Is your LinkedIn profile working to its full potential? Whether you think you’ve got every area covered or have no profile at all, it’s likely that LinkedIn expert and author Tim Savage has got hints, tips and advice that will ensure you’re utilising this essential career and networking tool for maximum impact.
Reticence and self deprecation have no place for a job-seeker
It can be easy to feel as though you’ve ‘lost your brand’ when you leave the Services but now is not the time to ‘undersell the great work that you’ve done’.
Tim says: “People in the Services have a tendency to ‘be a bit British’ when it comes to telling people what they’ve done.” He adds: “Translate your skills and talents into something that can be understood.”
OA consultant Lisa Jones comments that ex-military may feel uncomfortable with what could be perceived as ‘bragging’.
This is in part because the military is very team-focused and people are not used to presenting their individual value and talents. She says: “Your profile gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills, the value that you bring and your expertise to overcome any potential employer’s problems.” Lisa also emphasises focusing on their problems, not your own!
“Be factual when describing your accomplishments – this is what I’ve done, this is what I’m good at.”
Dos and Don’ts of your profile picture
- DO have one! You’re three times more likely to be viewed – it can also serve as a reminder of who you are if a contact has met you before.
- DO get a professional shot. Use a white background and ensure you’re looking to your left in the picture so that your face naturally follows the text on your profile.
- DON’T wear uniform or casual clothes. Where appropriate, wear a suit and tie, although some organisations do prefer a less formal look.
- DO save your picture under your full name. You’re then more likely to turn up in Google images.
- DON’T include your children, partners or other people – no hats, head dresses, sunglasses, or anything else that will obscure your face!
Use Your 120-character headline wisely
The general public (employers and recruiters included) have little clue about the difference between a ‘corporal’ or ‘colonel’ so don’t waste your precious characters on these titles.
John Smith, Business Change Specialist or Qualified Logistics Expert will hold far more weight, and explain far more, than John Smith, Squadron Commander.
Include qualifications where they’re necessary for the role, example, ‘CIPD-qualified HR Manager’ but lose some of the more ‘spurious’ qualifications.
Don’t be afraid to look at people’s profiles
It’s important to get away from the idea that we’re spying – these are public profiles where you can glean very important information from. It also shows that you’ve done your research, you’re engaged and interested. Tim says: “I know employers who will expect you to look at their LinkedIn profile before an interview. If you don’t, it will count against you.”
Ask and ye shall get
Again, it’s important not to be too humble here. If you’ve done a good job, do not be afraid to ask someone for a recommendation, most people are happy to help. If you’re asking someone who’s particularly busy, write it yourself (again, don’t be too humble!) ask them to check it, and they’ll invariably make it better.
Online etiquette (or net-iquette) is just as important as being personable when you meet someone face-to-face. When you ask someone to connect, don’t just send a standard email, personalise the message first.
Please listen to Why You Need to Start Using LinkedIn Properly in its entirety here.