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Optimize Your Professional Networking Connections with LinkedIn

Hi everyone,

LinkedIn is a social network that allows professionals to connect to each other, display recommendations by co-workers, and participate in discussions through interest groups. How can you create a professional profile that will attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers?

I attended a presentation by Gigi Simmons, a Human Resources Business Partner at EMPLOYERS®, a provider of workers compensation insurance to small businesses nationwide. Simmons, who has attended several LinkedIn conferences, was kind enough to share her insights with students and staff on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, on October 24, 2013 as part of a “30 Minutes to Success” series presented by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Here are some of her tips:

  1. Create your profile on www.linkedin.com. Your profile serves as a first impression and establishes your personal brand, which is your online workplace persona. Be sure to include a professional picture of you. It will increase the likelihood of contacts responding to your invitations to connect. Often times, you may meet potential employers at Career Fairs, but those employers speak to hundreds of people a day, so a photo of you on LinkedIn will help them recognize you (you may be required to enter their email address to send them an invite). To stand out, include a headline that describes what you are currently employed at or are trying to achieve. For example, Gigi’s headline is: “Partnering with You to Help Achieve Your Career Passion.”
  2. Stay active. Once you create your profile, post articles of interest and comment on others’ activities. For example, if you attend a lecture, post how much you enjoyed the presentation as an update on your own profile or comment on the presenter’s post. Recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential job candidates and will notice if your profile has been dormant. Find an interest group and contribute to discussion threads. Remember, keep your comments professional. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter or potential employer to see. Pressed for time? Schedule 10 minutes a week to keep your activity fresh.
  3. Highlight your story. When you list your experiences, remember that your LinkedIn profile acts like an elevator pitch. Recruiters will only spend a few minutes looking at your profile, so make your achievements stand out. Your LinkedIn profile is like your digital resume. If you are also uploading a hard-copy of your resume, take out your address, because potential employers will contact you by email or by phone.
  4. Follow companies you might be interested in working for. Recruiters can see which companies you are following, and if they already know you through an interest group, they may spend more time reviewing your profile.
  5. Know the difference between endorsements and recommendations. Anyone who is connected to you can endorse that you know a certain skill, but written recommendations by former employers or co-workers can be even more helpful.

Do you have a LinkedIn success story to share? Feel free to contribute to the discussion by commenting below. To request a full copy of my notes from Gigi’s lecture, please go to www.WritingandEditingToday.com/contact.

Have fun connecting on LinkedIn!

Gina

Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today, and provides social media management and builds WordPress websites and blogs for authors and small business owners. To learn more about her products and services, please visit www.WritingandEditingToday.com.

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