Things to Consider on Your Linked In Profile

With over 100 million users, LinkedIn has become increasingly important for the job search process and knowing how the LinkedIn Profile differs from a standard resume is critical to succeeding in landing your next opportunity.
One Profile – A great resume is targeted at a specific job. It is tailored to the job description and can vary greatly depending on what you are applying for. For some jobs, you may want to highlight your last job experience which is more relevant, while for others you may want to highlight your job from 10 years ago that required a much similar skill set than your current position. The LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, does not allow itself to be tailored to a specific job. The profile is stagnant and does not allow for multiple versions that can be sent to different employers or head hunters. This means you need a different approach than a resume. Instead of tailoring it to a specific job, the LinkedIn Profile should be tailored to all job opportunities. If you are applying for finance and marketing positions, your LinkedIn profile should highlight both skill-sets and experiences equally so a recruiter will not be put-off by the lack of experience in one or the other. Finally, remember that you still have an opportunity to send your resume later. The LinkedIn profile is merely an introduction to yourself and your experience and can be followed-up with a resume, cover letter, and in-person meeting.

It’s Public- Unless you happen to be posting your resume to public sites on the internet, your resume is usually private, and uploaded directly to employer websites or sent via email directly to human resources personnel and recruiters. Your boss probably doesn’t know you’re leaving your current position (unless of course you are applying for new jobs from your current jobs…which is a really bad idea). On the other hand, the LinkedIn Profile is meant to be public. If you update your profile, other people are notified of the update. In some ways it’s a positive- recruiters and hiring managers can find you without you seeking them out. However, it also means that those at your current job can see your activity as well. Be sure to understand the implications of a public profile and decide on how much of the information you want to make public to your contacts and to the outside public through LinkedIn settings.

Summary is Key- In a resume, there is only one page of space to capture someone’s attention and get you an interview. Thus, the top third of the resume is the most key, and most people (except students) should use a “summary of qualification’s section” that sets out the three or four reasons they are perfect for the job. In addition to the resume, the cover letter is also used to target the application to a specific employer, explaining the interest for the specific position, the company, and how your experience and skills are an excellent fit for the position. The Summary Section of the LinkedIn Profile is similar in some ways, but much different in others. Effectively used, it a short one to two paragraph description of what you are doing on LinkedIn and how people can help you. For some it may be a call for recruiters to contact them- and in this case you should briefly state what you are looking for and a summary of qualifications. For those who are not actively looking for a new role your summary should highlight your passion for a particular industry, opening yourself up to connections and networking opportunities with those of similar interests.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for actively applying for jobs, connecting with people at companies including recruiters, organizing your network of contacts, building new relationships, and disseminating your goals. Most individuals simply add some connections and think they are done- but if used properly, you should approach your LinkedIn profile with a strategy of what you want to get out of the experience. This will fundamentally dictate who you add as connections, what information you choose to include, and your actual activity on the website.

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