The UK job market is more competitive than ever and it has never been more important to make the best use of every avenue available to get you a seat at the table, particularly if you have been out the job loop for a little while.
Alongside a strong, standout CV, LinkedIn is a crucial element in your armoury and your LinkedIn profile has to reflect your excellent career to date. It needs to generate interest from head hunters and potential hirers, encourage people to contact you, and will increase your chance of making the shortlist and extend your network of influence – creating contacts that you can use, and that enhance your online brand.
LinkedIn is the leading online professional directory of individuals and companies. Individuals use it for professional networking and to present to their world a ‘professional online profile’. It is also a major tool for job seeking.
To give a summary of why LinkedIn is so important for anyone returning to the job market, here are some important numbers:
- 345 million professional users worldwide in more than 200 countries
- 15 million users in the UK alone
- 3 million company pages
- 2 new users are joining LinkedIn every second
- 40% of those check in daily
- Most importantly,nearly 50% of engaged LinkedIn users have ‘hiring decision making’ authority
So how can you make your profile work for you?
1. Dealing with gaps in career history
Any gap needs to be shown as intentional, such as a planned sabbatical or planned career break. Briefly explain in one or two lines what you did over that period or you can leave it blank. Then move on.
2. Returning to work after a break
Again keep it simple. It needs to be clear that this was planned and then move on. If you wanted to, you could allude to it in your 2000 character summary section with something like “Following planned sabbatical now seeking to return to an executive marketing post.” Nice and simple and to the point.
3. Changing your career
The important thing is just to develop and then stick to a good strategy. Your LinkedIn is not just a history of what you have been doing; it should be targeted to where you are going. Spend considerable time thinking about your target role and transferable skills.
4. Have your own business?
You will use your LinkedIn slightly differently. LinkedIn is very quickly indexed by the Google spiders so think about your SEO and target market. Make connections and really try to establish your credibility and industry expertise.
5. Part-time roles or contracting
If you have had a lot of part-time or contracting roles detail them separately and make sure it is clear that they are contract roles. This is different from your CV where too many employers can make your CV look messy and inconstant.
6. Take time to get it right
Don’t rush into creating a new profile. The key is to take your time. If you feel your LinkedIn needs an overhaul then you need to allow time to do this. One of the elements people struggle the most with is the summary section. You have to be ruthless with content and remain objective the entire time. And don’t forget to proof read again and again.
7. Make your career experience count
Your work experience section lists your entire career history in chronological order. Here is an opportunity to sell your key deliverables and make them attractive to a potential employer. It’s vital to refer to your key words – key word density is super-important.
We would always recommend creating your profile in a Word document, don’t just jump on to LinkedIn and start typing. Your profile needs to be well planned and strategically thought out, key-word rich and spell checked before anything is uploaded live.
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