LinkedIn has been around for some time now. The site was founded back in 2002, two years before Facebook, and boasts some 433 million users. This week Microsoft announced they will acquire the business for $26.2 billion.
Up until very recently, many people I spoke to about LinkedIn simply mentioned the annoying emails the site produced on a daily basis. It is universally acknowledged that nobody wants to "congratulate John on 5 years in his job".
LinkedIn is so much more than the annoying emails and here's why.
LinkedIn is a professional social platform. On it a person can upload information about their professional life, the work history and their ambitions for the future. This data paints a particular image of a person and is in the full control of the user. This is important.
If a potential employer or professional acquaintance searches for you ahead of an interview or meeting, what would you rather they see: an online CV, boasting your best bits or images of you having too much of a good time at a music festival?
The reality is, people search for people. It's the way things are done now.
Populate your profile
Users need to think of LinkedIn as their online CV and should use it to put the best professional version of themselves forward. Peter Cosgrave, Director of CPL Resources has seven tips to help your digital CV stand out from the crowd:
- All Star: Start by understanding that your Linkedin profile is something that you would like to be found by potential employers and to do this it needs to be competed in full. When you have fully completed your profile it will tell you are an “All Star”. This is critical to ensure you are found, so first things first become an “All Star”.
- Photo: You must have a professional photograph which represents you appropriately, it is how you would like to be represented professionally, people do make instant judgements. So ensure it is not your wedding photo, a social photo, look at Linkedin and you will get a good idea of what is appropriate. Unlike a cv you do need to have a photo.
- Look & Feel: Have your profile proofread before putting it live. Just like your CV, you can't afford to have mistakes on your LinkedIn profile. Ensure you break up the text so it is easily read and ensure you keep it concise. Your Linkedin profile should have the jobs you have worked but does not need to be as lengthy.
- Accomplishments: It is important to understand that anything else you have done that you can add to your profile e.g. blogs, documents, presentations you have written, videos and achievements should be included as Linkedin makes it very easy to include these on your page
- Skills and Recommendations: Add skills to your profile as this again helps you get found and makes it clear what your expertise is. It is also great if you can have a recommendation form a former employer or colleague.
- Content: Share relevant updates as this helps others see you promoting your knowledge or article of interest, but more importantly share other people’s articles as they always really appreciate this. Also look to join relevant Groups on Linkedin which will help build your network.
- Live: Remember that the LinkedIn CV is a live document, so keep the document updated – it is a live document so update your content regularly