Following the Army 2020 announcement and ahead of the next wave of redundancies, it's imperative that if you're looking for work you make the most out of sites like LinkedIn.
10 pointers and top tips to get the most out of LinkedIn:
1) Stealth job-seeking and stalking.
a. *Top tip* If you’re looking for new business opportunities or making changes to your profile ready for job seeking, you may not want to broadcast your activity. Click the drop-down menu under your name in the top right corner of the page, then select 'Settings'. In the profile section, click 'Turn on/off your activity broadcasts' under Privacy Controls. Uncheck the box that appears in the pop-up window and click Save Settings. Once you're done stalking, turn this back on otherwise you'll remain invisible.
b. *Top tip* To make your profile anonymous while checking out other people on LinkedIn, choose Settings > Privacy Controls > Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile. From there, you have three options: Display your name and headline; Display an anonymous profile with some characteristics identified such as industry and title, or totally anonymous. Remember to switch back!
c. *Top tip* Block connections and group activities from competitors. Select Settings > Account > Customize the updates you see on your homepage. In the pop-up window under General, uncheck the box that says 'New Connections' in your network. Scroll down and, under Groups, uncheck the box next to Groups your connections have joined or created. Click Save Changes and you’re safeguarded.
Make sure your Unique Selling Point (USP) or area of expertise is included as a keyword in your headline and profile summary e.g. 'Operations Manager'. This will improve your appearance when prospective employers are trawling through search results for your skillset.
3) Group participation.
Join professional groups relevant to your experience and interests and get stuck into the debates and discussions to share your professional expertise, knowledge, articles and give advice to others. Don't fire from the hip and draft your response off-line first.
Don't blanket email or try to connect to people you don't know. Instead, ask for referrals through your connections and always, always send a personal message. Sending the generic 'I'd like to add you to my professional network . . . ' is lazy!
5) Customise your URL.
Make sure your name comes top in searches by customising your LinkedIn URL. Log in. Click Profile > Edit Profile in the main navigation bar. At the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information on the right, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL. If you've got a common name, it may help to include a middle name or initial to get a unique URL.
6) Tangible achievements.
Be specific. Potential employers want to know that you'll be a good Return on Investmenet (ROI). Quantify your successes and use statistics to demonstrate proven ability. Give recommendations and ask for them, even provide your former boss or colleague with a suggested draft to make it easy.
a. *Top tip* If you get a recommendation that’s poorly written or unsolicited - hide it. Select Profile > Edit Profile and go to the position with which the recommendation is associated. Click Manage. Uncheck the box next to the recommendation that you want to hide, and click 'Save Changes'.
Fully complete your profile to include picture, headline, website, short bio, work history, and recommendations. Integrate and cross promote across your various channels whether that be a business website, blog, Twitter, presentations, publications or news articles.
a. *Top tip* when adding your website to your profile chose 'other' you can then type in the name of your website and improve SEO rather than settling for the default 'My website' title.
b. *Top tip* If you have a blog, select 'More' in the main navigation bar and select 'Applications'. Then, choose the WordPress or other application and enter the link to your feed. The blog will appear in your profile and will update each time a new post is added.
8) Company profile.
Set up a company profile and list your services. Again, it increases SEO and compliments your web presence - you can embed HTML code into your website to include a LinkedIn plugin for ease of interoperability.
9) Remove connections.
Has a contact or peer become a competitor or a nuisance? Select Contacts in the main navigation bar. At the far right, you’ll see two options: Add connections and Remove connections. Click Remove connections, check the box next to the contact’s name and click OK.
You've added a summary and career history, but 'Projects' will let you showcase a specific skillset. Plus, you can add a relevant URL to each project and, if your team members are also on LinkedIn, you can connect them (by name and by link to profile) to the project as well. Click Profile > Edit Profile. Under the primary gray box of your profile, you’ll see a new 'Add Sections' feature on a blue background. Click Add sections, Projects and enter a project description.