Burning the midnight oil to fill your vacancy? LinkedIn is open 24 hours a day.
Be your best digital self
So how do you be the candidate that shines through on LinkedIn? It’s all about profile power. In order to use LinkedIn effectively, you need to take the time and effort to set up a profile that, in its basic form, serves as your online resume and your calling card.
Your profile allows you to present yourself to recruiters, and also to network with like-minded or like-experienced professionals.
But like with all social media experiences, you can go full-bore or simply keep your voyeur skills up to scratch. We suggest the former. And there are some simple best practice recommendations for taking a simple ‘online resume’ to the next level by creating an awesome profile that will have the head hunters fighting for your attention.
Start with the basics, then expand
Firstly, admit defeat, and acknowledge that first impressions count. A professional photo will get you 15 to 20 times more profile views, which is definitely worth having.
Getting the fundamentals right seems obvious, but people get this wrong. Make sure you include your job title, your current company or client name, your location and industry. These simple pieces information will come up in keyword searches so don’t overlook the basics.
If you have something to say and can showcase your skills and experience with thought-provoking posts and articles, your profile will include these. This is a great way to demonstrate your unique talent in action.
Get the summary right
Your summary is the place to highlight for a recruiter why you’re the one. A short and sweet summary can punch well above its weight, so focus on refining this section.
Listing your top 5 achievements is a great approach here. And don’t be afraid of bullet points - our attention spans have withered away and we want our digital content short and easily digestible.
Rid your summary or industry jargon, or any language that’s too hard to decipher as it could potentially put recruiters off. Simple, common language, peppered with keywords and phrases that will put you in the right searches is what you should be aiming for.
Don’t skip the spelling and grammar check here. A typo in your pitch is going to stick out.
Look back, but not too far
Your work history is extremely important, your profile is your online CV after all.
Be precise and detailed with your information - ‘Managing a team of 10’ doesn’t tell us much. Instead, give us some fat to chew on. How did your team perform? What sales targets did you smash? What talent were YOU able to source?
Don’t leave any gaps in your work history, as tempting as that might be. Maternity and paternity leave, travelling, sabbaticals… these things show your humanity, and culturally, might be exactly what a potential employer is looking for.
About 5 years of work history is a good rule of thumb, particularly as we change jobs more regularly these days. If you have been with one client for that length of time though, adding 1 or 2 beyond the 5 years is fine. Just put yourself in a recruiter's shoes as you’re describing the Help Desk ticketing project you managed in 1998… do they need to know?
If you have videos or documents that show us something about your work history, they work well here and are stronger than just telling.
Don’t make it up
Adding skills you don’t have or including endorsements for experience you haven’t had is never a good idea. Keep it real here and you will find a job that is right for you, not just a job.
Be prepared to give a talent hunter examples of your skills in action. And keep your most important or strongest skill at the top, mindful always of that short digital attention span.
Recommendations are LinkedIn gold
CVs had references, LinkedIn has recommendations. Including a thoughtful and genuine recommendation from a well-respected peer or colleague is very powerful.
We do need an education
Don’t leave out your education. It might be a while ago, and it might not be relevant to your career today, but it presents a full impression of who you are for a potential employer and the pathways you took to get to where you are.
About 50% of the professional contacts we make in our industry are by LinkedIn. We’re not asking for phone numbers or email addresses anymore. Jumping online and searching for a profile is much easier and you can connect in minutes.
Following up a connection via LinkedIn is a way to cement the working relationship, learn from each other, be inspired, explore job opportunities or maybe even get to know the competition!
Growing your LinkedIn network can be more than following up people you meet at conferences, however. Following good thought leaders in your industry or in an area you’re interested in can be a good way to connect with like-minded professionals and build upon new ideas.
Put your best self forward
Looking after ourselves these days isn’t just about mindfulness and physical fitness. It’s about presenting our professional selves as well as we can to maximise our opportunities and grow our careers.
It’s about having a digital presence that truly represents our strengths and capabilities, and being recognised for what we can contribute to our profession, both now and in the future.
LinkedIn is aiming for 3 billion users worldwide. That’s one hell of a talent pool to be a part of and connect with.
Project Lab - LinkedIn Profile Checklist Download
Jump into your LinkedIn profile and lift it to another level today by working through our free checklist. Make one change or many, and create a killer profile that stands out from the crowd!Download / 302.3 KB PDF