Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Year Resolution Challenge

One of the top new year's resolutions is getting in shape: losing weight, getting heart healthy, starting an exercise plan, or however else you wish to define or categorize it. However, the fact remains year after year that a large percentage of those with this resolution do not last past a couple months or so. The percentages have gotten better from the days I first got involved in physical fitness back in the 80s, largely because there are literally hundreds of plans or regimes that create accountability. Accountability leads to success in physical fitness. Actual results will also increase a person's desire to stick to a plan.

I challenge every job seeker this new year to get your LinkedIn profile in better shape. Love it or hate it, LinkedIn has become a leading tool in the job seeker's tool box of resources. Searching for a new job is a lot to do with networking and gaining positive exposure. Notice I said positive exposure. We've all heard about how people lose job opportunities because of their social media profiles, and I think that has been talked about enough by various bloggers and people of influence.

What I propose to you is that if you are searching for a new opportunity in 2015, that you take a serious look at your LinkedIn profile’s fitness. Does it pass the fit test? Does it create opportunities for you? You can pay $50+ to attend a webinar on LinkedIn to build a better profile or you can simply follow my suggestions. It is, after all, simply about creating exposure. There are two basic ways to utilize LinkedIn to create this exposure. 
  1. Create positive exposure on LinkedIn is by being found because you have created a complete, well-developed LinkedIn profile. We will check on this below. 
  2. Become relevant to the community you wish to create exposure within. Find out how to do so below. 
LinkedIn profile check-up! 
If you are unemployed, then in your current employment information you could certainly add that you are presently considering opportunities, in transition, seeing career options, etc. Anything to let the viewer know that you are actively interested in opportunities.
Is your summary complete? Be sure your contact information is not only listed, but visible. Be certain it includes any keywords to help you be found. These keywords should be related to your professional experience. Perhaps your experience is professional liability claims...then be certain to include: professional liability, claims, claims adjuster, D&O, E&O….anything else applicable, perhaps your expertise is with E&O for Attorneys. Then include this in the keywords.

Next is your experience. Be certain it is accurate and detailed. Here again, be certain to include all applicable keywords as described above.

Be certain you select the most applicable skill words and select the max number LinkedIn allows in the Skills and Endorsements section. Endorsements come from other LinkedIn users. You will receive an email that states that someone has endorsed you for a certain skill or skills. Be certain to accept this endorsement. Tip: if you endorse others they will often reciprocate. These will add value to your search optimization on LinkedIn.

Education, Organizations and Honors: these are all self explanatory. Just be certain to complete in detail and include anything applicable that you have been involved in or are currently involved in.

How do you become relevant on LinkedIn?
It starts with joining the max number of groups (50). You search and select groups that are applicable to your profession. You request to join those groups. Once a member of these groups you get involved. Stay active in the groups. If you see a conversation that you can add positive value to, you join in the conversation. Do NOT get involved in any conversations that are politically based or could be charged in another way. Only contribute to professional and positively enriching conversations. If you feel a conversation may expose a weakness do not get involved. Contribute where you can shine. Be seen as an expert in your field. Besides existing conversations started by others, by all means start conversations within a group where, again, you can show value.

Recommendations create a great deal of value. Seek these out from other LinkedIn members who can provide a positive and applicable statement to what you bring to the table. They are in essence mini-references.

The last section is Following. These are companies and schools that you are following. Again, this can create positive exposure for you. Another way to be found.

Use my LinkedIn profile as a guide as you consider making changes, additions and/or deletions to your own profile. And as always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

You've just been challenged to get your LinkedIn profile in shape. Hold yourself accountable to see it through to a successful transformation.



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