Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Maximizing the Impact of Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has become the biggest, most successful online business networking platform. It has more than 400 million members, spanning more than 200 countries, and continues to quickly grow. Employers use LinkedIn as an effective tool to search for candidates, so making a good impression on LinkedIn is important.

I recently chatted with Orion Recruiter Sultan Camp, a Navy veteran, who joined the Orion team three years ago. Sultan has a wealth of experience in career and social media consulting, and gave some great tips on making your profile catch the eye of both recruiters and employers:

  • Select an appealing photo: Your photo is the first aspect of a profile that an employer or recruiter views on LinkedIn. In choosing your picture, keep in mind the nature of your industry and what the ideal employee in that industry looks like. For example, in conservative industries such as law and finance, it’s probably best to wear professional business attire and pose in a traditional setting. However, creative types like graphic designers have more leeway in choosing a picture. Regardless of your industry, your picture should be professional looking.

  • List specific accomplishments in your “summary” section: Think of your biggest achievements related to the career you are seeking, and list them in the summary section. Use specific examples and numbers when possible. For example, it is more effective to state that you increased sales 30% at your company than to say you have three years of experience in sales. Sultan also suggests to include the word “transitioning” in your summary or title. This makes recruiters and employers more aware of your position.  

  • Include your contact information in the “summary” section: According to Sultan, recruiters like it when candidates list their email addresses and phone numbers in the summary section. If you aren’t comfortable with putting your personal phone number on public display, you can get a free number from a service like Google voice.

  • Describe your experience in civilian terms: Sultan also suggests that in your background and previous job sections, use civilian (not military) terms to describe your work history. These terms will make it easier for recruiters to understand your accomplishments and credentials.

  • Include Multimedia: Pictures, videos, and documents all help add to your profile. They serve to paint a more complete picture of you than just text. They can also showcase specific achievements. Include links to any other internet presences you have, such as a blog or website (assuming it is professional).

  • Ask for Endorsements (good) and Recommendations (better): Endorsements are good because they demonstrate social proof - they show that other people believe you are effective. Recommendations take that proof a step further, because they are more detailed, personal, and specific. Reach out to colleagues, former supervisors, and others and ask for a recommendation.

  • Share content that is relevant to your industry: Sharing information like this shows that you keep up to date with current trends and are knowledgeable about your industry.

  • Publish articles related to your field: Writing articles is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge, intelligence, and writing skill. Articles also show that you think critically about your industry and can articulate ideas well.

Having a professional LinkedIn profile is an essential part of your online visibility and an important step in beginning the search for your post-military career. To learn more and gain additional tips on using LinkedIn, join us on May 17 at 5:00 pm ET for an informational webinar, “LinkedIn for Military Professionals,” led by Sultan Camp. Register today.

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