As a careers and employment specialist, I am continually amazed by the number of people who genuinely think that LinkedIn is a waste of time.

Common refrains I hear from the unconvinced, include "I put a profile up and nothing has happened" or "no recruiter has ever reached out to me".

Gamechanger

LinkedIn is arguably the biggest game changer the world of employment has had for many years.

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With the capability to professionally promote yourself to decision makers, extensive functionality, and ability for recruiters to search for key talent in the market, it has become a one-stop shop for many in the wider employment industry.

Recruiter Friendly

The better your profile (read "online brochure") and the more activity you take part in on LinkedIn, dictates your ranking in candidate searches. All the time I hear of recruiters "cherry picking" top candidates for exciting new opportunities using LinkedIn as their own personal candidate database.

In fact, a top-end LinkedIn profile can almost work "too well". A senior-level friend of mine in the PR industry decided to take her profile down as she was getting "too many job offers"!

Perception equals reality

In the world of recruitment and job hunting, the old saying that "perception equals reality" could not be more true. One great example of this in the LinkedIn universe are "endorsements". These allow you to endorse other people in your network with skills such as "Change Management", "Strategic Planning", "Time Management" etc. By endorsing others in your network, they in turn return the favour by increasing your endorsements.

However, the key here is not to randomly endorse people for every skill under the sun, but to choose real skills they have, that you can select with authenticity.

Groups

Joining influential groups are a great way to develop a strong brand with key decision-makers. Besides the up-to-date industry research, information and data that others bring to the group, you can also share relevant posts, articles and media that helps to bring others up to speed in their job. Over time, your activity and insights you share will be picked up by industry insiders, presenting you as a "thought leader" within your industry grouping.

Keep it updated

Recently a client contacted me to discuss their profile. Many parts of it were very good, however their most recent senior level job had no information in it, except for the job tile, dates and company name. Inquiring why it was not up to date, they said that they "hadn't got around to it yet" (despite working at the company for almost 18 months). This does not send a positive message to a recruiter.

Take it seriously

These days, new opportunity can come out of nowhere. We never know when a recruiter, HR manager or future employer is trawling our profile. Therefore, make sure you take your personal brand seriously, and present the best LinkedIn profile you can to the market!

Contact Tom for a free LinkedIn or CV review, or to be your personal career coach. Visit www.CareerCoach.nz or www.CV.co.nz to find out more.