Overwhelmed by the prospect of having to write a resume to impress prospective employers? Then you better take a deep breath. Many recruiters and outplacement consultants say it's become important for job hunters not only to create impressive resumes but effective LinkedIn profiles as well.
According to Wendy Enelow, Executive Director of the Resume Writing Academy and the co-author of numerous books including Expert Resumes for Career Changers, Expert Resumes for Managers and Executives, and Expert Resumes for Engineers, "As recently as a year ago, we only did LinkedIn profiles for a small percentage of clients who came to us to write their resumes. Today, we do LinkedIn profiles for 85% of our resume clients. It's essential today, whether someone is employed or not, to have a professional profile on LinkedIn. In fact, I've been told by several recruiters if a candidate isn't on LinkedIn, he or she doesn't exist."
Sounds harsh but Enelow isn't alone in saying this. Steve Harvey, also believes LinkedIn profiles have become essential for job hunters. Harvey said, "I, too, have had recruiters tell me, 'If a candidate isn't on LinkedIn, a recruiter won't find that person."
Here are some questions that might be going through your mind followed by answers that might help in settling any issues you might have with this particular approach to recruitment.
Question 1: Do you need to invest a lot of time creating a LinkedIn profile if you've already completed your resume? Can't you simply copy and paste the information from your resume into your LinkedIn profile? Answer: "When you write a resume, your goal is to write as lean and mean as you possibly can. I've been writing resumes for over 30 years and increasingly, brevity and conciseness are among the top priorities. These days, whenever I'm writing a resume, I say to myself: "Write tight, write lean, and write clear". What might have been a six-line paragraph before is now a three-line paragraph."
"On the other hand, a LinkedIn profile enables you to elaborate and tell more of your career story. For starters, you have room for a 2000 character summary in your LinkedIn profile. And although you don't have to use all those characters, you certainly have enough room for relevant accomplishment summaries and educational credentials in that summary section."
"A resume that highlights someone's key strengths and selected accomplishments transfers well to a LinkedIn profile. In fact, since people often have only skeletal LinkedIn profiles when they first come to us for outplacement, we encourage them to add information from the summary on the first half of the first page of their resumes to their LinkedIn profiles."
There is an opportunity to write more in your LinkedIn profile than your resume, but do not get carried away. "If you're going to elaborate on anything in your LinkedIn profile, spend more time on what's relevant to the jobs you're applying for and on recent accomplishments."
By the way, in case you're wondering, although most recruiters believe LinkedIn profiles have become essential for job hunters, the same is not true of Facebook. "In fact, when doing outplacement with people, we encourage them to check their Facebook pages and make sure there's nothing on them that would turn off prospective employers or undermine their candidacy for jobs they might consider pursuing."
Question 2: What if you're currently employed? Is having a LinkedIn profile a good or bad idea? What if your current employer comes across your LinkedIn profile while checking LinkedIn for a specific job applicant's profile? Would your employer worry that you're looking for another job?
Answer: "It's a natural thing to have a LinkedIn profile these days so coming across yours shouldn't make your employer worry that you're looking for another job. Some employers might actually be concerned if they don't see someone's profile on LinkedIn."
"It wouldn't necessarily raise any suspicion by your employer to find your profile on Linked In." "In fact, if you joined a group of professionals on LinkedIn related to your profession or industry, your employer might benefit from the information you learn by networking with those colleagues." How To Create A LinkedIn Profile
Go to LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com. If you want to learn more, click on the “What is LinkedIn?” option on the menu across the top of the page. If not, go ahead and sign up by entering you name, email and a password in the “Join LinkedIn Today” box on the right of the screen.
Confirm your account through your email address. Once you’ve done this, sign in and get started.
Edit your profile. Editing and updating your profile is quick and easy, so there’s absolutely no need for advanced technical know-how. Enter you sub-heading, area and industry underneath your name, and add a profile picture of yourself.
Edit your qualifications. Add your current and past employment as well as your education. Be sure to include descriptions of your past jobs and degrees earned––this way, people will be able to more clearly see your experiences and know what to contact you for. LinkedIn can also tailor job suggestions to send you if you've provided adequate details.
Add a Summary. This is a chance to write a more in-depth paragraph to give people an idea of where you stand now in your career, what your strengths are, where you want to go and what you have to offer. Although it's a summary, it can take some time to write a good one, so don't be afraid to edit it ruthlessly until it reads well.
Add Specialties. This is located directly below. It acts as an extension of the Summary section but in short form. You can list specific skills and areas of expertise.
Add Connections. You can have LinkedIn search through your email address book to find people you know. You can also search by a person’s name, job title or company.
Add Websites. Link in your company’s website, your own personal site, your blog, and/or your Twitter account. This will allow visitors to your page to see different aspects of your professional self.
Get Recommendations. If you’re trying to find a job through LinkedIn, it is suggested that you have at least three professional recommendations. Ask your former bosses or colleagues. Return the favor and recommend others as well.
Add Applications. These are not necessary, but having them can make your profile more complete. For example, you can add Blog Link for a stream of your blog or other website updates. You can add the Reading List application by Amazon to let everyone know what books you’re reading and which ones you recommend. With other applications, you can share files or presentations.
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