Wednesday, October 27

Taking advantage of LinkedIn to advance your career

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Sarawak-Yes-LogoWHEN you are mapping out your career, there are so many things to consider and it can be difficult to keep up. But increasingly there is one thing that really does need your attention: LinkedIn.

While people are familiar with the most popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, a lot of people are not as confident when it comes to dealing with LinkedIn.

This is where you can connect with other professionals and it is also where a lot of recruiters now look when they are searching for candidates to fill vacant positions – so it’s important your profile is up to scratch.

It’s also important to remember that while you are able to be relaxed and casual on social media, when it comes to LinkedIn, it’s for professionals so you need to take a different, and somewhat more serious approach. Though not so serious that it’s boring.

Below are some helpful tips to get your started on LinkedIn.

1. Your online resume. When putting together your profile on LinkedIn, it’s important to remember that it needs to be professional. Think of it as your online resume. And to stand out you need to make sure your profile is complete and always up-to-date. Don’t be lazy – make sure you complete every section in your profile. A good place to start is choosing a great photo – an image that is clear, friendly and professional. We don’t want to see a photo of you on your last vacation or hanging out with friends – you can keep that photo for Facebook.

2. Add your skills and experiences. If recruiters are checking out your profile, they want to see if your skills and experience match a particular role they are looking to fill. So it’s important that you outline all of your work experience, projects you were involved in, and some examples of your work. Make sure you also include other experience that may be of interest to recruiters, such as volunteering.

Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have specific job skills that make you more valuable? Do you have any impressive achievements or accomplishments that you can highlight? These are all things that can make your profile jump out and get you noticed by the right people. So remember to include them.

3. Make connections. Once you have set up your profile, it’s time to start making connections. Don’t be timid – start connecting with colleagues, former colleagues, and other people you have dealt with in a professional capacity. LinkedIn will also start making suggestions of people you may want to connect with – it may identify people they think you know, but you weren’t aware were on the network, or people it thinks may be relevant to you through your other connections. Gradually you will discover that your network is expanding and soon enough people will be viewing your profile, potentially even recruiters, who often contact people directly on LinkedIn asking if they are interested in a particular opportunity.

4. Join some groups. Another important part of LinkedIn is LinkedIn Groups, which is a great resource and allows you to join groups that are relevant to your job or professional field, or even an area you are simply interested in. These groups often have online discussions about a whole range of topics, which you can contribute to. And being active on these can help you get noticed by the right people.

* This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.