When you think of social networking, you tend to think of places where you can share family photos, and videos of cats doing funny things. Social sites come in all shapes and sizes, though, which is why LinkedIn has become the site where executives and business professionals go to maintain an online profile. Unlike those other sites, this is not a social setting where the participants are asked to be anything other than totally professional. This is why setting up your profile correctly is a must, as your peers are going to be judging you based on how your page looks.
Why is this important? It all goes back to the old phrase about only getting one chance to make a first impression. LinkedIn is the place where business people go to interact and network, with many there for the purpose of looking for people to hire. If you are in the process of looking to find a job or switch careers, you had better have a professional looking profile that will catch the eye. Missing information or inappropriate details will drive away those who are looking to hire. It is essentially the equivalent of showing up for an important job interview in a t-shirt and jeans.
LinkedIn is a place where you can post your resume, but it will never get seen if you don’t have a profile page that is professionally put together. If a potential employer likes what they see when they land on your profile page, chances are they will take a look around. Think of your LinkedIn profile as being an extension of your resume. This is where you have a chance to go into more detail about your education, work experience, and any other skills that you might be bringing to the table.
You don’t necessarily have to be looking to change your career by going on LinkedIn. The site is a fantastic place to network and learn more about your industry. If you want to be taken seriously when talking in groups and forums within LinkedIn, you need to have a profile that shows you to be professional and someone who might actually know what they are talking about. What you find when you take part in these groups is that there is a lot about your industry that you didn’t know. Don’t be left on the outside looking in because your profile is unacceptable.
Being successful in the business world begins with building your credibility, which is definitely something that you can do via LinkedIn. If you are not sure where to start, or think that your profile page may be lacking, it is important that you ask for help. There are services out there now who will help you put together a LinkedIn profile page that gets noticed, and gets the respect that your experience and industry know how deserves.
Keep it Brief
The message in the very first email correspondence should be brief and to the point. It should not take more than one screen, consisting of only a couple of short paragraphs. Most of your employers and human resource representatives will be reading hundreds or perhaps thousands of these emails for every individual job posting. This means that they have very short attention spans and usually will only give your cover letter a few seconds to review.
Grab their Attention in the Subject Line
When responding to an online job application, avoid using terms such as “looking for a job” in the subject line. This leads the reviewer to think that you are willing to take any type of position from any sort of employer simply because you need the paycheck. It is better to be more specific, including the precise job title and perhaps the posting number for the position of employment. Again, keep it short and to the point.
The very first couple of lines should clearly communicate exactly why you are perfect for this position. Avoid unnecessary words. Clearly state your name and your email address in the posting and why you have the experience that is relevant for this vacant position. Write your email cover letter using appropriate keywords that are usually displayed in the online description for the job opening. These keywords are what the employer will be searching for when reviewing your job application. Providing them will give you a greater chance of landing the interview.
Employers and Human Resource Representatives can always tell if a CV has been mass-produced and sent out to several different employers at the same time. Yours needs to be very specifically worded to target a precise company and the exact position for which you are applying. Take the extra time to slightly modify each resume sent to every individual employer, making it more relevant to the unique company job description.
Use Similar Language
Consider using the same types of language that the employer has used to create the original online advertisement for the job opening. For example, if the job description states that they are looking for an employee who can “multitask”, then you should include in your resume that you possess this specific skill and support your claim with previous examples from past employment.
Pay Attention to Job Titles One of the best ways to get noticed is to create job titles that pop. For example, rather than simply stating that you were a “Manager” in your previous position, consider a more creatively worded job title instead. Changing your title to “Manager of Distribution and Logistics” will definitely capture the attention of the CV reviewer while also making your previous position appear more valuable and important.
Focus on Past Achievements
A common mistake that many first time resume writers make is by creating a lengthy document filled with a rather tall list of job skills and responsibilities without highlighting any of their past achievements. Reviewers see these long lists hundreds of times each day, so your CV needs to be different in order to get noticed. For example, instead of stating that you were simply a “sales representative” in your previous position, you might also include that you were awarded the “Top Sales Agent of 2013” for exceeding your monthly quota for 12 months in a row. Show that you consistently go above and beyond the call of duty by listing as many previous professional achievements as possible.
Make it Email Friendly and Proofread
Most employers will not even print out a hardcopy version of your resume. Instead, they will view it online or in their email inbox. Always take this into consideration when formatting the text and content included inside. Make sure that it is easy to read and flows smoothly for the reviewer. Bullet Points work well, and proofreading is essential. Misspellings and bad grammar are an instant turnoff to many potential employers. Because Human Resource Representatives receive so many applications every day, many will immediately toss any CV that contains the first sign of a grammatical error into the garbage. Take the extra time to proofread your resume several times, and consider asking someone you trust to also proofread the document as well.