Using LinkedIn to Optimize your Online Profile

Using LinkedIn to Optimize your Online Profile

By: Kristine Hur | Communications Student
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Let's face it, it’s not uncommon nowadays to Google or Facebook search someone after meeting them for the first time. It has become a rather ubiquitous social practice, and many employers and recruiters are also taking part in this trend. However, if you are like most people, Facebook is social and personal (more or less) and is probably not something that you would openly present to your professional contacts.

The increasing migration towards the net has created an online social networking boom, with each platform promising to work better than the last. Businesses and employers are constantly moving online, and as a communication professional, you need a public profile that will showcase your experience and personality.

With over 161 million users around the world, LinkedIn boasts the world's largest social network for professionals. Dubbed the "Facebook for professionals", it is one of the fastest growing networking platforms, and its members are both professionally and regionally diverse. Knowing how to use and navigate LinkedIn is a must, as young professionals are increasingly encouraged to have a keen awareness of social media trends. It is no longer enough for one to simply have a profile. LinkedIn is a powerful career and networking platform - one that is often undervalued and under-utilized. Here are some key ways to leverage LinkedIn to enhance your online presence.

Experience- Show What You Have

LinkedIn allows you to showcase everything you have accomplished thus far under the "Experience" section within your profile. What you can include in that section is pretty similar to what you would write in your resume: job title, name of organization, duration of work, and a description of what you did. However, unlike a standard resume that is generally restricted to two pages, information capacity on your LinkedIn profile is relatively infinite. When applying for a position, candidates are often encouraged to keep their resumes to the standard length, which forces them to succinctly tailor the contents to the position. Although this has its benefits, a LinkedIn profile that acts as a 'master' resume can show the depth and variety of your experience, and your potential employer may notice transferrable skills that you may have forgotten to mention in your resume or didn’t even know existed.

Networking for Success

LinkedIn's counterpart to a Facebook friend is called a connection. This series of connections ties users together to form the network of LinkedIn. More connections mean a bigger network, and that network acts as a window of opportunity for the user. LinkedIn defines connections as "trusted friends and colleagues", but there is no real definition. Nonetheless, your network defines who you are, especially on a domain as public as LinkedIn. Try to make meaningful connections, but don't shy away from connecting with individuals who could serve as gateways to networks that are relevant to your career.

Recommendations

This feature allows you to ask your connections for recommendations that will be displayed on your LinkedIn profile. It may not make or break your chances of getting the job, but it is definitely an enhancement and will give employers a better picture of your overall competence. Like your connections, the key is to solicit meaningful recommendations. It is better to have few excellent recommendations from people you've worked with closely than to have several mediocre ones from your friends and all of your past supervisors. In addition, when asking for LinkedIn recommendations, think twice before clicking on that "Ask for recommendations" button! Reach out personally; send a personalized request, pick up the phone, or ask in person.

Portfolio - Chance for Creativity

Use your LinkedIn's digital resume to showcase your work. If you have previous experience with video, photography, digital media, or other creative applications, show it! LinkedIn lets you link external sites through your profile. Use this feature so that employers or recruiters can access your work and get a better understanding of your creativity, and personality.

 Although it is important to be aware of many different social media platforms, it is perhaps even more significant to have an in-depth knowledge of each one that you are a part of. If you already have a LinkedIn profile, you are on the right track, but be sure to invest some time into tweaking your profile. LinkedIn is a powerful platform, and the amount of time and effort that you put into perfecting your profile and presence will be positively reflected on your own career growth.

Posted on June 25, 2012