In light of the fact that the social networking site, LinkedIn has become a source of choice for people who love to hire passive job seekers (those who may not actually be seeking a new job), I thought it would be a good idea to remind readers to pay attention to your LinkedIn profile.
First, a note on visibility: If you use LinkedIn, you know that your visibility goes up the more links you have. Your second- and third-degree connections help put your profile in front of more people. I am a 3rd degree link to all three candidates for President! (Yes, Obama, Clinton, and McCain are all on LinkedIn!)
There are several ways to increase your connections. The preferred way is to link with friends and colleagues. When I started on LinkedI, I persuaded a friend who always sends mass emails to a g’zillion friends to join LinkedIn. In about a day, she had more than 100 connections, all of which became my 2nd degree connections.
Another easy way to increase your visibility is to link with a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker). These LIONs have over 500 connections and welcome any invitation to link. You gain visibility to all of their connections with the click of a mouse.
Your profile: First things first -- be sure that anything in your profile is spelled and punctuated correctly! Typos scream “don’t hire me” to anyone with a critical eye. Have someone with an eagle eye or a professional proof your profile.
Especially if you are looking for a job, focus your profile to include skills and experiences that will be of interest to potential employers. As with a resume, don’t just list what you did; help the reader envision you working for them by highlighting your skills and accomplishments. As you would with your resume, use active and interesting language.
Unlike a resume, you can use mini paragraphs in your profile. Keep it short -- large blocks of text are hard to read. It should be somewhat conversational to grab the reader’s attention. It is okay to use “I," "me," or "my” in your profile, unlike in a resume. (Don’t overdo it, though. You don’t want to appear self-centered!)
Make use of the “headline” feature. It goes right under your name and is the first thing people see. If you are a marketing professional, you can say so! Maybe you are a “skilled problem solver and community builder.” Think of a tag line that grabs attention and describes you.
I really like the “Summary” and “Specialties” sections. This is where you can briefly sum up what you have to offer. If you have a “Highlights of Qualifications” or an “Accomplishments Summary” section on your resume, it should be easy to transfer it to LinkedIn. The “Specialties” section is like a list of tags -- keywords that describe you and your work.