By Mark Bartz
LinkedIn is here to stay. I like author Louise Kursmark’s comment that “If you are not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist.” And it would seem JobVite, which conducts annual polls of employers, agrees: they report 95% of employers now use LinkedIn for talent acquisition. Wow. It’s time to get on board. The quandary is most job seekers have little time to master LinkedIn, let alone learn foundational elements which can make them stand out from the crowd. I use dozens of tactics to help my clients stand out from their peers on LinkedIn; here are three:
1. Put your LinkedIn “link” on your resume. But let’s get creative here. You have a choice. You can either create your own customized LinkedIn url (it would look something like this: LinkedIn /in/Johnson.com) or, and this is a very new concept, simply put the term “LinkedIn” on your resume header – next to your e-mail, phone contact information – and create a hyperlink from that term. The reader, when putting their cursor over the term “LinkedIn” your resume sees a message: “Ctrl + click to follow link” One technical element – and this is stylistic, the hyper-linked term “LinkedIn” will initially be underlined when you affix the hyperlink; you can get rid of the underline if you wish; just highlight and “de-click” (is that a word?) the word LinkedIn.
2. Branding. Pull up nearly any LinkedIn profile and you’ll see next to the person’s name their current role. That’s actually a common mistake and the place for your most current role is later in the profile. What you’re looking at is “Professional Headline” which you can access via edit elements. I encourage you to consider using Professional Headline as your branding, and it should complement your resume, e.g. “Medical Sales Professional” should be here, not “VP of Sales, J&J.”
3. Age-bias. Suddenly my older readers are learning forward in their chairs. Question: Do your oldest dates on the profile go back to pre-1980 dates? Hint, if you can name all four of The Beatles, be careful of age bias on your profile. There is a nifty trick to eliminating age bias when it comes to listing your education (typically the place where those oldest dates appear). On the drop down screen for inserting dates for college, you have date options by year. Skip all that. Go to the top of the menu and you’ll see this odd symbol: “-“. Yup – that’s what you need – pick that and, voila, the dates disappear completely. One caveat here: your colleges will now align alphabetically. So if you went to two or more colleges, you don’t have an option on which order they appear in: Atlanta Community College is going to list ahead of Georgia State University. In that case, consider dropping Atlanta Community College completely from the profile. It’s your call.
Do you remember the first day you sat down in front of a computer? Remember how it was sort of exciting but a little intimidating? That’s where LinkedIn is today. It’s your friend. Really. You just need to get to know it.