LinkedIn has become an integral part of our professional lives. I hear a lot about the site from career advisers, but when I really want to learn what’s going on, I turn to the folks making things happen at LinkedIn’s Bay Area headquarters I chatted with Crystal Braswell, a manager of corporate communications and also a member of DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board. Here’s what she had to tell us.
What are the biggest mistakes you see people making on LinkedIn?
The biggest mistake would be not completing your profile. Simple changes like adding a profile photo or summary section can make a huge difference. We know that profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without one, and a complete summary and experience section that includes relevant keywords will make it easier for other professionals to find you.
Sometimes the best opportunities – from a dream job to speaking, mentorship and skilled volunteer positions — appear when you aren’t even looking. In fact, only 20 percent of jobs come from submitting an application for a job posting. The rest come through networking. [Read later: 5 Networking Tips You Haven't Heard]
Now, if you’ve taken the time to complete your profile, make sure you’re also giving people a sense of what you do AND who you are. What have you accomplished? Are there any hobbies that are relevant to your profession? Have you volunteered with any nonprofits in your community? Make sure it’s all on your profile. This stuff matters, and it’s what elevates your profile, transforming it into a rich portfolio that paints a complete picture of you as a professional. You never know what little tidbit might push you out in front.
Hmm, now I think I need to revise my headline. What’s yours?
I say I’m a “tech geek and PR pro leading LinkedIn’s higher education and content initiatives.” It’s more interesting than just using my job title and lets my personality show through at the start.
What’s the most interesting use of LinkedIn you’ve heard about recently?
One of my favorite recent stories came from someone who found her dream job at a media outlet. After finding and applying for the job, she took to LinkedIn to find the recruiter hiring for the role, and then used “Whose Viewed Your Profile?” to get that recruiter’s attention and land an interview. She then turned the online networking opportunity into an in-person one, connecting with a senior producer at the outlet and locking in 30 minutes to talk to her. She used LinkedIn in all the right ways, and it paid off for her!
For the rest of Crystal's great advice, have a look at the Intuit Fast Track blog.