Why you can’t afford to be casual about LinkedIn

As someone who loves using all forms of social media; to make contacts, keep up with colleagues and help clients, I’ve found myself in an unusual position this week.

For the first time ever I’ve been looking at people on LinkedIn through the eyes of an employer and it’s scary!

I’ve taken on a project that requires extensive LinkedIn research which has turned my casual social usage into something else altogether. Here is what I have learned.

  • When an employer searches for people using LinkedIn, as with any online search they are using key words, so it is essential to get your key words sorted out if you want to be found and offered a job. I’ve been searching using one key term and if you are the world’s expert but you didn’t put it in your title, I may well have passed you by – sorry.
  • Clarity is essential. Instead of trying to sound as though you are brilliant at everything, be clear about the things you do well. It is tempting to want to cover all bases – but I know from my work this week, that when you are the person searching, you want the right words to leap off the page straight away or you move on.
  • Up-front honesty plays well. If you are looking for freelance opportunities, short-term project work or a full-time job, say so. It saves a lot of time!
  • No pic? Why not? I like a head shot and as many contact details as possible, including a phone number. If I were going to offer you a job, would you want me to spend  20 minutes searching for your number?
  • People look for potential employees on LinkedIn – you can’t afford to forget that even if you only use the service socially.

Now I’m off to de-clutter my LinkedIn profile – I wouldn’t want to miss that freelance writing or social media job, however small!


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