Are you using your LinkedIn profile to its fullest?
Or is it starting to grow cob webs?
Hiring managers, HR and recruiters are increasingly using social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to choose or drop potential new hires.
You want to make sure your profile is half way (if not all the way) decent when looking for work in your chosen industry or building up your reputation while still at a job.
Here are at least 11 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile right now in 2012 (beyond just having a complete profile).
1. Give Yourself a Good Headline
This is the section right under your name (in the picture above it’s where “Definition” is).
This is something of an art.
It could be the definition of a word that describes the results you can give to a company.
Ex. Negotiator: finding ways over or through a difficult path.
It could also be a bold career driving statement that says out loud, “This is what I can do for you!”.
Ex. Guaranteed to bring you over $xxx in annual sales.
Ex. Helping you communicate your message to xx million customers through direct marketing.
2. Write a Great Summary About Yourself
You’ve got to tell your story in a way that matters to your industry or field.
Get a resume writer, career coach or marketer to help summarize your top 3-5 accomplishments through analysis.
In addition you want to show a bit of your human side in your biography like what you do in your spare time.
Help break the ice with people who drop in – give them something to relate to.
3. Explain Your Successes
If you’re just throwing down job titles without details you’re making a mistake.
You want to tell readers, hiring managers and recruiters what you did, why it was important and how it helped the business or organization.
That way they know what you can do and you’ll be more than just a floating job title.
4. Strangers Should Become Contacts
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is all about networking and professional activities.
There’s no worries that someone is going to be watching your personal life or vacation plans.
LinkedIn is made for building up a network with a wide variety of contacts from different fields or careers.
In nature, the ocean or forest with the greatest variety does the best – it’s the same with your network.
5. Update Regularly
Every time you change your profile you pop up in the news feed of your LinkedIn contacts.
It’s definitely a less annoying way of saying, “Still alive! Remember me?”
Small tweaks are all you need to stay fresh in people’s minds.
6. Join LinkedIn Groups
One of the easiest ways to add someone you’ve never worked with or have no email address for is to join a group they’re in.
Since there are a limited number of groups you can join make sure it’s someone you really want to connect with in your industry or field.
7. Find Old Friends on LinkedIn Classmates
One of best ways to find a job is through your university or college contacts (one of the tactics in my book).
LinkedIn has done some of the heavy lifting for you by creating a rolodex of former university students and where they’re working.
Whether they’re a stranger or an old friend you have a foot in the door of their attention when you share the same university.
8. Add Skills
If your’e serious about being found by headhunters, recruiters or hiring people then adding skills you have is one way to make that search easier.
If you’re working in the tech industry this is big (i.e. Oracle, SAP, MS Access database, UNIX, etc.).
For everyone else, it’s another way to find something in common.
9. Tell Them Where You Are
Recruiters or people who are doing some networking research often search in a certain distance from their own city or the city of the job in question.
If you’re somehow missing that “Toronto, Ontario, Canada” or “Atlanta, Georgia” you could be invisible to these kind of searches.
10. Add Your Resume
There are certain things LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to do on your profile that you could do on your resume.
Your best references or testimonials are always lower down in the page when they could be higher up for example.
If you have the chance to share your resume you might as well take it if being found on LinkedIn is important to you.
You could use one of LinkedIn’s widgets like SlideShare.
You could include a link to your resume in your summary section near the top of your profile.
You could also link to your personal web site if there’s a resume page on it (maybe with a downloadable file).
11. Reply to People Most of the Time
To get the most out of LinkedIn you have to make it a conversation.
Reply to messages, invitations or questions that come your way through LinkedIn when it’s reasonable.
Maybe you can recommend someone else if you’re still in a job for a position sent your way?
Think of ways to offer value to your connections who turn to you for advice.
These are 11 ways to make your LinkedIn profile the best possible calling and business card you can make it.
When you’re connecting with target companies, hiring managers or recruiters your well made profile will command more attention than an empty or clumsily made one.
Whether or not you’re job hunting or building up your network.
So what actions will you take to improve your profile today?