LinkedIn now features over 300m users across the globe. While this might not be up there with Facebook numbers, it is has become the de facto social media platform for the business community. It’s great for building contacts and attaining market intelligence. For job seekers, it's a fundamental part of the job search effort.
Include a picture
Whilst you wouldn’t include a picture in a CV, with LinkedIn it is vital you do. It’s about marketing yourself and people want to engage with a tangible person. Ideally, the picture should be a head and shoulders one. Select a picture showing a natural and relaxed smile. You want to strike the right balance between not looking too formal and not looking too casual either.
Incorporate a background image
LinkedIn, like all websites, is a mainly visual experience. A background picture gives your profile further uniqueness. You can choose something abstract or something related to your career. You want the picture to contrast well with the profile so you may wish to modify the picture first to get it just right.
Write in the first person
CVs are written in 3rd person, however with LinkedIn, it is advisable to write in 1st person. You are striking up a dialogue with the reader therefore you need to addresses them directly. For this reason, it is also better to write in short paragraphs and avoid bullet points. Paragraphs reflect the way we speak more naturally than bullet points.
Optimise the professional headline and summary
As a job finder, you want your profile to show up when recruiters search for relevant key skills. Including key words relevant to your role and desired job title is therefore extremely important. LinkedIn places most emphasis on the professional headline for key word searches so make sure you use commonly understood industry job titles to get noticed.
Make yourself visible
You want your account to be visible to as many relevant people as is feasible. So in the 'privacy' section ensure your profile settings are set to visible. In the 'profile viewing options' make sure 'Your name and headline' is tagged. This permits you to see people who viewed your profile.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations always look good in your profile. Ideally get one or more for your most recent roles. This type of peer endorsement is extremely valuable and most trusted connections will feel only too flattered to be asked.
Search for jobs
You can also use LinkedIn to search for jobs which may interest you. In the search field at the top of the page, select the 'jobs' option and then start looking for the types of role which you may be suited to; use keywords such as ‘planner’ or ‘principal planner’ that are relevant to your job search.
Be active and maintain your profile
If you are an active job seeker you should really log in to LinkedIn once a day as a minimum. It's also crucial that your profile is up-to-date and has the same, current details as your CV as it is very likely any employer will go to LinkedIn next having read your CV.