In this online; fast-track technological world that we live in, it is no longer sufficient to just have the old-fashioned word document or hard copy CV. Yes, you still need to update and maintain your word document CV, but what is more important is that you also have an online CV. This allows recruiters; head-hunters and future employers to find you, rather than you having to take the time to find them.
One of the best social media platforms to self-promote yourself is Linked In.
This article looks at the basic do’s and don’t with setting up your Linked In account.
Follow the structure of your CV
This is where your hard-copy word document comes in handy! All you have to do transcribe the details that are contained within your CV onto the Linked In platform.
Use the same position titles and details that are within your CV.
Ensure that you complete all sections:
- Your full name – no nicknames!
- Current position
- Your educational background
- Your work history
- Skills that you possess
This is the fairly easy stage to populating your linked in account as you will receive prompts on any outstanding information that you need to include.
Be clear on your purpose of using Linked In
At some point in populating your Linked In account, you will be asked – “what are you looking to gain from Linked In?” Your options include anything from job opportunities, to networking, to business ventures.
As an example, If you are a business owner – state this fact clearly – it will avoid recruiters from approaching you.
Be descriptive – add details – in summary format!
It never fails to amaze me how many people do not add the details within their linked in account.
When I speak to some people – they admit that they are afraid that their current employers might read some of this. My response, “So what if your boss is within your network on Linked In? – this is your account and your space to self-promote yourself – so do it!
Add the detail within the educational and work experience slots.
My suggestion is to include your top 3-5 highlights per qualification or job title.
If you passed a course and achieved top honours in it – then include this within your Linked In account!
If you were part of a team or led a team to success within a particular job – summarise this on Linked In!
Key word here is to include the details as a summary!
This is not the time to write a thesis – you are also being measured on how punchy and professional you are as a business writer.
So, it is advised that you read and re-read your submission before you post your online CV. Make it a habit to regularly read and edit your submission as well as update for your recent work experience or qualifications.
Include a summary of yourself
Just like you would with a hard-copy CV – you have a cover page. The “summary” page within Linked In serves this same purpose.
Avoid saying things like:
- “Sarah has experience in the financial service industry” (Third party) or
- I have experience in the financial service industry (First party)
Instead include objective statements like:
- Financial service experience
- Attended xyz University and graduated top of MBA class
- And include a summary of your specialties.
Ask for recommendations
This is so vital! This section is what will separate you from the average Linked In account profiles!
Just as you have “references” on your CV – ask people that you have worked with – either from your educational background or your work experience, for a recommendation on you. The people providing you with a recommendation will have to be a Linked In user as well.
And don’t worry – you will have the chance to review the recommendation first before you agree to have it displayed within your profile!
Recommend other people within your network
If someone has recommended you – return the favour and send them a recommendation to include within their profile.
This is a good networking skill and we can all help each other to achieve our individual career objectives.
The number of recommendations that you receive and the number that you give are also displayed as part of your profile – it only adds credibility to your online profile.
Be clear about your skills – ask for endorsements
In the skills areas – if you are an excellent presenter or public speaker – include these as your skills and then ask people to ‘endorse’ this skill.
Profile picture and position
You MUST have a profile picture. There are hundreds of account users that I come across that surprisingly do not have a picture of themselves on their profile.
The picture itself must be a head-shot, shoulders and above. Ensure that the lighting is good and that you are professionally dressed.
As an example – don’t include a picture of you washing your car in your shorts!
Follow “Group Discussions”
There are many ‘group discussions” that you can follow – depending on your interest. These groups send out regular updates and information that you can opt to receive or not.
You can also use the benefit of the group to pose questions and receive advice on.
The groups and companies that you follow are also displayed on your on line profile – giving a 3rd party more details to learning and understanding your interests and hobbies.
Grow your network
Once you start your online profile – set an objective to grow it. This is similar to networking within a room – instead of leaving with a stack of business cards you will have a host of online connections that is accessible to you.