Our resident expert, Niklas, is back and this time he’s getting serious with the ultimate digital media networking tool, LinkedIn.
Considering LinkedIn can play such an important role in your job search and possibly in your career, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a couple of ideas for simple fixes that will make your digital profile stand out by a mile.
I only started using LinkedIn properly a few years ago but since then I’ve connected with more than 800 new people, I’ve got jobs, I’ve been headhunted, attracted business, been offered public speaking and guest writing etc. I don’t mean to brag but what I’m trying to say is that it can make a big change to your career.
As with anything job related it’s always easier once you have figured out what you really want to do (that’s another story), because when you have even the vaguest idea it’s easier to steer your profile towards it (together with your CV and the rest of your Online Profiles). It’s all about positioning. Here are some general things that will help getting your profile up to scratch:
Personal Statement / Tagline
This bit is important. It’s your main place for positioning yourself. I read some research a while back that indicated this is the first place visitors look when visiting your profile, even before checking your picture out. So get it right. By default this is set to your current job or education, which actually doesn’t say much. Use the Tagline to position yourself for the future and not for what you do now.
If you’re not in employment you can say something like “Physics graduate looking for a PPC job in a digital media agency”. If you are employed avoid saying that you’re looking for a new job and put it in a way like “Digital Executive with physics degree and agency experience focusing my career in biddable media”.
I don’t think I need to say that you should steer clear of pictures of you naked(!) or at mad parties but I would recommend choosing a professionally taken picture, or ask a friend to take a headshot specifically for this purpose (and other online profiles). Avoid selfies and mirror shots and avoid images with other people (unless it’s specifically relevant)
Add as many contact details as possible. Add on links to websites, blogs, and other social media profiles so that whoever visits your profile have options to contact you.
Just like on Facebook and Twitter you can change the standard cryptic Profile URL to something easier to remember. Best and most professional is your full name and try, if you can, to use the same URL for all your profiles to keep it consistent.
Many people tend to either forget the profile or don’t (in my opinion) use it to its potential. You’ve got quite a bit of space to summarise who you are and what you’re all about, both personally and career wise. Most people keep it short and very strict and job focused and a lot people use it more to sell the current employer rather than his/her own career. I would find the balance between personal and professional. People don’t want to connect with a business or a robot, people want to get a flavour for who you are as a person just as much as what you’re good at. So get the mix right between skills, experience, education, career objective and personality. Look at your Tagline (above), repeat it and continue from there.
Add on jobs, internships and other placements you have had, short or long. Obviously highlight the jobs that are more relevant to your career in digital. Don’t oversell a job. Making a bar or retail job sound like a top job won’t fool anyone, rather focus on the learning aspects of those jobs. For relevant experience highlight as much as possible what you have done, what tools you have used etc.
Add any relevant education and courses and describe them thoroughly, highlight modules and coursework you think is relevant. For a job in digital media, any analytical or mathematics/statistics courses will be beneficial. In general so is marketing, PR, and technical skills such as HTML etc. Don’t panic though, digital media is quite forgiving in terms of your education, you still have a great future in digital even if you might have a seemingly unrelated degree such as Classics, History, English, American Studies, Psychology etc. So just remember to highlight what you’ve done so that people know what have been included in your degree.
Endorsements are a bit funny. Anyone, even people who don’t really know you, can endorse you for skills, which makes this a bit pointless. But do keep an eye on this so that you get endorsements for the skills you want to be recognised for. You can add your own skills so make a list of the things you want to have endorsed and manage those you don’t want to show.
I always recommend my candidates follow industry relevant companies. Why? First of all it shows you’re interested in the industry and the key players but most importantly you will receive news keeping you up to date with the industry which includes having the relevant vacancies pushed to you. It helps you keep en eye in what jobs are out there.
Similar to following companies, I always recommend joining relevant groups. Often for the same reasons but they also give you the opportunity to interact with the community and make yourself heard. Share and have an opinion and you will increase and nurture your network.
Never underestimate the power of recommendations. As a grad or school leaver you might not have many formal work recommendations, but ask for recommendations wherever you can. It might be from teachers, internships, summer jobs, work experience etc. So if you don’t have any recommendations yet, ask around.
On a final note, there are many other things you can do on LinkedIn as well. You can upload your CV, your portfolio, share links, updates, link to your blog, add presentation decks and infographics etc. All things that make your LinkedIn profile work as a great complement and extension to your CV. Make sure everything works together and complements each other. Remember, you need to have a 360 degree approach to your job search and career.
Another cracker from our man Niklas. Lots for you guys to get going with. Why are you still here? Go get linked in!