I’m assuming your LinkedIn profile is complete, you have a clear and flattering photo, (head and shoulders). You have completed details on your career history and have joined a number of groups. Let’s look at what else you can do to boost your career prospects.
- Everywhere you appear online should be consistent – your CV, LinkedIn profile, any comments on blogs and elsewhere should provide a consistent message. As your CV and LinkedIn profile are the two major marketing documents for your job hunt, you want to make the most of both. Whilst wanting them to be consistent, this is not just using the same text. Your LinkedIn profile should be more friendly, a less formal version of your CV. It’s a missed opportunity if you just repeat yourself. You have more words available on a LinkedIn summary so you can take a more chatty style and personalize it, write ‘I did…’ rather than always starting with an action word. Do check dates and job titles are the same or else the reader will wonder which is true. It’s also a good idea to have the same photo across all accounts, it helps you to be recognized (and build your brand) and we all have one photo we love. Look up any references to you online and check that you are happy that they support the person you are now and for the job you seek. You may have written articles for an online site when younger that aren’t inline with the views you now hold, so ask for the article, or at least your name to be removed. You may need to negotiate and provide them with an alternative article.
- On LinkedIn keep seeking recommendations, but also be open to endorsements. Whilst the recommendations are great for the richness of what’s written, many people don’t have the time or desire to write them for you. What might help is to ask for a recommendation and include specific details that can be included, even drafting a paragraph for them to edit. Endorsements are much easier to give, (think of a FaceBook like), and it’s the pattern that can be appealing to a recruiter. When they look you up, and they will you want to see your key skills being recognised by others as being endorsed many times and being higher on your list of skills, reinforcing your strengths.
- Think keywords. If anyone is searching for a new employee they will look for the key words relevant to a particular job, so make sure anywhere you appear on line, especially in your CV and LinkedIn profile that you include relevant key words for the job you seek. Not sure what key words to use? Look at job ads and job profiles and start making a note of the ones that appear most frequently. But you can’t just list key words on your CV and on LinkedIn and think that’s enough. For every word you list you must be ready to provide an example at interview if asked.
- Get found. Beyond an effective profile make sure you participate in groups. It’s easy to sign up for lots of groups and then barely make an impact, lurk rather than contribute. What works best is to choose a few groups but be active. Also take a strategic approach, think about the people you want to meet, people who work within your field, or the field you are trying to break into – the managers, the recruiters, possible colleagues. Get involved and after sussing out the set up start to comment, make suggestions, and then you can ask to connect, by sending a personal message, and then move things on through a phone call or meet up.
- Increase your online presence through blogging, it doesn’t have to be your own blog, most blogs accept guest posts. Think about what is pertinent to your career field. Whereas in the past you might have submitted an article to a journal and it could take months to go into print, now you can get your article live very quickly. Make sure to publicise this on your LinkedIn profile and Twitter feed, you can have a link from your profile page to 3 websites and Twitter, so use them.
- Go beyond words. If you are a decent presenter, create a YouTube channel and post short videos related to your field. You could do summaries of books, address a topic with 5 key points, talk to some slides in the background. Before you make it live gather feedback and make sure it presents you well. If you find it hard to sound enthusiastic and engaging in this situation, and need to use your notes you may prefer to talk over some slides, including your photo, that way you can refer to your notes.
What next? A good plan is to capture details of everywhere you appear online and take a critical stance, reviewing everything but in particular your LinkedIn profile against your CV. Then think which way of building your reputation will be best for you – to write articles, produce a video, or involvement in groups. Whichever you choose, be clear on what your objective is and make sure to use relevant key words to increase your chance of being found.
Brought to you by Denise Taylor, career coach and chartered psychologist with Amazing People. Denise is regularly featured as an expert on the Guardian Career Forums and is the author of 7 books including ‘How To Get A Job In A Recession’