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With 75 million users on LinkedIn, it’s likely that you have already signed up to the professional networking site. But if you’re among one of the many millions that feel little benefit from being a part of LinkedIn, it may be time to change your profile. These simple tweaks to your LinkedIn profile may help you get ahead of the pack – and help you find the right job in IT.
1. Be concise with your achievements
There are an incredible number of half-finished profiles out there on LinkedIn: people sign up and begin setting up their profile before getting bored and leaving it unfinished. Those that do fill in all their employment details and skills often use vague terms and generalities. Your profile should be punchy and direct, detailing exactly where your expertise lies and why you’re likely to be a good hire. If you’re an expert in Java that specialises in database building and have a history of working with Oracle’s IDE, then say so in a short sentence or bullet-point this in your ‘Specialities’ section.
2. Keywords are everything
While you might want to meticulously explain how you set up a major server for a company step by step you will get more attention by simply saying what kind of server, on which system and for which company. Prospective employers are likely to find you through the words that match their business requirements. This means that the site guides them to LinkedIn profiles according to the ‘keywords’ they use. Adjust the wording in your job descriptions to include key terms: think of it as small-scale search engine marketing for your own profile.
3. Let your experience show
Don’t simply list your past employers in the ‘Experience’ section. Add achievements, and talk about when you solved problems and about long term results. Most of all, think about how your profile communicates to a prospective employer reading your history: if you had a particular success streamlining a system that saved thousands of pounds, say so – it points out that you can do the same for any other businesses.
4. Back it all up with recommendations
Those who use LinkedIn well will have done all of the above. They’ll have streamlined their profile to read quickly and leave a lasting impression, put in important keywords and honed their past to demonstrate their present value. But what separates the great from the good are recommendations – after all it’s a network. Employers like a second opinion on any prospective hire, and two lines of positive recommendation from past clients mean more than any number of paragraphs of self-promotion. Politely ask past employers for some kind words, and offer to reciprocate in kind.
5. Most importantly, stay active
Many profiles lie dormant for months at a time, dissuading employers from looking further. If you keep your profile updated, or link it to your blog or Twitter, they’ll see you are still around and have an online presence. If you’re looking for a new job or contract, then say so on your profile. Add new connections constantly too: you never know who might be looking for an IT professional.
With a little care and minimal effort, your LinkedIn profile can stand out from the crowd and more pointedly acknowledge your skills to prospective employers. Try these tweaks and see if they can link you in to the right IT job.
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