How to promote yourself professionally on social media in less than 6 seconds

Amber Wigmore. Director. Talent and Careers. IE

1 December 2016

Six seconds. That’s how long a headhunter spends reviewing your LinkedIn profile. Are you well enough prepared to get through to this person, surprise them and use this platform to showcase yourself?

With more than 300 million users in over 200 countries around the world, and more than 2 new professionals registering every second on LinkedIn’s website, having your profile there is no longer an option, it’s a must. It is estimated that 80% of CEOs use social media platforms.

A large number of company directors make the mistake of thinking that only people looking for work are present on social media, when in reality it is more about wanting to enhance your personal brand and position yourself as a thought leader. LinkedIn is the ideal site to showcase your professional track record, strengthen your brand identity, and highlight your key achievements, although Twitter and Instagram are catching up fast in this aspect. In the case of Twitter, you have to use key words in your industry for your permitted bio, given that searches for people to follow are based on this.

For those professionals that would love to be on headhunters’ radars, LinkedIn helps to increase their visibility in its community, given that it forms a fundamental part of their toolkit. They use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to search for potential candidates, hence it is important to use words specific to their industry if you want to be visible to them. But what exactly are recruiters looking for when they use this type of platform to look for job candidates?

As a candidate, remember that you don’t get a second chance to cause a first impression, and that you have less than 6 seconds to make an impact, because that is the time that recruiters will invest in reviewing each online profile. So, what should you center on? First, on having a professional photo in which you are smiling, or at least you give the impression that it would be good to get to know you. Second, remember that the title of your profile is very important, because after your photo and current position, it is the only source of information that shows up on searches in LinkedIn.

Many executives become complacent and wait until a period of professional transition to start building an executive network, when the reality is that a strong network takes time to build. Don’t put off building relations until you need something. Moreover, you have to keep networking in person, with LinkedIn playing a pivotal role in learning more about new connections, doing follow-ups, and keeping in contact.

A LinkedIn strategy forms part of your career roadmap and it is important to keep your profile optimized using information that is correct and up to date. In order to achieve this here are some guidelines:

• Expand on points included in your CV, going deeper into different aspects, sharing knowledge, commenting on relevant articles, taking part in group discussions, and becoming an expert in your professional field. Don’t just copy and paste stuff off your CV.

• Write a summary describing who you are, your key achievements, areas of specialization and qualities or attributes that make you stand out from the rest, all this in a genuine and credible manner.

• Use all available space in each section, starting with your title, which could include a statement about your personal brand, or key areas of professional experience.

• Think about being more strategic and remember that your LinkedIn profile should reflect who you are, how you want to be perceived in your career, and what your competitive advantage is vis-à-vis other similar profiles.

• Include the most relevant key words, thinking about where you want to go in your career. Headhunting firms and companies use key words to find candidates with a certain combination of skills and experience.

• Use the Alumni section of LinkedIn to connect with alumni of educational establishments.

This is about creating an image on social networks that enables others to understand who you are, what experience you have, your value. Online presence is a critical component of your career management strategy. Your objective should be to establish a human connection by taking part in group activities and then letting your passion shine through.

 

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