Friday, May 11

Manage your Online Professional Presence through LinkedIn

Having an Online profile on a networking site is almost mandatory today for professionals looking for (changing) jobs.

Almost every potential employer ensures to check your online presence before short-listing you for the job. What they’re looking for is your online professional presence. And in today’s world, you need to have one out there for them to find. For most professions, an online professional profile will only help you. And the best place to go to build one is LinkedIn. (While they would surely go through your Facebook pages as well, they may not conclude much from it given it’s more of a social networking site than professional networking). LinkedIn is the most common site that the employers would screen through as part of their evaluation of whether to hire you or not.

Here are some important tips of what to take care of while designing and maintaining your online professional presence on Linked In.

1.       Complete your profile – for most, the basic requirement is to complete your profile. Do not just set up a page and forget about it. Completing it and keeping it updated is very important. That should you’re active and conscious about your online image. And do not forget to attach your pic as well. It’s there for a reason.

2.       Describe your job – There’s a difference between what you’re interested in and what you actually do. Most profiles I’ve seen describe what they’re interested in. Fine, it’s good to mention that. But do highlight what you’ve been doing in your career so far.

Describing your profiles can be in many ways. You may list job titles only, and then put the description in the summary at the top of the overall profile. Or you may describe each job, as if building a résumé. Either of these works, you just have to do one of them so people know what you actually do for a living.

3.       Get recommendations – Getting recommendations helps you indirectly pitch to an employer that you’re a people’s person. You’ve taken people along with your successes. It helps your employer know what you’re good at. While it’s not advisable to get your profile flooded with recommendations, some good ones must always be there. Seek recommendations from your colleagues (past and present) and set them up on your profile. LinkedIn gives you enough liberty to not approve and show a recommendations if you don’t like it. There’s isn’t much to lose asking for recommendations.

4.       Don’t Lie – A lot of people lie and create profiles with incorrect information. This is a strict NO. Not only you may be caught, it will surely put you in the soup sooner or later.

5.       Differentiate between social and professional networking – Understand the difference between social and professional networking. You can add friends on Facebook and you should only connect with people on LinkedIn if you share a professional network. Don’t think of it as a dating platform. Don’t just go on hunt for opposite gender.

6.       Post your interests, awards and achievements – You don’t have to be a Mr or Miss Universe to post stuff on your page. Your employer should know what are your interests and achievements. These could be smaller achievements such being a head boy in school or participating in college plays or being a part of a project at work. Remember not to over-do though.

7.       Don’t metamorphose your profile completely – updating your profile does not mean you should transform your profile top to bottom completely. This may make an employer suspicious. Make changes as and when they come. Besides, your contacts get a notification about the changes you make to your profile.

8.       Get connected with groups – LinkedIn provides opportunities to get connected with groups of your interest. Most groups these days are open groups and do not require an approval. Getting connected with them helps you demonstrate to your employer that you actively pursue your interests and helps you build up your network stronger.

So go ahead and make your profile immediately. It should have been made ages ago. Make changes to your profile as necessary (Remember tip #7 though)  

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