If you’re looking to return to work after a long time home with family, your new best friend is Linkedin. Back in the day we all got chummy with various recruiting firms and waited for them to give us an interview schedule. Now it’s up to you to make things happen, and all the action is on Linkedin.
Though Linkedin seems pretty straightforward, there are many less obvious ways to maximize this mega-networking tool. Linkedin is always adding new features, so you have to read everything you can about the latest tips and strategies.
One must read is an article by leading career coach Lisa Rangel—“How the New Linkedin Profile Can Affect Your Job Search”—excerpted below. Lisa is an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, and you can find lots of valuable job search information on her web site, Chameleon Resumes.
According to Lisa, here’s what you need to do because of recent Linkedin changes…
- Get the right Linkedin picture. The picture on the new Linkedin profile is bigger than before and more visually prominent. So not having a picture or a poor picture choice is much more obvious. Invest in a professional picture or just choose one where you are professionally attired and closely cropped–not just a cutout of yourself amidst your friends at a reunion.
- Set up your Linkedin Skills section and get Linkedin Endorsements. Linkedin endorsements matter, regardless of some opinions that they are too easy to obtain or possibly dilute your recommendations. I have not received information on how they directly affect your profile’s placement in search results (I asked my Linkedin contacts—but apparently talking about their search algorithms is like asking for the Coca-Cola formula), but I was told “emphasize endorsements” when writing this article. You can see in the new profile that the Linkedin Skills section housing the endorsements is prominently displayed.
- Make the most of your Summary and Headline. With the number of recommendations and website links de-emphasized in the new profile, it is crucial to optimize the selling points and communication impact of your Linkedin Summary and Linkedin Headline (can also be known as the tagline under your name).
- Zero in on useful data. As a culture, we are infatuated with infographics, pictures and visual demonstrations of data and this fact has not gone unnoticed by Linkedin in its new profile design. For example, in the righthand column of the new profile, you can see stats about your network (or others’ networks) visually outlined with graphs and other tools. It’s easier to identify which of your contacts have connections at your target firms, unearthing more opportunity and inspiration–without having to always go to the advanced search function.
- Be active in the Linkedin community. Activity is more prominent and valued on the new Linkedin profile. This is not surprising given that Klout, Facebook and Twitter are placing more weight on live (versus scheduled) engagement with users and sharing information with your connections. Now when someone looks at your profile, they see how active (or not so active) you have been on Linkedin and how often you have posted/shared relevant information. Staying current on your profile will be more important now than ever.
- Provide complete contact information. Now that contact info is neatly hidden in an Address File—there is room for your Twitter handle, three websites, company web address, phone number, and email address. The Address File is at the lower righthand corner of your intro box—alongside your Linkedin url, which you should still customize to a vanity url. The new format makes it easier for you to find info to contact people on your target list and simpler for hiring managers to contact you.
That’s the name of the game—making your Linkedin profile more robust and user-friendly so that more hiring managers and influential networking contacts find and connect with you. Take the time to make your Linkedin profile as professional as your resume, and the path back to work will be shorter and more direct. (And P.S. that’s a screen shot of my Linkedin profile above–connect to me and you’ll see more than 4,000 interesting professionals who could be of great help as you return to the work force.) —KAS