Top Tips On Using Your LinkedIn Profile To Help You Find A Job
There's little doubt in today's social media driven world that utilising these platforms to help you find a job is a wise move. In fact, if you don't you risk being left behind at the starting blocks! And of all the social media platforms available, the general consensus is that LinkedIn is top of the pile for career minded professionals. It's THE place to be in today's professional world, especially if you're hoping to land yourself a new job. However, it does take more than just opening up an account with the platform then sitting back and waiting for hirers to beat a path to your door!
The place to start is your profile. This is the first thing anyone remotely interested in hiring you will look at. If what they see doesn't impress them, or provide them with the information they're looking for, chances are great to good you won't be hearing from them. So make sure your profile is strong, relevant, impressive, and up to date. Here's how to do that:
- First of all, remember that your LI Profile is kind of like an electronic resume! That being the case, treat it as such. Craft the sentences to create a profile that outlines your training, says what you've done, how well you did it, who you impressed / helped, and what impacts you made.
- By the same token, also remember that it's not your official resume or CV! Therefore, you're allowed to imbue it with personality, warmth, friendliness, and write with a degree of informality. Have a conversation with your audience. Include things like hobbies and outside interests in your summary so people can get to know you a bit better. It is after all a SOCIAL media platform. That means it's designed to facilitate social interaction and most people prefer to interact, even on the Internet, with warm, friendly, sociable people.
- Don't use the third person. That sounds and reads pretentious. No one likes pretentious people! This is a bit of a departure from the traditional resume but hey, as we pointed out in the bullet point above, this is a social media platform so it's perfectly fine to say "I did ……….."
- Don't be pompous. Make your experience and summary sections warm, friendly, and descriptive, not a pompous monologue that sounds more like a speech at a political function.
- Make sure your profile photo gives the right impression. The candid happy snap someone took at an all nighter is probably not the best one to use. The one that makes you look like Superman's alter ego, even though you think you come across as 'nerdy', is a better option. Better still, if you have one that portrays you skilfully carrying out some relevantly professional task, use that. Perhaps someone snapped you closely examining a very interesting looking rock or designing a super pit using some impressive looking software. Experiments indicate these types of photos attract more attention.
- Another tip to make your LinkedIn profile stand out is to find relevant job descriptions and use key words from those. To find these key words, copy and paste the descriptions into a word cloud generator and see which words and phrases are given the larger fonts in order to stand out. That will give you an idea of what recruiters are likely looking for in candidates for these positions. You can then pepper your title, summary, and experience sections with them to help make yourself more relevant to recruiters.
- However, it's also wise to avoid current buzzwords. They're the words everyone else is using so you want to stand out by not using them. Use a Thesaurus to find alternatives.
- We all know that when writing an article or advertisement you want people to notice and actually find interesting enough to read, the headline is important. The same principle applies to the headline for your LinkedIn profile. Don't waste it on your job title, or current company. People can read more about those in your profile. Use the headline to showcase yourself. What's your value proposition? What specifically makes you better than everyone else with the same qualifications and experience?
- List your skills (bullet points work best here), and describe how they'll benefit an employer. Mention the places you've worked. Include personal and business related testimonials.
- Make your summary snappy, shortish, and to the point. Let it tell your professional story, in 3 to 5 succinct paragraphs. Describe your work passions, what you're good at, your key skills, your qualifications, and what sectors of the mining industry you have experience in.
- Your summary is also where you highlight past successes by quoting figures – I was instrumental in helping XYZ company develop their 500,000 ounces per annum gold project. Indeed, nothing impresses quite as much as impressive stats!
- Recruiters are looking for, and contacting, high achievers. Be one or at least ensure you market yourself as one. You do this by using plenty of action words. In a professional capacity, the Career Network tells us that's words like analytical, communication, creativity, flexibility, initiative, leadership, problem solving and so on. Also mention your major accomplishments (like that 500,000 ounces per annum gold project you were instrumental in finding / defining / developing for a previous employer!), your promotions, and those times you were hand-picked to lead / participate in / assist with projects.
- Don't leave the Current Title entry blank, even if you are currently 'in between' jobs. Experts say one way around this is to use the job titles you're pursuing to create a 'dummy job listing' then qualify it by adding something like 'in training' or 'in transit'. So you might for example list your current job as 'Mining Engineer in transit'. In the company name box, put 'Looking For New Opportunities', 'In Transit' or something along those lines. Why would you do this? LinkedIn has many handy filters that let people like recruiters search on highly specific information, such as the 'Current Title' field. If you've left this blank, you're not going to get picked up in these searches.
- If you know anything about the Internet, you'll know that multimedia is trending right now. Visit any website these days and you'll be bombarded with content that includes videos and other forms of 'impressive' looking multimedia presentations ie side shows, GIFs and more. LinkedIn is no exception and allows you to upload photos, slide shows, videos etc to your profile. This is a great opportunity to showcase yourself in action, share a presentation you've done, or otherwise make your profile come to life in a way mere words won't do. Don't have any of these? Then add a company website if you have one, photos of projects you've been involved with, articles you've written etc. These can help to add a 'multimedia' feel to your profile.
- Another handy LinkedIn feature that can really set your profile apart from others is the Recommendation feature. How many times has someone said to you "Great job", "Thanks so much for your help" etc? Ask them to put it in writing, or in the shape of a LinkedIn recommendation. You can even strategically direct them towards the type of recommendation you want so they're not generic, or highlight attributes you want highlighted. Get recommenders to be specific about what type of help you provided, or what job you did for them, and how it helped them, or why it was a 'great job'. Develop the habit of trying to get a least one strategic recommendation per month. And if you don't like a particular recommendation, or you feel it serves no useful purpose, don't allow it to be shown on your profile.
- LinkedIn also allows skill endorsements but use them sparingly as too many can overload your profile and confuse people as to what skills you're trying to sell. Endorsements are more useful if you keep your profile up to date by adding new skills as you acquire them, and dropping off older or irrelevant skills. That way, people only see current skills and their endorsements.
- Speaking of keeping your profile updated, you should also keep your status updated as well. Share relevant professional happenings, like an article you've just written on some aspect of mining you happen to know a fair bit about. Perhaps it's about the latest automation technology, or a fancy drone that promises to take the hard work out of mapping. Updates are broadcast to your network via news feeds and also via weekly network update emails. Incidentally, offering value like this is also an excellent way to get noticed, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Recruiters like hiring experts! Another way to do this is to have a blog and then post links to your current articles.
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups and contribute to discussions, either by instigating them, or by joining in with the discussions. This is an integral part of networking and making new connections, which in turn is key to using social media platforms for finding a new job. Your new connections then show up on your profile, and plenty of relevant connections tells recruiters that you're not reclusive, are comfortable with technology and social media, and like connecting with like-minded professionals. However, also bear in mind the saying about there being too much of a good thing…. Translated, it means that if you go around sending out connection requests to all and sundry, and wind up with too many rejections because those people don't know you, you run the risk of having your account shut down.
- Don't forget to add your contact details in the contact information section so recruiters can find you. Also edit your URL and make it more meaningful than the 'serial number' you're automatically allocated when you first join. This is good SEO tactics too.
- Remember that excitement and enthusiasm are contagious, and recruiters like recruiting people who are excited and enthusiastic about what they do. It's an indication they take pride in their work, are always keen to learn as much as they can, and almost certainly impart enthusiasm and excitement into their workplace.
And finally, don't overlook the privacy settings on your account. If you don't want your current employer for instance to know you're actively looking for another job, be discreet about updating your profile. There is also a button on the right sidebar that asks you if you want to 'Notify your network' about updates to your profile. Make sure this is set to 'off' otherwise all your updates, both minor and major, will be broadcast to all your connections.