Are you on LinkedIn? If not, you are "dead in the water".
That's an actual statement WFAA's Jason Wheeler got in an e-mail from a networking group about LinkedIn. That sounds pretty extreme, but if you are a professional, that platform offers a crucial space for you to network, market your skills and experience, and find job leads.
Wheeler has heard about the importance of the site from different experts, including ‘America's Top Career Coach’ Robin Ryan.
"94% of all recruiters spend at least an hour or two on linked in everyday and they are looking for talent," said Ryan.
Ryan has a LinkedIn writing section on her website. Among other advice there, she said, “To be effective, your profile cannot just be a copy and paste of your resume or just a simple uncompleted profile."
Separately, Ryan penned a column outlining 17 LinkedIn best practices.
Here are some highlights from Ryan and other experts. If you are a professional, you probably need to be on LinkedIn, with a professional photo—not a casual one. Also, you want to fully fill out your work history.
Ryan shared these pointers, “Do not describe the company you work for. Focus on what you do for them. Avoid long, generic job descriptions.”
And remember, the section where you display your career history is not just a place to list dates, job titles, and some of your duties.
"We want to see results, so in that professional experience make sure you're writing this was my action and this was the result; like I took on this project. We went and made these changes and as a result the company saved two-million dollars," said Ryan.
If you are open to work or a new job, Ryan suggested, “Let recruiters on LinkedIn know you’re open to new job opportunities by turning on this section seen only by recruiters."
It’s also a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile at least once a year. And pay very close attention to your "headline". As you craft that section of your profile, think about which of these two headlines might intrigue you enough to read a news story:
LinkedIn is important
How LinkedIn could save you career from being “Dead in the water”
And Ryan explained, "The headline, that's the most searched part of LinkedIn. Don't let it be your default job title."
Instead, Ryan advised that you include where you work and your full job title, which might include more key words, so you show up in search results when hiring managers are looking for talent.
Here are two examples:
Bad: Jason Wheeler, Anchor/Reporter
Much better: Jason Wheeler, Television news anchor/reporter at WFAA-TV, anchor of daily 4pm newscast, consumer/finance editor, political podcast host, election touch screen producer, web article writer
Let’s say you start to get noticed on LinkedIn, and people request to connect with you.
Ryan warned, "Don't accept everybody. Accept people in your network who are going to help you with your job search or get new clients or build your business."