In the world of digital networking, LinkedIn is King. Between its robust job searching capability, job matching tools and group connectivity, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out. But it’s more complex than just creating a profile. First, since LinkedIn shows up very high in Google searches, it’s likely one of the links a potential employer will click on when searching for more information about you. Second, it’s a more professional view of your life than any Facebook profile you’ve ever edited or created.
LinkedIn doesn’t replace your Facebook profile and Facebook definitely doesn’t replace your LinkedIn profile. Instead, together they work to create the most complete and professional view of you.
Chances are you might already have a profile on LinkedIn. But keep reading because we have ways to optimize and professionalize that profile. Start with the picture. Is the picture professional? Are you the only person in the picture? Are you wearing clothing that could at least be considered business casual? If you can’t answer yes to all of those questions, you need a new picture.
After picking the perfect pic, check out your summary section. This shouldn’t be a dry and boring reason why someone should hire you. Instead it should show some of your personality including what you love to do, what you’re passionate about and some qualities that set you apart from the job competition.
Building out your LinkedIn profile will also require detailed and accurate past employment experience. Even internships and volunteer jobs should be added before you’ve had multiple full time positions. Since companies have LinkedIn pages as well, linking yourself with the company will create an immediate, searchable network to help you begin connecting with people on LinkedIn.
After the picture, summary and past employment experience, work on joining groups and making connections with other LinkedIn members. Start with college alumni associations and college friends and move to professional acquaintances and colleagues.
You’ll notice that the more information in your profile, the more relevant the job recommendations to the right of the page become. LinkedIn uses information you’ve added to find jobs that seem suitable for your field and areas of expertise.
And another benefit of joining those alumni associations on LinkedIn? They each have job boards that are open and free to members to use. Whether you’re looking for employment or have a job to post, this is a great place to start.
One of the most fascinating things about LinkedIn is the “first, second and third degree” connections. It’s the epitome of “I know somebody who knows somebody.” You’ll notice if someone is a first degree or second-degree connection. This is another great way to search for jobs. If there’s a company you want to work for, see if you possibly have a first or second degree connection who already works there.
For additional resources about LinkedIn and setting up LinkedIn profiles, check out these two articles on technology and business site, Mashable.