Ready to make LinkedIn work harder for you, but unsure how to generate activity from the site? Confused as to why your Profile viewers never get in touch with you?
LinkedIn will have a tremendous impact on your job search – generating new Connections, recruiter calls, and networking opportunities – but this only happens when you actively cultivate your Profile as a keyword-rich, career-specific presentation that wows employers.
Here's a list of ways you might be dissuading hiring authorities from reaching out to you online:
Did you use that photo showing your great smile, back to the sunset, and relaxed look at a recent party? Get rid of it.
LinkedIn isn't the place for club-type socializing, and the more serious you look, the more seriously you'll be perceived in your job hunt.
The best strategy for looking good on LinkedIn? Take the time to invest in a professional headshot, even if you're uncomfortable in front of the camera.
For a reasonable fee, most photographers can not only make you feel better about the process, but also capture your personality. A conservative suit, professional demeanor, and even a little airbrushing can work wonders for your digital identity.
Sure, you've looked around and added yourself to a few of the Groups that represent your interests. But how about pushing yourself (and your Profile) to use Groups affiliated with your career targets?
For example, a business analyst interested in green energy might take a look at Groups for project managers in the environmental fields, joining categories such as climate change, sustainability, or clean technology.
Don't limit your Groups to your existing field or career level. A Sales Director could join Groups for Vice Presidents, or an Operations Manager can look for Groups of operational executives.
These affiliations can help point recruiters to your career aspirations, as well as help you rub shoulders (in cyberspace, of course) with potential new colleagues.
Didn't finish your degree? Not sure how to show language fluencies? Wondering where to list certifications?
These are crucial pieces of information recruiters will seek, so it makes sense for you to dig a little deeper into the site, and get your credentials fully updated.
College studies that didn't culminate in a degree can still be included on LinkedIn. Just open up the Education section, click on Add (or Add a School), add the university name, and indicate a field of study. Dates and Degree aren't required.
Certifications can also be added as a Field of Study, with the certifying body listed as a School within the Education section.
You'll also want to take note of the newer Sections, listed right underneath your Summary when editing the Profile. Here, you can add anything from Projects to Languages and Skills – all of which will be used to index your Profile for recruiter searches.
You'll get out of LinkedIn what you put into it, just like any other job search tool.
Paying attention to your Profile information and the level of professionalism it exudes (or fails to show) will make a difference in the job opportunities that come your way.
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Connect with Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert, on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/laurasmithproulx.