Recently LinkedIn proudly announced to the world that it had reached 200 million profiles. Quite a feat for the worlds number 1 professional social media site. With so many professionals now on LinkedIn it becomes increasingly more important to stand out from the crowd, or at least, avoid some very costly mistakes. After all, your online presence may be the first impression a recruiter has of you, and first impressions count for a great deal. As recruiters, we often get approached by candidates through LinkedIn asking to connect with them. For this to work, you need to have a profile that creates a good first impression of you. The great thing about professional social media sites like LinkedIn is that you have the opportunity to shape that critical first impression. A recent article on Recruiter.com highlighted three ways in which LinkedIn profiles affect professional perception. In particular it mentioned three mistakes people make which can lead to a poor first impression. Those were;
1) A lack of a profile picture
2) No cohesive self-branding
3) An unattractive headline
The lack of a profile picture immediately makes a poor first impression. The article points out that some people may feel that it will ‘help them avoid discrimination of any kind’. However, without a profile picture, it is more difficult for people to develop a connection with you. And in the age of digital media, which so often can appear sterile and in-human, this connection is critical. Equally as bad is a poor quality or unprofessional photograph. See this website for some examples of what we mean.
Also cohesive self-branding is important on your LinkedIn profile. What this means is that your resume, your recommendations and your overview should all roughly be similar. It is not a good idea to have a scattered approach to your LinkedIn profile. Sure you can have had different jobs throughout your career to date, however you should be able to draw out common themes among all of these jobs in order to make your profile appear focused. So if you are a sales professional your profile should be focused on sales, accounting for accountants, and so on. You can make this brand as detailed as you like, right down to the books you are reading being featured on your profile.
The final point (regarding an unattractive headline) is not so clear cut. The article points out that it is not enough to merely have your current job title as your headline, but that you should try to do more to stand out from the competition. However, from a cursory glance at LinkedIn, you will see that the norm is to have your current title as your headline. For those who want to play it safe, using your current job title seems to be acceptable. Once you have a clear brand on your page, making more of an impact with your headline will be easier to do.
A word of caution, remember always that a carefully honed LinkedIn profile will make a good first impression, but it will not get you the job on its own. Networking, Interview technique and Reputation will all still have a part to play. At BluEra, we don’t rely on LinkedIn to find the perfect candidate, why should you rely only on LinkedIn to find the perfect job?
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