I know I’m a little early, but I want you to start thinking about your goals in the new year. Back to school time is a perfect time to do just that!
New Years resolutions usually fail because they are not well-planned; they usually occur to the resolutioner when they’re slightly tipsy on champagne at the drop of the ball. If you want to make changes in the new year, the time to start thinking about it, and planning, is now.
If you’re looking for a business goal to set for the New Year, your first should be setting up a good LinkedIn profile. An effective LinkedIn profile has four important elements:
1. A professional headshot. A recent study revealed that your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed by potential recruiters than a profile without. If you’re a Mike Smith or Jane Anderson, it’s doubly important – your photo helps your contacts identify you among your many same-named counterparts. And if social media is designed to allow self-expression for the individual, what does it better than a photo? (Just remember your goal and keep it professional.)
2. A descriptive headline. When you create an account, LinkedIn uses your current job title as your headline. That isn’t always the most descriptive way to explain your work, but that is all someone will see if you come up in a search. Think of the most descriptive, yet brief, way to describe yourself. That is your headline.
3. A brief summary. According to LinkedIn’s training tutorials, this should address three items: Your background, your passion, and information about the place you work. It’s best in the first person, since it’s like a conversation between you and your readers.
4. Details about your work and educational history. A lot of LinkedIn users stop at their current job, and don’t provide any history before it. They also neglect to include their educational background. This leads to a lot of missed opportunities, whether you’re job hunting or if you’re a hiring manager, or if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a . It’s like sales – most people do their research online well before they reach out to you. If a recruiter has to dig too far to learn more information about you, that recruiter will probably move on. (Trust me – there are plenty of other candidates who have optimized their profiles, and recruiters are using LinkedIn to find them.) And if you’re trying to hire for a position as a manager, recruits want to understand what a career trajectory looks like. Your profile is an ideal way to demonstrate why someone would want to work with you, hire you, or follow in your footsteps.
In future blog posts, we’ll talk about why LinkedIn is important to every professional. If you have a strong feeling about this, one way or the other, please share it in the comments!