snow white and the (job) huntsman

With the topic of headshots and professional profiles dancing in our heads, Bridget suggested putting together a post on the importance of a well-organized LinkedIn profile. The only problem is that I’m not sure mine is such a great example. Judge for yourself(Note: I’ve got strong privacy settings, which may defeat the entire purpose.)

In any case, one of the things I’ve been charged with taking care of at my current job is the presentation and upkeep of various social network profiles. I can’t say I’ve mastered social media marketing, but I’ve at least learned a few basics that may prove useful for, at least, my own profiles. I’ll focus on LinkedIn, in the interest of career advancement and brand building, yadda yadda yadda.

What is LinkedIn?

I hope this isn’t a question anyone is asking. LinkedIn, in case you truly did not know, is like Facebook for professionals. Rather than sharing inflammatory videos and memes to your friends, LinkedIn offers a space for professionals to connect and share updates on the world and their respective industries. As such, the profile focuses on current and past jobs, education, and whatever else on your resume you use to impress people.

What should I put on LinkedIn?

Like I said, lay off the memes. Your LinkedIn page should have a nice, professional-looking photo (not, as I’ve mentioned mine has, a selfie). You can change your settings so that strangers can’t see your photo, or anything else, for that matter, but if you’re like me and in the early stages of your career I’d advise allowing just enough to tempt a potential recruiter without giving them everything. For example: keep your email and phone number invisible, unless you want to be put on every spam email list for the rest of eternity. Regardless of what your privacy settings may be, fill out as much of your profile as possible for the people you are connected with. I frequently go back at random and add things, since it can be difficult to think of them all at once. Some things to include are (of course) current and past job descriptions, any and all education, certifications, publications, groups you’ve been involved in, etc. If you can see my past positions, you’ll notice I didn’t include the summer I worked as an ice cream scooper at Stewart’s. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired hiring manager and think Do I care? Chances are, as with most things in life, what you think is interesting or quirky is probably not of interest to anyone else.

How do I use LinkedIn?

This is something I’m still working on. LinkedIn has a variety of services to help not only a job search, but also in improving upon the skills used at your current one. Aside from “connecting” with whomever you may know or whomever is influential in your career sphere, LinkedIn has courses available in whatever your heart may desire, from writing a cover letter to search engine optimization. And, of course, there’s the job zone, where you can create custom alerts based on the industry you’re in and what positions you’re looking for.

Like most things, it’s important to be proactive on LinkedIn, without randomly adding people or clicking on things that will make a mess of your profile come job search time. But, hey, at least we’re trying.


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