Inspiring Success

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May 20, 2016

LinkedIn Blog Series: The Value of a LinkedIn Profile

linkedinLinkedIn probably isn’t winning the social media popularity contest anytime soon. Facebook would be the obvious choice, followed by Twitter and most likely Instagram. However, the professional nature of LinkedIn users shouldn’t belittle the network’s powerful influence on connecting job seekers, brand names, recruiters, and businesses.

I doubt you spend 30 minutes on LinkedIn per day, much like Facebook’s power users. That’s why over the next few weeks, I will be providing a crash course on what LinkedIn has to offer by covering its most prominent features. I am not proclaiming to be a LinkedIn power user even though my All-Star profile strength might tell you otherwise, but I use it enough to know how to establish a presence for beginners.

I have been providing basic LinkedIn training for the IT-Ready program for two years now. /developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready is a free, eight-week course offered by the /home">IT charity, Creating IT Futures Foundation. IT-Ready takes individuals who lack opportunity and teaches them the technical and professional development skills needed to successfully secure work in an entry-level help desk position in information technology. Included in the professional development aspect of the course are communication and presentation skills, conflict management, and yes, building out a LinkedIn profile. That’s where I come in.

As soon as our IT-Ready students graduate, they become job seekers, and while we help with job placement, it ultimately comes down to the graduates and how they prepare prior to interviewing. For the job seeker and potential employer or recruiter, LinkedIn serves as the online resume which can help the job candidate be found or the potential employer get a picture of that candidate.

This brings me to the first “must haves” for your profile: a professional picture. LinkedIn is not the place to use a profile picture of you and your best buds out on the town. I recommend using a professional headshot if possible (all IT-Ready students receive free professional headshots) or something similar. Remember this statistic: adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn. So for the job seekers out there, that means 14 times more likely to be found by a potential employer or recruiter! This is the time to get serious about your photo.

Through this blog series, I will walk you through the work it takes to create an All-Star LinkedIn profile, from a compelling headline to a complete, authentic summary. Once that work is complete, LinkedIn becomes an immensely powerful tool that will help advance your career.

Stay tuned for tips on how you’ll be able to maximize the value of your perfect profile.

Tom Liszka is Manager, Social and Digital Media, at the Creating IT Futures Foundation.