TL;DR – It’s also about getting your profile out there!
The economy isn’t doing well. It seems that retrenchments are happening left, right and centre. If you are looking for a job, it would be a good idea to think of any ways and means to improve your chances. One way is to have a better LinkedIn profile. After all, this is the age of social media. Many recruiters and companies find their potential hires through LinkedIn.
I, ermmm, am fairly new to LinkedIn (yes… I know… quite a dinosaur). I wasn’t sure if what I’ve put on my LinkedIn profile was… you know… good enough. So I attended a talk organised by NTUC as part of their U Future Leaders Programme on how to improve a LinkedIn profile.
The talk was given by Chris J Reed, one of the few LinkedIn power profiles in Singapore (I didn’t even know there’s such a thing!). He built a business around advising people how to improve their LinkedIn profiles. His tips are fairly common sense. But I know that often, common sense isn’t that common.
He talked about quite a lot of tips. I think his tips can be grouped into the following three groups.
Create a consistent and enticing branding
From your profile photo to headline, from summary to your skills, make sure that you make use of all the real estate available to you on LinkedIn to build a consistent branding. That branding should tell people looking at your profile why they should get to know you better. It should tell them what value you can bring to their organisation.
You should smile in your profile photo. Your body language should exude confidence yet be welcoming. After you’ve got your profile photo done, you should get your headline right. Your headline appears every time you share something, or when someone else tags you. Other than your profile picture, the headline is what people will see most about your LinkedIn profile.
Your headline emphasizes to people what you are really good at. It should be specific, yet concise and interesting. As Chris said,
“A catchy headline captures the curiousity of LinkedIn members. Highlighting your specialities here helps to increase your search rankings.”
Then there’s your summary. It’s 2,000 characters of real estate on LinkedIn where you can tell your story. It’s a chance to summarise your experiences, skills, what makes you interesting and a great addition to any team. Make use of this space well!
Also, post links, and, if possible, video clips relevant to your previous work. This is a great way to let people see the quality of the work that you have already done.
It’s all about who you know
Most successful people will tell you that it’s not about what resources you have. It’s more about who you know. And that’s where LinkedIn becomes really important. LinkedIn is a social networking platform. Reach out and connect to people in the industries you are interested in. Build on those connections. You never know who you might meet. So yes, network, network, network!
Also, remember to join groups. You can join a maximum of 100 groups. But don’t join 100 groups. That makes you look desperate. Join active groups relevant to your industry. Then actively engage with group members with trending content.
It’s not just new people you connect with on LinkedIn. Get people you already know to endorse and recommend you on LinkedIn. Having recommendations and endorsements can increase your chances of landing your dream job. As Chris encouraged:
“Never miss an opportunity to request your employer to leave a few lines of appreciation!”
But most importantly, let LinkedIn members know the best way to reach you. That way, you can effectively increase your connections and grow your network.
Chris told us that a great way to extend our networks is to contribute to our networks. He encouraged us to write blogs and create contents to share our opinions with the LinkedIn community. Well-written blog posts on LinkedIn get shared around. It means that more people get to see your profile. And if done well, you can even position yourself as a thought leader or domain expert, just as he has done.
We can also supplement and complement original contents that we write by regularly sharing curated articles that are useful to the groups and networks that we are part of. Useful articles attract people to see your profile. This also helps to grow your network.
Don’t just take Chris’ or my word for it. When I was checking out the course last week, I was looking for ‘testimonials’ or reviews from past participants. I found this Mani person, and his sharing sort of convinced me to go for it. OK, I’ll ‘fess up, the other factor was that the class was free, hurhur.
Retrenched from his role as a Senior Scientist last year, Mani embarked on his new career in property within six months. One of the classes he took was the LinkedIn Personal Branding Clinic organised by NTUC, he spruced up and worked at polishing his LinkedIn account with Chris’ tips and advice.
Guess what? He went from a few hundred connections to over 6,000 in just a few months. That helped him in his new career tremendously.
Prepare for the future
Even if you think you are unlikely to lose your job any time soon, it won’t hurt to be prepared for the future. Doing up your LinkedIn profile is a good start. Another integral part should be deepening your skills as well as picking up different skills. Put together, these steps should help you develop to your fullest potential, as well as take advantage of the whole range of opportunities that still exists in Singapore to realise your aspirations. Which incidentally is what SkillsFuture is about.
If we are proactive, plan ahead, start preparing, I’m sure we will be able to weather the coming storms, and come out even stronger.
When’s the next LinkedIn class?
It looks like they run this programme on a quarterly basis, and the next one is happening in December. You can check it here.
Elevate your Profile to become a LinkedIn Thought Leader
DATE: 07 DEC 2016, Wed
TIME: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
VENUE: Jurong Regional Library
There’re quite a number of programmes under NTUC’s U Future Leaders Programme, which consists of various tracks.
Personally, I’m particularly drawn to the track, U Future Leaders Mentorships. Here’s what they say this is,
“PMEs are given unique access to industry leaders and eminent practitioners via a selection process, for personal development and career guidance. These mentorship sessions are conducted in a small group setting, behind closed doors, to facilitate more open and honest sharing. Gaining invaluable and rare access to inspiring role models for support and guidance enables PMEs to define their blueprints for both professional and personal growth.”
Think I might check out other cosy mentorship sessions next!