Sorry, LinkedIn is NOT going away!
If you are a business professional in today’s mainstream business world, you must have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the default first impression you are making to anyone who looks you up. Magnify this advice twofold if you are either actively or passively seeking opportunities.
Whether you are meeting a new client, business colleague, prospect, or hiring manager, you can bet with 99 percent certainty your new contact will look you up on LinkedIn in advance of the meeting — and voila! You’ve provided your first impression.
What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? What does it communicate about your professionalism, passions, interests, attention to detail, let alone career and other professional experiences?
Let’s start with the photo. I say to myself or a colleague at least once a week, “I am going to write a book and highlight all the ’humorous’ LinkedIn profiles I come across every day.” Here are a few examples:
- The headshot sporting a big grin (alcohol induced?) obviously (poorly) cropped out of a photo depicting others, in which you can still see the side of someone’s head and perhaps even a phantom arm around the shoulders. Tip: No party shots or cropped photos!
- The family photo — including the spouse, kids, and the whole fam damily! Tip: Save it for Facebook!
- The Meme. Again, save it for Facebook (unless this is the norm in your industry; if it is, you’ll know it).
- The Taj Mahal (my all-time favorite). On closer inspection, the tiny spec in the foreground is a head.
There are many other humorous, unprofessional, and otherwise poor LinkedIn photos out there. Since LinkedIn is the first impression you make, invest in a professional headshot. It could mean the difference between getting that call, securing that meeting, or being asked in for an interview.
Most people use only a very small percentage of LinkedIn’s features and capabilities. Did you know you can make your profile show up at the top of recruiters’ searches? Purchase a Job Seeker’s subscription. Learn how to tailor your people searches, and do much more. For a quick guide to making the most of LinkedIn, check out the Help Center under the “Me” tab in LinkedIn.
Without question, LinkedIn has become increasingly important to maintaining your professional reputation, and absolutely critical if you are a job seeker. I would venture to say, it may even be more important than your résumé. My advice: Implement one suggestion today, and plan to make one small improvement to your LinkedIn profile each week.
For more tips and guidance on developing a great LinkedIn profile, read LinkedIn for Personal Branding by Sandra Long and anything written by William Arruda. And you can always reach out to us, your alumni career advisors: Laurie Sedgwick or Lynne Allen. And be sure to check out other career resources on Johnson’s Career Services website.