You don’t have to be a “professional” to to take advantage of LinkedIn, the “World’s Largest Professional Network.”
Even if you work as a night stocker, mail clerk, front desk coordinator, housekeeper or any one of the thousands of jobs that are ordinarily not considered professional, you can use LinkedIn to advance your job search.
You can use LinkedIn the same way executives, managers and similar professionals use LinkedIn. They all use LinkedIn to look good online. With LinkedIn you don’t need to be a CEO to look good online.
Are you on Facebook or Twitter?
These days employers search candidates on Google before they decide who to interview or hire. Hiring managers want to find out if there is any adverse information you may not have revealed. They also want to get a better sense of of your personality. If you have an active profile on Facebook and/or Twitter, what employers see on those sites will influence how they assess you as a candidate.
The problem is that when you post on Facebook or Twitter you are talking to your friends. You say things and show pictures to your friends that you would never show to your boss. That’s why you should clean up your Facebook and Twitter pages before you start contacting potential employers. Either restrict access to your profile or delete posts that you would not want a potential employer to see.
Why you should be on LinkedIn.
If Facebook and Twitter are the employer’s sole source of information about you, they are probably not going to be impressed. And why should they be impressed? Facebook and Twitter are for your friends, not your future boss.
LinkedIn, however, is designed for business networking. LinkedIn is your chance to show yourself off to employers in the best possible light. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, employers give much more weight to what you write on LinkedIn because your LinkedIn profile focuses on the information employers want—where did you work, what did you do, where did you go to school.
You may think that your job history and education are not competitive and won’t impress anyone. But if you present them with an attractive well organized profile, your LinkedIn page will be impressive no matter what your job history of education.
Look professional no matter what your job title is.
Having a complete and well-organized profile on LinkedIn shows that you are in fact “professional,” because professionalism is not about your job title or educational degree. How many times have you heard it said of a lawyer or doctor that they were “unprofessional?” Being professional is a matter of how you present yourself and how you act. When you look professional on LinkedIn you have an immediate competitive advantage over other candidates who have no LinkedIn profile or an incomplete profile.
Complete your profile.
Your profile should always be complete and up to date. At minimum that means that your Experience and Education sections should be filled in. If you change jobs, update your company. If you get a promotion, update your job title. If you have a good photo, use it.
Complete or delete uncompleted empty profiles. Job seekers often register for LinkedIn to see what its like but never go further. The problem is that registering for LinkedIn creates a profile with your name on it. If all do do on LinkedIn is register, a Google search for your name may show your empty profile and that that you have only one connection. (many people on LinkedIn have over 500 connections!) An empty profile creates a poor impression. If you are not going to complete your profile you should delete it.