Social networks have forever changed the way that we communicate and interact. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide us with the ability to stay in touch with family and friends, meet new people, join groups of like-minded folks, and even build our personal brands.
These networks also play an important role in how you are viewed professionally. Organizations that are considering bringing you onboard are going to check your social media profiles to learn more about you. We wrote about how to make sure that you are not hurting your chances of getting a new position in our blog from June 2016 titled, Is your Personal Brand on Social Media Networking Sites Costing You?
One of the first social media places that will be checked is your LinkedIn page. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site available today. It is the only place you can go online where you will have access to millions of people who are there specifically to do business. LinkedIn is strictly used for exchanging knowledge, ideas, and employment opportunities and has increasingly become a leading tool for helping individuals expand their networks as well as find jobs in their field.
Executive search firms will also encourage you to be active on LinkedIn. They know that you miss out on opportunities to market yourself if you are not on. Not being on the site can give potential employers a negative opinion of you. Not having a profile can cause people to think that you don’t care about your professional image, that you are “behind” and don’t know how to use social media, and that, maybe, you are not ready to compete in this new, connected world.
In fact, today about 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool to find candidates to present to their client companies seeking top-tier talent. I am sure that you now understand how important it is for you to be an active participant! Let me share with you some of the key steps that you should take to leverage the power of this professional networking site.
1. Make Sure That You Use A Professional Headshot For Your Profile Picture.
Our brains are wired to use pictures to judge whether a person is competent and trustworthy. Potential employers, and people to network with, are going to be looking at your profile picture. Your profile picture is the first step in establishing that you are someone to know, are likeable, and are trustworthy.
2. Make Sure That Your Profile Is Complete And Up-To-Date.
Executive search firms want to see your work experience, education, and accomplishments. Incomplete profiles make it more difficult to determine whether you are the best match for the job because an interested party can’t get the “whole picture” of you. It’s a bad first impression. Take the time to have your profile complete and up-to-date so that it tells your “story” in its most powerful way, and helps you to stand out from the field.
3. Create A Powerful Headline.
On some pages within LinkedIn, your Headline is the only thing that is shown besides your name and photo, so you want it to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to continue reading. A good rule of thumb is to use the Headline as an opportunity to share your Value Proposition. Your Value Proposition is a statement that will tell potential employers what qualifications and skills that you bring to the table, and how it will benefit their organization by hiring you. This statement will convince a potential employer that you will add more value to their company than other candidates vying for the position.
- Join Groups that have been created around the field(s) of employment that you are interested in.
- Share Content that members of your network will find valuable. You can write them yourself, curate them, or share links to other people’s work. This is a benefit to those that follow you, while also letting them know that you are staying on top of important happenings in your industry. LinkedIn also has a great platform where you can publish long-form articles and blogs, giving you an even greater opportunity to display your knowledge and authority around pertinent topics in line of business.
- Make it a habit to comment on other people’s posts in your network. This not only makes the author feel good in knowing that someone finds value in what they are putting out, but it is also is an opening for you to establish communication with that person and others who are also commenting.
While we have not covered everything about this powerful platform, hopefully you see from this blog the importance of being active on it. The last piece of advice that I will give you is to observe how people use the site before posting. LinkedIn is not like Facebook or Twitter. More than a social network, it is a powerful business-networking tool so the types of content that people post on it are different. You will be able to pick up on it fairly quickly and then join in!