Thursday, October 28, 2010

14 ways to make LinkedIn work for your career

By Louisa Veidelis



Whether you’re happy in your job or are itching for new opportunities, signing up to LinkedIn and exploring its features can open up many opportunities for your career down the track.

LinkedIn was launched as a professional networking site 2003 and has become an essential networking tool, with 875,000 users in Australia, more than 50 million worldwide and many employers using the site to recruit staff.

So it’s time to stop ignoring all those invitations, and get linked in now.

1. Starting out: promote yourself
Admit it – do you Google yourself? Well, prospective employers will be sure to check out your online baggage too. Interestingly, an effectively built LinkedIn profile will appear above your Facebook page in search results, which gives a better first professional impression.

Once you sign up, change your profile to public in the ‘edit profile’ options. You can also customise your URL to make it more user friendly, featuring your first and last name. You can now include that URL on your resume and on your personal business cards.

2. Reconnect with old contacts
Finally, here’s a way to reconnect with old colleagues and people you meet at networking events. Better that industry contacts see your amazing work history rather than those embarrassing Facebook pics of you on a pub crawl.

Any less than 30 connections can look a little lonely but don’t go crazy adding every Tom, Dick and Harry – limit your connections to those people you truly want to stay in touch with.

And if any undesirables request you as a contact, you can simply archive their request to avoid awkwardness.

You also have the opportunity to view the connections of your connections (or, ‘second-degree connections’). If you would get in touch with one of them you can simply ask your contact for an introduction.

3. Connect your websites
LinkedIn provides a central hub to connect all the various websites displaying your ideas and skills – including Twitter, blogs, your portfolio and company websites.

4. Include a photo
While the jury’s still out on adding a photo to a traditional resume, including your headshot in your LinkedIn profile is a good way to add your personality to your profile. Make sure it’s a professional-looking shot – it’s not the place to show off your latest designer bikini.

5. Get headhunted – use keywords
LinkedIn recently revealed that over 1000 companies in Australia use LinkedIn Talent Advantage to hire. Companies advertise jobs on the site and search users to find people with the exact skills they need. Promoting your skills effectively could the difference between being noticed and missing out.

People can search the database using keywords. Search results are displayed by keyword relevance, with the most important words being those included in a user’s headline and summary. Keyword density is also a factor, so try to repeat your main keywords a few times throughout your profile.

6. Create a strong headline
LinkedIn will make your current job title your headline by default, but you can change this to something more impressive or eye-catching. For example, if you are a freelance proofreader, you could make your headline ‘Independent Editorial and Proofreading Professional’.



Tips 7 - 14 and Original Article

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