Looking attractive is no longer just about how we dress and whether we’re having a good hair day – it’s also about how socially attractive we are on social media. Getting socially savvy can help change careers and make sure we’re found by the right recruiters and colleagues. The first thing most employers do now is to Google potential candidates – and Linked in usually appears at the top of the search results. So if you don’t have an online profile – you could be missing out.
Whether you’re ready to move on to the next stage of your career, starting a new business, returning from maternity leave, or coming back after an extended period of leave – we’ve compiled some of the best tips to make sure your online presence shows just how fabulous you are.
What does your online brand say about you?
What first impressions would someone get about you if they googled your name? The founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos said ‘if you don’t create your personal brand – it will be created for you’. Potential employers or colleagues will form an initial impression of who you are within a few seconds of looking at you online. In this article we’re going to focus on your LinkedIn profile, however it’s also worth checking that:
- privacy settings on your Facebook are activated so that personal information and pictures don’t become public
- friends haven’t tagged you in pictures (that you wouldn’t want to be public). If they have un-tag yourself and politely ask them not to post any pictures of you
- you’re happy with any tweets you’ve posted or re-tweeted. Once it’s online its there to stay. That’s not to say you can’t express your views or opinions, its just making sure that a throw-away comment doesn’t come back to bite you.
- Getting started
If you’re creating a LinkedIn profile from scratch, or want to update your existing one, it’s helpful to have a look around at other profiles to get some inspiration. Pick people that you respect and admire, or who do a similar job to you and see what they’ve included. If you don’t want people to know that you’ve been checking out their profile you can change your viewing setting to “anonymous” in “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
Don’t be an egg-head. LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams reveals “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photograph. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.” Invest in getting a professional shot done – or at the very least a friend with a good camera. LinkedIn isn’t the place for a slightly fuzzy cropped shot of you taken at a friend’s wedding – no matter how much you like the photo.
Think of this part like a newspaper headline – it should sum up who you are and entice people to want to read more. Jane Heifetz (founder of Right Résumés and Harvard Business Review contributor) recommends that we use the 120 characters available to write our own eye-catching headline – rather than letting LinkedIn auto-populate it.
Use your summary to highlight past achievements and where you see yourself going next. Write it in the first person e.g. ‘Having worked in financial services for eight years I’m now looking to…’ rather than ‘Fiona has worked in financial services for…’ This makes you sound more human and personable. Think about what skills you want to demonstrate and include these in the summary. This will make you more likely to turn up in search results when an employer looks for a particular skill e.g. ‘project management’.
- Get specific
Keep your profile up to date with as much information as possible. Your profile is 15 times more likely to be viewed by adding the industry you work in and 10 times more likely to be viewed if you add your education. A lot of this information can be taken from your CV (insert link to previous article). Avoid simply cutting and pasting the information across. Think about what skills you want to showcase and make sure that you add in qualifications and experience that you have.
Invite one or two people to recommend you – ideally people who can endorse the key skills that you’re trying to promote. You can then re-order the list to highlight the skills you want to showcase – making sure that they get noticed first.
- Be sociable
If you join relevant groups and take part in discussions, not only will you learn and be up to date with industry trends, but it’ll make your profile 5 times more likely to be viewed by potential employers or clients. It’s also worth sharing updates and liking updates that others post – this shows that you’re up to speed and engaged with the world around you.
- Gaps in your work experience?
If you’ve had some time out from the workplace, include any volunteering experience you’ve had. The good news is that 42% of hiring managers surveyed by LinkedIn said they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.
- Work in progress
It can annoy your contacts if they’re alerted to every little change that you make. So when you’re in edit mode, head to your privacy controls. Turn off activity broadcasts and change the setting for “select who can see your activity feed” to “only you”. This way you can edit to your hearts content without letting everyone know.
- Get going – now!
Whilst you’ve been reading this list – have you been mentally making a checklist of what you need to do to update your profile? If so, start now. If the throught of doing it is filling you with dread – chunk the task down. Commit to doing just 5 minutes on it today. Often starting is the hardest part – at the end of 5 minutes decide if you want to keep going. If you do – great. If not, come back to it tomorrow. 5 mins a day for the next week will make a big difference. After all – that dream job or promotion might be just around the corner – so don’t miss out!