Occasionally I will meet someone who is new to the job search who does not have a LinkedIn account….or they barely have one. They frequently ask for a “laundry list” of what to do first. Here is what I tell them.
The first thing to do is to complete the basics.
Name. I think that would be obvious.
Job. That is called “Professional Headline” on LinkedIn. You can say more than simply “Software Engineer.” You can say “Experienced Software Engineer, Project Manager, JAVA, .NET, C#” You have up to 120 characters to give us a snapshot of what you do. Just DO NOT say, “Job Seeker.” There are reasons for not broadcasting your status as a job seeker on LinkedIn.
Experience. Add something on each significant job back as far as you think makes sense. 15 years at a minimum. For me, despite the fact that I am looking exclusively for marketing / business development positions, I also include a little bit about my software development experience “umpteen” years ago. That is because my specialty is high-tech marketing and I want to establish some credibility as a techie.
And complete the information on your education. The “field(s) of study” entry can be particularly useful. If you studied Marketing and did some extra work in International Marketing, you might want to include that in this area if you are looking for an international marketing job.
Post a good photograph of yourself. I always get a question about this. People simply do not want to put their image on LinkedIn. Recruiters turn off the photograph option when they go looking for candidates. It is an EEOC thing. There are more benefits than downside to having a good photograph of yourself on your LinkedIn profile.
Get at least three recommendations, starting with your most recent job and working your way back. This helps you stand out when recruiters search for people with your job history. This is a LinkedIn “insiders tip.” It makes you rank higher in LinkedIn.
Join some LinkedIn groups. If you are a job seeker, join some of the job seeker groups in your area (e.g. CareerDFW.) Join the alumni groups from all your former colleges. Join the “alumni” groups from all your former employers. Join groups devoted to your profession. There are a ton of them. This will increase your email traffic (a bad thing, generally) but it makes you look more engaged. It also helps you connect with people who might be able to get you that next great job.
That is my laundry list. That should keep you busy for a day or two.
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing