This article is contributed by Jenny Wadlow.
LinkedIn is something of a phenomenon. We’re all used to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but if you are looking for a way of increasing your contacts and your business profile then a business networking site is key, and there’s no better than LinkedIn.
Simply create your profile, and hook up with colleagues, past and present. You’ll find that they are linked with plenty of other people that you may know, or you may want to be introduced to.
Working on the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory, there aren’t many people that you can’t get in touch with – everybody seems to know everybody in the business world! Job seekers, head-hunters and recruiters use it regularly to keep an eye on who’s who. So the bottom line is if you want to get ahead in your career, then if you’re not already on LinkedIn then you should be. At the last count there were 4 million users in Australia alone!
Here are some tips for creating the perfect profile (bear in mind that this is acting as your online CV).
Have a Complete Profile
If you enter some information, but leave the rest blank, you won’t look like you’ve taken it very seriously. Make sure that all of your information is filled in and up to date. Always include a professional picture – it helps that people can see you as a person, not just a collection of qualifications and achievements, and it will help them recognise you if they meet you in real life too. Beware of putting all your real CV up though – it will contain personal information that is potentially available to a huge number of people. It’s much better just to say that it’s available on request.
Optimise Your Keywords
Make sure you use the keyword facility – this will ensure that you are easily found by local searchers. For example, if you are working in the law profession, use plenty of legal keywords (e.g. ‘conveyancing’, ‘family law’ etc) that are relevant to your job and your work. Include talents that you have that future employers might find attractive too. The more keywords you use, the more likely you will end up on somebody’s shortlist of potential candidates to approach.
There’s no point in setting up your profile and then not logging in. Hook up with people, take part in relevant discussions, and make sure any new achievements or qualifications are mentioned in your profile. Aim to spend a few minutes a day checking your profile and looking at who is up to what, in order to stay abreast of developments in your field. But avoid the temptation to waste all your time on it too – otherwise people won’t think you do any work!
Remember that while you may get involved in discussions that could get heated, you are always being watched. Always conduct yourself well and remain polite and courteous at all times. Upsetting the wrong person on LinkedIn could have catastrophic results! It is much more rewarding to do people favours, hook people up with each other and generally make sure you come across as a good egg!
Jenny Wadlow is a blogger with Burges Paluch Legal Recruitment
. Her favourite pastime is reading books and watching TV. You can catch up with her on Twitter @JennyWadlow