Like many others who have learned to embrace LinkedIn, I did so when I was in transition. I realized that I had not been digging my well before I was thirsty, and I vowed to not only build up a larger network, but also to both stay in better touch with that network as well as provide more value to those in my network.
As I mentioned in my very first blog post “15 Ways to Grow Your LinkedIn Network”, you should always be filling out your profile for every company that you have worked for. The reason being that not only will you find all of your past colleagues, but you will also be found by others looking for you, both people you used to work with as well as recruiters potentially looking for talent from a specific company. The same goes for your past education. And you obviously should have a crisp Summary at the top of your profile to introduce to the world who you are.
In terms of a resume, then, you should have the same Summary, Experience, and Education in a LinkedIn Profile that you would also have in that resume that you use when applying for a job. What makes your LinkedIn Profile more accurate then?
- Your Profile Reveals More About Your Personality & Passions. Your LinkedIn Profile goes well beyond a resume in terms of giving you the ability to list your interests, associations, as well as display those LinkedIn Groups that hopefully you’ve become a member of. People interested in learning more about you can glean glimpses of you in these sections. Furthermore, if you are utilizing the Answers section to answer questions or even taking part in LinkedIn Groups discussions boards, anything that you went out of your way to respond to or help someone on reveals a little something about what makes you tick. Your Status Update is also revealing something about you depending on what you write, and that is why I urge you not to use it to merely tell people that you are unemployed.
- Your LinkedIn Profile is More Socially Credible. Come on, anyone can pay someone to draft up a great resume. But could you pay off all those executives and former managers who are putting their reputations on the line to write you a great Recommendation? Probably not. And to those who say you don’t want too many Recommendations, I say the more you have the more credibility you have, so long as your Recommendations are legit.
- Your LinkedIn Profile is Public Domain. You have connections in your profile that can be researched. You are advertising yourself to the world, or at least the 40+ million members on LinkedIn. If you are lying, your trusted connections, co-workers, or friends won’t let you get away with it. With a resume, no one is checking it except for people on the other end who know nothing about you. And, believe me, they are checking your LinkedIn Profile to make sure it matches up with your resume! That’s right: the accuracy of your resume is being confirmed by your LinkedIn Profile. That in itself should tell you how accurate your LinkedIn Profile is thought of as representing the real you.
So what should all of this mean to you? You should be utilizing LinkedIn to the fullest to show off your strengths. If not, it may be working against you if your competitors are doing so and you are still not displaying much of anything. After all, in this day and age, what professional isn’t on LinkedIn? And, if you’re on, you need 3 Recommendations in order to get to 100% profile completeness, so why would you avoid getting recommended by your ex-bosses and colleagues? And don’t you want to show the world that you are at least social media savvy by having a complete LinkedIn Profile? I heard a true story today of someone who got a $10,000 signing bonus because they were competent in social media. That’s right, the ability to understand and utilize social media is something that companies who don’t understand it will pay for.
Start thinking about your LinkedIn Profile more seriously. Brand it with keywords you want to be associated with and show off your interests and passions. It will all add to a more accurate representation of who you are, and that can only work for your benefit.