In the midst of a pandemic, it is easy to be distracted and ignore your social media accounts. However, during a time when it is more challenging than ever to connect and impress people in person, even more people will turn to online tools to learn more about you. Will they learn what you want them to know?
In addition to being a place to share information you want people to know about you, social media is still a great place to learn about opportunities for new jobs. Jobvite’s 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey indicates that 35 percent of respondents found job postings on social media, 50 percent heard about jobs from friends and 37 percent learned about opportunities from professional networks. The numbers show how important social networking tools are to your job search.
Assess: Review your social media goals
No matter how much (or little) time you spend using social media tools to enhance your online reputation, assess what you want people to know about you? What is the most important thing for them to learn? What feeling do you want them to have? Is there something you do NOT want them to know? What do you want them to DO when they land on your profile? Take the time to audit your profiles to ensure you’re putting out the right messages.
Ask a friend or a coach what they think when they visit your social media profiles and when they look at your streams of information. Make sure you aren’t missing the mark when it comes to shaping a reputation you want to own.
At least a few times a year, you should Google your own name. You want to know what comes up when people search for you online. What pictures show up? Are they of you? Is there someone who has your name and comes up before you online, even in LinkedIn? Make a note of things that show up high in search, and make a point to spend extra time making those things the best they can be. For example, LinkedIn likely comes up high in search. Manage your profile there first, before you spend time anywhere else online.)
Update Your LinkedIn Headline
When is the last time you reviewed your LinkedIn profile? Make sure to include new accomplishments and look over your materials with fresh eyes. LinkedIn made changes that could impact your headline length — it can now be as long as 220 characters. Use the extra space to target your audience and incorporate keywords to attract people to your profile.
Be sure you keep everything consistently updated. If you update LinkedIn, be sure to also update your resume.
Audit Your LinkedIn Profile
Have you updated the image behind your LinkedIn photo? This banner makes an impression when someone lands on your profile. Make sure you customize this with something that makes sense for your expertise. You can create a visual easily by using Canva.com, a free design tool.
If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while, you may not have set up the “Open to Work” section that asks about your business information. This is the “bat signal” to recruiters to let them know you are open to being contacted.
Edit this business information by selecting the prepopulated category that matches your expertise. Fill in business focus areas, and then select if you want that information to be public or not. If your profile is public, LinkedIn points out that anyone can see what you selected, which is the whole point of this exercise, after all!
If you choose to allow all LinkedIn members to see your choices, LinkedIn will add the open to work image to your profile picture.
LinkedIn’s “Brag Book”
LinkedIn gives you a brag book area! This “Featured” section is a place to include your best work samples, such as:
- LinkedIn posts that you’ve created or re-shared.
- Articles that you’ve authored and published on LinkedIn.
- Links to external websites, for example, your personal blog or portfolio.
- Media that you can upload, for example, your images, documents, presentations and videos.
Review Your Experience and Skills Sections
The Experience section is also critically important. This is where you list your various job titles and indicate what you have accomplished in each of your positions.
Make the most of the title sections. You have 100 characters to leverage in each job title spot!
Don’t forget to populate your skills section with 50 specially selected skills! You can also take skills tests and add them to your profile.
Audit Your Settings
No matter how much great work you do on your LinkedIn profile, if your backend settings aren’t properly set up, people will not be able to access what you have to offer and to learn about you! To review and update your backend updates, click on the dropdown right below your little photo of you on the right side of the screen on your desk or laptop.
Select Settings and privacy, and review every question! In most cases, the choice that is more “public” and less “hidden” is what you will want to select.
On the other hand, to discourage people from using your LinkedIn profile as a launching point to see other profiles, you may choose to select “NO” for “Viewers of this profile also viewed” – this is one way to help prevent people from getting distracted and jumping to other, likely similar, LinkedIn profiles once they find your profile.
One other thing to watch for under the Microsoft Word setting: you probably do NOT want to allow your job descriptions to auto-populate templates on Microsoft word resumes.
Don’t miss the “Mentions or tags by others” setting. Unless you are famous and might be inundated by tags, it is nice to allow people to mention you in a way that you are notified in their LinkedIn updates and comments.
Finally, as you scroll to the bottom of this section, you’ll see that you can block and hide. In particular, I suggest you allow EVERYONE to follow you on LinkedIn to help make your profile more visible.
When you allow people to follow you, it will make any effort you put forth to improve your profile more worthwhile, as it opens the opportunity for more people to access your content on LinkedIn and to see your updates.
Is your LinkedIn feed getting too spammy? Weed out people you don’t want to hear from. In LinkedIn, you can block people (which means you won’t see their updates, and they won’t see your content, either). LinkedIn won’t notify the blocked people! (Just click on the arrow next to the endorse button on their profile.)
Change Your Password
If you have trouble keeping track of passwords, you can use a password management program such as LastPass. Also, be sure you are using your personal email for LinkedIn; it’s not a good idea to use a work email or an email you never check!
How are you engaging on LinkedIn?
Post content! LinkedIn rewards people for creating content on the network. You will be more likely to be found in a search via LinkedIn if you are active on the platform. Don’t waste this opportunity to interact with your network. Share useful posts and comment on news and informational articles. Post blogs on LinkedIn if you have news to share or wish to comment on what is going on in your industry. Don’t forget to ‘Like’ and “Share’ updates that members of your network post. This helps get you on their radar screen and can also help introduce you to people who follow them and the comments on their posts.
LinkedIn still has groups, even if they are harder to find than they were in the past. Find groups by typing keywords into LinkedIn’s search bar and selecting “groups” as the search category.
If you could use some help updating your LinkedIn profile to ensure you are well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities and that you aren’t missing out on the chance for employers to find -and hire you – check out my special offer.