LinkedIn is so important for job seekers that I felt it’s worth looking at the platform from a different angle this week. The world has been changing unpredictably since the start of our new decade. LinkedIn is changing, too, so if you haven’t updated your profile since the pandemic began, it’s time to take a fresh look.
And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile at all, it’s also time to start setting one up. You may want to open your LinkedIn profile in another tab as you peruse the following ideas:
- It’s not an online resume or job application,
- New sections and functions offer new promotional opportunities you can take advantage of,
- Employers are here, and
- Your profile can enhance your credibility at your current position.
As usual, my tips on this page are just a starting point. LinkedIn has grown into a sophisticated social media platform with many nuances—and it changes constantly.
Your LinkedIn profile page is not an online resume or job application.
Many profiles I open appear to have resume sections copied-and pasted into the dialogue boxes. This seemed like a good strategy 10 or 15 years ago, and it’s still a tempting way to get a quick start on the site if you’ve never used it and just got a pink slip this morning. It’s also ineffective.
A blank LinkedIn profile looks like an electronic resume or online job application when you open it because it has sections for your contact info, headline, summary, work experience, certifications, education, and other activities. Employers advertise jobs on LinkedIn and accept applications on the site, so you can use it as a job board. You will miss out on opportunities, though, if you treat LinkedIn as just another job posting site.
LinkedIn is a social media site, and not just a job board. That means your profile should be designed as a social media home page or profile, and not a job application. The best practice is to write it in a first-person, conversational style, and not in the terse business style we are accustomed to using on resumes.
Furthermore, you should enliven the profile by adding relevant images, including a professional headshot, and other visual content related to your job target or business.
New sections and functions offer new opportunities.
LinkedIn features and functions come and go, so you may find some surprises if you haven’t used the platform in some time. For example, you cannot add media to your “About” section, once known as the Summary, anymore. Instead, there is a “Featured” section where you can highlight posts and upload media.
Last week, we pointed out other relatively new features, including the ability to upload a 10-second audio clip from your smartphone so those visiting your profile can hear the way your name is pronounced. It’s enough time to sneak in a few words about your job target, too.
You can also upload your elevator pitch to your introduction. LinkedIn is rolling out a video introduction function that allows members to upload 30-second videos from their phones. You have access to the feature if a purple ring appears around your profile photo. Your profile may include a similar “cover story” feature if you don’t have the new video intro feature yet.
At a minimum, upload a professional headshot to your profile if you do not have one on your profile now. Profiles with headshots, according to LinkedIn, get at least 20 times more views than profiles without headshots. So you can improve profile engagement even if you are not comfortable adding video.
it’s not necessary to have headshots done by a professional photographer. Smartphone cameras are good enough for the job.
We’ll address LinkedIn video features in future posts as they roll-out, and as we learn more about these features.
Employers are on LinkedIn.
The reason most job seekers go on LinkedIn is because that’s where the employers are. According to LinkedIn about 55 million companies are on their site. At least 84% of recruiters use LinkedIn.
Of course, you’ll be interested in a small subset of those companies. Those companies may not be hiring people with your expertise right now. It does not matter.
LinkedIn will help you connect with companies you want to work for even if these companies do not have opportunities now. An excellent way to seek work is to create a list of target companies, and then identify people in those companies that may be willing to speak with you and help you out. Your network on LinkedIn makes this part easy by identifying people in your network that work for the company when you open its LinkedIn company page. Then you can message those people via LinkedIn using text, audio, or video and arrange times to chat. You no longer have to call everyone in your personal phonebook and then ask them where they work now. This is a powerful timesaver.
This brings us back to the concept of engaging connections on LinkedIn. LinkedIn can only help you connect with people at your target companies if you have built a LinkedIn network in advance. In other words, the power of LinkedIn’s company database will only work for you if you develop your own database of LinkedIn members.
Enhance your credibility at work now.
You will benefit from refreshing your profile in 2022 even if you are not looking for work now. For example, if you work in purchasing or payables functions, you can find the key players at your suppliers on LinkedIn and establish connections with them. LinkedIn also offers specific tools for B2B salespeople that need to identify contacts in their target companies. If you take the opportunity to use LinkedIn for your current role you will be one step ahead when you need to do a job search. You’ll already have a profile and a network of people in your industry.