By Nancy Wu
Whether you are a seasoned professional looking for career advancement or a young graduate just entering the job market, LinkedIn is a useful tool and a helpful network for your professional needs. At its core, LinkedIn is just a database of professionals, but when paired with the setup of a social network, can be so much more. As with CVs, hiring managers and recruiters often take 30 seconds to scan your profile and make a decision about how to proceed in the process. Thus, it can be challenging to figure out what materials to include and what to highlight.
When building your profile, keep in mind that it is intended for business use. When other professionals look at your profile, they want to see someone who is competent and who they would want to work with. Just as a resume is necessary for a job interview, LinkedIn is the online presence for your professional needs. Your profile ensures that the work you do is recognized and helps other people get in touch with you.
You may still be skeptical about the practical uses of an online resume. Keep in mind that some employers find it strange when you don’t have one. In addition, according to Forbes, 98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates (1). Views to your LinkedIn page can lead to potential hires, connections, and career opportunities. Professionals use it to keep in touch as well as their networks inevitably grow larger with time.
The first thing to take care of is to make sure that all relevant parts of your profile are filled out. The Experience section is without argument the most important one, at least for most professionals. This is where you can highlight your accomplishments at your previous and current positions. Be sure to write a description of your responsibilities at each position, but keep it succinct-not more than 4 or 5 lines of text.
Build Your Profile
Make sure your profile is filled out, and include Experience, Education, Languages, and Skills. The more you have filled out, the better. Join groups, visit pages, and be as active as your time will allow you. Like most other networks and projects, the more you put in, the more you get back.
Grow Your Network
LinkedIn is primarily a service for connecting with your professional network, so the obvious next step is to connect with other users. It’s not strange to add someone you haven’t met to your network, especially if they are in the same area or industry as you, or if you have mutual connections.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, keep your profile current and continue adding connections. You never know if a recruiter will be interested in your profile. It’s not uncommon for recruiters to find candidates across different industries for positions they had not previously considered. The more active you are, the more engagement you’ll get.