The rapid growth and now the norm of ‘doing it all online’ is self-evident: shopping, travel, banking, booking cinema seats etc. LinkedIn is part of this brilliant social media circus, the main difference being that it’s more professional than purely social and offers specific ‘professional’ benefits to its rapidly growing user base.
One of the key benefits on offer is using LinkedIn to actively search for a new role – a career move – and as increasing numbers of recruiters and employers turn to LinkedIn for inspiration, the platform it offers can be highly attractive, both to them and to you.
There is a mistrust of social media which mostly comes from the sort of negative publicity that surrounds the leaking of personal data and information; and this involves some of the major players in the field. But the growth of social media is truly astounding, and most people have embraced it, and benefit hugely from using its many forms e.g. LinkedIn.
LinkedIn’s purpose is to link people professionally and will also attract not only those who wish to change careers, but those who are recruiting others. These days, recruiters and employers are much more likely to check out your LinkedIn profile – possibly even before they look at your CV. It tells a more ‘rounded’ story about you the individual, and so you have an excellent platform from which to appeal to a huge audience. However, as this is, in many ways, a fishing expedition, you need to keep the ‘bait’ attractive. Therefore, it’s a platform that needs regular changing and updating if you have any hope of being noticed.
It’s estimated that over 50% of the UK working population is on LinkedIn, and that is a truly gigantic marketplace! (And it’s growing, especially as the more dormant users become aware of its possibilities and suddenly appear from under the covers.) Tapping in to that staggering number of people, with one click, can reap great rewards; but you must work to a plan.
This is, after all, a marketing exercise and, as with any marketing exercise, you must first define the product (you), decide what market sector you wish to appeal to and how you’re going to do it. It’s believed by many that LinkedIn is just another form of your CV; but it’s not. Your CV and your LinkedIn may hold similar information about you, but one should essentially complement the other. A CV tends to be formal in style, LinkedIn is informal – even ‘chatty’ – and with a good, confident photo of you (vital). It should be a true reflection; the real you.
With LinkedIn, you have several useful tools at your disposal, and they offer a wide format that includes your main profile and skills section, endorsements and, crucially, recommendations. A recommendation from a good source will endorse what you’ve said above. (You can even add relevant extracts from it to your CV Profile section, which will have the same effect.)
LinkedIn can be your shop window and we all know that people will lose interest in a shop window that stays the same – month after month. So, it needs to be constantly updated. The purpose here is to alert as many people as possible to view your page, and thus attract the interest of recruiters and potential employers. By constantly updating – however slightly – you will make yourself more visible, more interesting; more employable.
LinkedIn offers a tremendous medium both to recruiters and job-seekers alike. However, for the job-seeker it must be planned and executed, using all the ‘tools’ they provide, including the use of recommendations. To capitalise on the vast potential market it offers you must not only ensure that your profile is ‘visible’, but that it is be updated regularly. Make sure that your profile matches their needs and grow your network so that others might help in your promotion. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful job-seeking tools at your disposal. You must learn to use it.
- Keep your profile up to date
- Be comprehensive about current skills and objectives
- Highlight your recent experience
- Seek and use recommendations from others