It seems odd then, that the vast majority of people – not just graduates – see the job of creating their LinkedIn profile as a chore. They see writing their profile as something to be dashed off as quickly as possible. They are making a big mistake by doing this.
Your LinkedIn profile can be extraordinarily useful to you as you look for the right job, especially if, even before you log in to LinkedIn, you consider the following.
Your LinkedIn Profile – Who Is It For?
You are not writing a conventional social media profile when you start work on your LinkedIn profile. You are writing for a clearly defined and professional audience. You are probably writing for prospective employers, for recruiters and for those who can promote you in the world of work. Remember this.
When you start to think about your LinkedIn profile, ask yourself what each of these groups will want to see.
Make a list.
Imagine you are a graduate recruitment manager or a graduate recruitment specialist. What are you looking for when you look at a LinkedIn profile? Spend some time thinking about this. Then think about what you can do to make the lives of recruiters and senior managers easier by including in your LinkedIn profile the information you know they will want to find.
- They will want to learn about your qualifications and experience – so tell them.
- They will want to know about the sort of role you are looking for and the industries in which you would like to work – so tell them.
- They want to know why you are a good fit for a role they are looking to fill – so explain why you are a great choice for the type of role you are looking for.
- They want to see a well-written profile – so practise writing your text on paper. Write several versions. Only when you have revised and polished your work should you think about logging in to LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn Profile Is Not A CV
CVs and online biographies are quite different. Did you realise this?
A CV is a tool used primarily by recruiters and HR managers to help them with recruitment and selection activities.
A CV is a summary of who you are, what you have done, what you have achieved and a chronological account of your career to date.
An online biography is different.
Your LinkedIn profile is an online biography so do not treat it like a CV. Make your LinkedIn profile individual. Make your online biography interesting. Bring out your personality.
Make sure you include all the things that a CV would contain, but include more. That doesn’t necessarily mean explaining why you support a particular football team. It does mean writing something that will make your LinkedIn profile a bit more memorable – in a positive way – to the people who read lots of online biographies and LinkedIn profiles.
Note, for example, that you have the opportunity to upload videos and slideshows to bring what you are saying in your profile to life. (See the diagram.) Take the opportunity to do this.
Your LinkedIn Profile And Your Secret Weapon
There is something else to include in your LinkedIn profile that most people do not do. They rush the writing of their profiles without much thought. They upload them and forget about them.
You know better.
You know there is something else your LinkedIn profile must have, even when you have finished writing about yourself.
That is your call to action.
You know it is important to encourage the people who read your LinkedIn profile to do something as a result of reading what you have written about yourself. At the very least encourage that HR person or the recruiter you have been writing for to get in touch to learn more about you and maybe to get hold of a copy of your CV.
Your LinkedIn profile’s call to action is your secret weapon. Use it and use it well. Do not allow someone to leave your profile without encouraging them to learn more about you.
Make Your LinkedIn Profile A Career Asset
Increasing numbers of professional people who are serious about their careers pay attention to their LinkedIn profiles and work hard to build their online reputations. As you start your career, or move to the next part of your career, make a commitment to use LinkedIn well. It will stand you in good stead if you do.