In my last blog post, I talked about the importance for any aspiring or working professional (inside OR outside of HR) to not only have but actively use LinkedIn. When I say “actively,” I mean actually use it. Many people will set up a sub-par and boring profile, and will only get on the site when they have a new invite connection. Having a LinkedIn just to have a LinkedIn defeats the purpose of it all together. You don’t put all that time and effort into constructing a resume to not use it. Same goes with LI (abbreviation for LinkedIn…kind of like FB for Facebook). It is still a social networking site, so you need to be social.
I will give you some simple but effective tips to amp up your LinkedIn page.
1) Picture: You need to have a photo of yourself. I find it very annoying (and I’m sure recruiters do as well) when you see this faceless image on someone’s profile. It should look professional, so a good head shot of you in interview attire is great. I currently do not have any good picture of myself in a suit or tie, but when I do I am changing it immediately. Now, some people are afraid of discrimination or something. First of all, recruiters should know the law and wouldn’t risk doing that. Plus, if a recruiter actually does not have any human decency and would discriminate against you because of what you look like then would you really want to work there? Now, if you have a picture of yourself shotgunning a beer that may be different (e.g. DON’T do that), but if you follow my advice with the head shot then you should be good. I mean, you don’t go to a career fair or an interview with a bag over your head?
2) Tagline: Most individuals’ taglines will say their current positions at their jobs. It also already says that in your work experience section. Instead, it should be something about you that is distinctive. My tagline says “Budding HR Professional and Graduate Student”. Maybe not the most impressive title but it is still a much more interesting than “Human Resources Specialist”.
I’ll use my best friend Eric J Dosch for example. His LI profile currently says “HR Intern at ExxonMobil.” First of all E, your internship is over. Second, I almost slipped into unconsciousness from reading that tagline. A better version would be “Experienced Veteran and Graduate Student Emerging Into The HR Profession” (or something along those lines). This comments on his a) work experience b) veteran status because many employers look for that with their EEO stuff-my past internship did and c) that he is emerging…aka has HR experience but needs a job. You’re welcome Eric. 🙂
3) Posting: YOU NEED TO POST. It shows that you are actively on LinkedIn and that you can be contacted. As I said before, some people don’t use LinkedIn, and if you don’t look like you use it than a recruiter may not make the effort to contact you. Now you don’t have to go crazy like Twitter and they should not include how excited about the EOTW you’re going to like on Facebook. I normally like to post things that are work related or things that I am doing at work. However, they should not be things you complain about, because you don’t want your coworkers you’re linked to to tell on you. My team had a retreat on Wednesday, so I posted about that. If I can’t think of anything, I will normally try to post something related to the business or the HR world (or whatever your profession/career might be). Today, I posted a link about how the US economy has added 103, 000 jobs in the month of September. This also shows that you’re knowledgeable about your field, the world of business, and that you care about the news (hint: Twitter is a really helpful source of info in, more or less, real-time). I check LI at least once a day I’m at work to post something.
4) Recommendations: You know how employers do reference checks? BAM. No need if you already have a professional who has given you a strong recommendation. The more the merrier (for my current job I would love three). I currently do not have any recommendations, because my old boss doesn’t believe in LI and isn’t social media savvy. But I’m working on it …
5) Website: Putting a link to your company, student organization, or school website is good. TIP: LI will give you a list of options like Personal Website, Company Website, etc and then you can add the link. When you go to someone’s LI, it just says “Personal Website.” INSTEAD, you should use “Other” and then you can put a name to your website. So instead of “Company Website”, I have “Columbus St. Community College”.
6) Summary: Once again, try not to be boring. I talk about what I do, what I want to do, and eventually a generalization of my experience and skills. But you also want to demonstrate you aren’t a robot and was born with a soul, so I also put some personal information about how I support Nationwide Children’s Hospital and have a link to my BuckeyeThon page so people can donate money. I would leave out stupid quotes and how you like cars or shopping from this summary.
7) Specialties/Skills: Definitely have them, but be real about them. Just because you took a Research Methods class, does not mean that is your specialty. No one likes a liar, and that is embarrassing if you can’t demonstrate it in an interview.
8) Resume: There is a nice feature that allows you to upload your resume. Make sure you adjust the formatting, and if you have already put up some positions, make sure you delete them so that it doesn’t show that you were a GA five times on your work experience. NOTE: Just because you have the option to write more about your experience doesn’t mean you should. No one cares about every single thing you did…keep it standard resume length.
9) Publications: This may not apply to a lot of people, but we are in grad school. You may want to include a thesis, long paper, or anything published here. I was a journalism major in undergrad, so I posted all the stories I wrote. I will probably delete them later in my work experience since I have switched career paths.
10) Education: Include it. Also, this is where you can include that extra stuff that your one page resume did let you fit in about student organizations and leadership positions you were involved with. You can also get recommendations, but that is not as important as the ones from your employer (maybe helpful if you don’t have that much work experience). ALSO: Listing “Graduate Student” I think is fine if you’re unemployed for occupation but listing that you’re the “President at [Student Org]” under Education is something I wouldn’t do (but that’s a personal opinion).
11) Groups: JOIN THEM. Ones in your profession, ones in industries you are in/would like to get in. This allows you to expand your network with strangers. And many recruiters will join groups related to their industry to find talent.
12) Honors and Awards: Once again, I don’t have room for this on my actual resume so list them here!
13) Contact/Personal Information: You should have the information you want posted so that you can be contacted. You should also have an open profile so that recruiters can look at you, and definitely do not make it so that someone needs to know your email to link with you. Also, make sure people can InMail you. Don’t give people to much work to contact you or they may not bother. PS: information about your birthday and marital status are irrelevant.
14) Using Connections: Once you’re linked with someone you can go through person’s links as well in your search for whatever (so get started!). Also, there are a number of search features you can use to ID what you want to look for.
Like FB, when it comes to LI, you shouldn’t just go and link with random people. You’ll look like a lunatic, and it will probably get denied anyway. The best thing to do is to ask if it is okay to link with someone you don’t know by sending them an InMail. Normally, if you explain why you would like to link with them, instead of doing it, you appear like a rational human being, and it is more likely to be accepted. Plus, by establishing communication you are doing that whole networking thing. Asking to be someone’s LI friend really isn’t that much networking. Recruiters tend to do the same.
Sorry this was lengthy but hope this was helpful. Feel free to link in with me here (no need to InMail)