It is extremely important for job seekers to present themselves well in today’s social media world. This article will focus on Linkedin, the most important business-oriented social networking site for professionals. Your Linkedin profile is the key component of your social media identity. It may include your professional photo, profile activity, background (overall summary, work experience, organizations to which you belong, professional certifications, skills and expertise and education), recommendations and connections.
It is not uncommon to be overwhelmed by the advances in social media. For many it seems that as soon as they master a particular technique or skill, the medium changes and everything they have learned is out-dated.
However, as difficult as it may be to keep up, the ability to do so will help set you apart from other job seekers who are late in adapting.
From our experience LinkedIn is generally the first place perspective employers look to find out more about your credentials, and it is the most powerful avenue for identifying networking opportunities. In essence, your LinkedIn profile is your online resume; it is a complete representation of who you are and why people need to pay attention to you.
Here are a few pointers: Make your online resume easy to find. The first thing to do when creating a Linkedin account is to create a unique link to your profile. The link should be in the following format: www.linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname (no capitalizations, spaces or dashes). Place this link in the signature line of your e-mail so it will be easy for interested professionals to access.
Equally important is to develop a well-crafted LinkedIn headline which appears beneath your name on your profile. Many people simply use their job title as their headline, however, being that your headline appears each time someone searches for your name, we advise Touro students to use it as their LinkedIn elevator pitch and provide some information that compels users to click through to their full profile. The headline should focus on what defines and sells them the best in 120 characters or less. That is no easy task, and this is usually the most difficult component in creating a winning LinkedIn profile. One headline example is: “Innovative, educational leadership.”
As an aside, NEVER put that you are seeking employment in your headline and do not pay for or place the LinkedIn Job Seeker Badge on your account, as most recruiters and decision makers see that as a sign of desperation.
LinkedIn experts have long claimed that having a professional profile picture makes your profile more enticing. Anecdotally it is said that it a picture increases the likelihood of your profile being viewed up to 7 times more frequently. Whether that is true or slightly exaggerated, it is quite clear that it is much easier to relate to a picture than it is to a blank screen. A professional headshot is an absolute must to remain competitive in the new LinkedIn profile arena.
If you have been using LinkedIn and viewed a profile lately, you have probably been asked to “endorse” a person to whom you are connected for some set of skills. Prior to this point, users had to write a recommendation, an individualized, longer statement highlighting someone’s strengths if they wanted to endorse a users’ performance.
Recommendations took time and effort to write, and as a result, were usually written by people who really believed in the skill of the person they were recommending. Endorsements are made with a single click and list of potential skills is provided to each user, making it very easy to endorse anyone. As a result, they are largely meaningless gestures and carry little real weight. Full recommendations can still be written, and that remains the best way to endorse a professional you feel is worthy of such praise.
However, endorsements cannot be ignored. It is important to note that LinkedIn is considering using the number of endorsements in their search algorithms so that those with more endorsements for a specific skill will show up higher in search rankings. Unfortunately, that will make the giving and receiving of endorsements more valuable even though they say little about a person’s actual ability.
To that end, you must make sure that you have a complete set of skills for other people to endorse. We advise Touro students to go beyond the basics here and detail a robust list of skills that show their highest level of expertise in their professional area.