he more time I spend on LinkedIn, the more convinced I become that every serious professional needs to spend less time on other social sites and focus on LinkedIn. With the high rate of unemployment in Zimbabwe, I think we need to be spending more time on LinkedIn than Facebook as it is a place that can land you your dream job! LinkedIn is a social networking platform that connects professionals and it has the largest professional network with 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe. LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with fellow professionals and here I want to list some of the reasons why you might want to consider spending less time on Facebook and Twitter particularly if you’re a professional.
I must admit, I do not have the best LinkedIn profile there is, but a look at my profile can give you insight into what one needs to have an all star profile status. LinkedIn is a great platform to create an online brand, distinguish and position yourself as a professional.
- Have your real name and professional picture
Social media has led to many people creating pseudo names, something which is quite prevalent on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. However when it comes to LinkedIn stop it! Make use of your real name as it appears on your personal identification documents. LinkedIn is a serious platform and thus desist from having funny names or nicknames on your profile. In addition, you need a professional picture and you do not need to go for a professional shoot but any picture with you either dressed in formal or looking serious should do. Do not have pictures of you on the beach or in a bar as your profile picture. See below an example.
- Include your current position
If you’re employed, include your current position and the company you work for on your description. I’m the more convinced that in next few years in Zimbabwe recruiters will first check your LinkedIn profile before they invite you for an interview (it’s already happening). As such include your current title and or position on your LinkedIn so that potential recruiters can easily identify with you. If you’re currently not employed, have a snippet of your skills and state that you’re actively looking for employment. LinkedIn requires you to include at least 3 positions you’ve worked in.
- Showcase your experiences and education
As alluded to earlier, LinkedIn is for you to connect with fellow professionals and one way to do this is to showcase your experiences and education. Your experiences is what potential recruiters look at, where have you worked and how skilled are you in your area. In the experience section, list all the skills, competencies and abilities you’ve acquired over your professional career.
- Include honors, awards, publications, certifications,
LinkedIn gives you a unique opportunity to brag about your achievements and can’t think of a better platform to showcase these! Including your honors, awards, publications and certifications will greatly improve your profile strength and make you more attractive to potential recruiters. If you’ve images, pdfs, or presentations of work you’ve done, you can also upload this content to further improve your profile strength.
- Start connecting with colleagues
LinkedIn has over 300 million users and if you’ve completed your profile, now is the time to start creating networks with like-minded professionals. I’ve created so many networks with people within my field and abroad through LinkedIn. Instead of acquiring friends on Facebook, you’re better off creating networks and connections on LinkedIn.
- Join groups and follow companies!
After completing your profile and connecting with fellow professionals, start following companies and join groups that interest you. As a digital marketer in the telecoms industry I naturally follow companies like Econet, MTN, Vodacom, Airtel etc and I’m part of social and digital media groups on LinkedIn. You will be amazed at what you will learn as you devote time to LinkedIn, reading articles and being involved in discussions.
- Land the dream Job
The beauty about LinkedIn is that it connects you to potential recruiters and if you’re looking for employment then spend more time on the jobs section. LinkedIn automatically selects jobs that you may be interested in based on your profile keywords, if you’re into digital, you will get digital related jobs only and that’s great for all job seekers. I’ve had so many people call and want to do business with me sorely because of my LinkedIn profile and I’ve no doubt that as you focus more on this platform you will land that dream job you desire.
In conclusion, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for you to market yourself as a professional and create business networks. If you’re into the B2B market, spend most of your resources on LinkedIn and you will be amazed at the leads you will get for your business. Make it a habit that every day you check your LinkedIn profile the same way you do for Facebook or Twitter!