One of the biggest changes in the job search process over the last 10 years has been the introduction of LinkedIn profiles to the professional landscape. The importance of social networking has emerged over the last decade through recreational sites like Facebook and Twitter. But now LinkedIn has emerged as the elite professional networking strategy for individuals looking to expand professional horizons. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 150 million international members while continuing to rapidly grow. It is vital for you to create a LinkedIn profile because it is discoverable through the millions of searches on LinkedIn as well as on search engines like Google. You are in charge of managing the LinkedIn profile and you will be in control of the information, personal connections, recommendations, work history, and education that the public sees. It is up to you to disseminate information and include the data that is highly marketable to other companies. This is a first step in taking advantage of branding opportunities while showcasing your talents and what you have to offer. This will ensure that the right people and opportunities find you in a highly competitive job market and employment landscape.
In order for you to successfully leverage all that LinkedIn has to offer, it is a good idea to keep these simple tips in mind. First, you should be sure to add a picture to the profile because your face will never change and hiring managers / other individuals will not forget a face. It was also proven that profiles with pictures are 9 times more likely to be viewed by other LinkedIn users. Another tip for LinkedIn users is to completely fill out the experience and education sections. Some people tend to only add a current position. It has been proven that LinkedIn users that add one past position in addition to the current position are 7 times more likely to be viewed by others. Although, LinkedIn recommends that the best results come from adding all positions. Another tip for using LinkedIn is to connect to at least 50 trusted contacts. This has been the proven number that has produced positive results. Someone in the network may know “a friend of a friend” for connections or contacts in organizations that you do not have. This is a great networking opportunity for all parties because each person has a unique contact base to offer and potentially leverage into new opportunities. Another tip for LinkedIn users is to get 3 recommendations for the profile. Having a few actual recommendations on file gives more validity and credence to the LinkedIn user. It will also give hiring managers the opportunity to learn about you through the eyes of another professional or contact. Since LinkedIn is such a great marketing and branding tool, customization will help take your profile to the next level and maximize its effectiveness.