linkedin-connect-for-no-reasonI’ve recently come across this hilarious image:

Ditto, I thought. And immediately shared it on Facebook with friends asking a question – have they ever been recruited via LinkedIn? Before I knew it, there were multiple comments:

“I’ve found a contract through the site”, said one friend.

“I know a person who got multiple offers through LinkedIn”, commented another.

“My brother got his latest job via LinkedIn”

Someone added that they have actually used it to recruit someone.

And that got me thinking. I have a LinkedIn profile but to be honest, it’s something that I only ever look at when I get an email that someone else ‘looked’ at my profile, or endorsed me for a skill (which most often they know very little about). I do, however, often check people out via LinkedIn – to see what their expertise is, to get some more information about their experience, and often just to know what they look like (when I’m about to meet them for the first time and have no idea who I’d be looking for in the crowd).

But what if, one day, some ‘big fish’ looks at my profile? Better be ready.

So here are a few tips that I’ve gathered from the internet to prepare for the ‘what if’:

The ‘elevator pitch’ – when someone opens your profile the first two things they are going to see is your photo, and the profile summary. Make sure that they not only read it, but that they also get a good understanding (and get excited) about who you are in a professional-personal sense. Don’t know where to start? How about here.

Recommendations over ‘skills endorsement’ – okay, so your pitch promises gold. But the rest of your profile needs to prove it. Listing your experience is useful, but nothing beats a recommendation. You can get endorsed for your ‘skills’, but any LinkedIn user who has been on the site for longer than five minutes will know how far-fetched these endorsements can be. Each job you do well (be it paid of volunteering) deserves a testimonial. So why not ask your employer to send a few sentences about the great work you’ve been doing?

Make it a habit – I’ve made that mistake before. Set up my LinkedIn profile, put in the information…and then forgot about it. Make sure you keep your experience, education and any awards up to date. Make it a habit of rewarding your profile with a new entry every time you achieve something, be it a new part-time job, a prize for the best essay, or a VicPlus Award. You’ll appreciate it when putting in that last-minute job application.

Connect! You might think that you don’t really have any professional connections. Until you realise that you do. That graduate you met at a Careers in Focus event? A possible connection. The owner of a startup that you volunteered over summer with? A definite connection. A lecturer that you did some tutoring for last trimester? You know where it’s going.

Bookmark it  – you’re more likely to visit your profile (and explore other content on LinkedIn – like networks, groups, and…jobs!) if it’s easily accessible. I’ve found a few follow-worthy people on LinkedIn, and regularly look at their posts, sometimes event get brave enough to post a comment. And you never know where that might take you!

Happy LinkedIng!