Optimizing Your LinkedIn Account

Image Credit: Forbes.com

LinkedIn, more than ever before, is being used as a legitimate way to find possible candidates, look at potential companies and search for new careers. It plays as your very own digital and social resume. From education to work experience to the types of projects that you have worked on, LinkedIn allows you to show everything that you have done in your professional career.

So if recruiters spend only 6 seconds looking at your resume, how do you slow them down on your LinkedIn account? Below are suggestions on what to focus on in your LinkedIn account from my personal experience with recruiters and hiring managers.

  1. Profile Picture: It’s your first impression, first handshake and first name to face connection. You need to remember that this is a professional social network, so act professional in your picture. Doing a beer bong in Cancun is not really professional. I have heard so many professionals say, “Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have,” and this same thing applies for this situation.
  2. Summary: This is the bread and butter of your profile. You need to make a recruiter interested in you just from this section. Think of this as your mini cover letter. It is important to highlight some of your top experiences, skills and achievements. Don’t forget to mention a few things about yourself outside the professional realm as well. Running, Football and Skydiving are examples of things that will help you fit into an organization on a social level.
  3. Experience: This is where you should unleash your bragging skills. I personally suggest that same format as you would use on a resume, LinkedIn just allows you to enter more information and be more specific. I would not clutter each one of your experiences with every detail that you did as an intern rather take this opportunity to better explain some of the main projects that you have worked on. Remember, once again, that this is professional experience so unless those beer Olympics were organized to fix the hunger problem in the world then I would think of leaving it off.
  4. Recommendations: Recruiters are a lot more likely to believe that you developed an E-commerce site for your entire company as an intern if your director wrote a recommendation talking about it. This section is important because it provides credibility for you and all the work that you have done. Take time to speak to your past and present managers/directors about the work that you have done and have them put together a short recommendation. A manger saying that you are good at what you do goes a lot further than you telling everyone that you are good at what you do.
  5. Examples: Visuals are always a good idea. If you say that you have great Adobe skills, upload a brochure that you designed. Putting up examples of your best work allows people to see what you are capable of and also provide them with a little more credibility for your work. I would also suggest uploading your resume to the site. This way they have something to print and have as a visual.

I want to make it clear that what I am saying is from my personal experience with recruiters and the discussions that I have had with managers and directors of companies. I have close to 4 years of social media and marketing experience, both in Internships and non-profit organizational work, along with a degree in Marketing and Communications. I would not necessarily call myself an expert, just someone extremely knowledgeable in this sort of thing. I am sure there will be plenty of people that may disagree with me and many that will agree with me, either way I would like to hear about it so comment below!

Sources:

2012 Recruiter Study http://cdn.theladders.net/static/images/basicSite/pdfs/TheLadders-EyeTracking-StudyC2.pdf

Forbes.com

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