By Lilian Wamaitha
Throughout your job search you have been told all the reasons why you need a LinkedIn profile.
And so you have gone ahead and created what you think is an ideal profile that portrays you best professionally to recruiters.
But how many people have contacted you through LinkedIn? Has there even been a recruiter who has approached you about a job opportunity they believe you qualify for? If the answers is ‘No” there is something you are doing wrong.
I interviewed some of my co-workers to find out if LinkedIn has ever worked for any of them. Coincidentally, a third of them attested to having a LinkedIn account that has worked for them while the rest said that they are hoping that the networks they have created will be beneficial in the long run.
Ms. Rebecca Nyawira, a professional CV writer, agreed that if done right LinkedIn has the potential to act like your CV.
So this begs the question; why is yours not working for you?
It is one thing to create a LinkedIn profile and another to have one that works for you. Here is why;
1. You don’t engage with your networks
LinkedIn was created as a means for professionals to create networks online.
If we are being honest, a majority of us including me don’t really attend networking events. Maybe we think is not necessary or that we don’t have the time to spare. In that case, we have to find ways of bringing these networks close.
It’s where LinkedIn comes in. The networks you create on LinkedIn can act just like the ones you meet at events. And just like when you are at an event, the only way someone can acknowledge your presence is if they know you exist.
Don’t be the kind of person who just keeps following people but then never takes it to the next level.
A while back, a young man followed me on LinkedIn and when I followed back, he sent me a direct message informing me that he is currently taking photography as a course and is looking for someone who can point him in the right direction as to where he can get to practice his course. The reason I remember him is because he was not to scared ask for help and he had mastered what it means to create important networks.
I ended up recommending him to a friend of mine who owns a photo studio and just like that got himself a sort of internship where he can practice as he continues with his studies.
So next time you add someone on LinkedIn, have a goal and determine how this person can help you in your career. You don’t have to be creepy but just a simple message introducing yourself and what you are looking for will go a long way.
Bonus Tip: Don’t shy away from asking for recommendations on your skills and experiences, be it from your past or present employers or colleagues. Get those endorsements.
2. You are not connected to recruiters
Ever heard the saying that you get what you look for?
Well, think about this; you are looking for a job but instead of connecting with the people who can actually give you a job, you are busy sending generic CVs to all companies you think you can work for.
“There are times when I will have a position I need to close for a client but I am not getting the right CVs. When that happens, I will go LinkedIn to look for the CVs I need. A lot of the time, this pays off rather than wait for someone to apply, “says Ms. Carolyne Kariuki, a recruiter at Corporate Staffing Services.
3. You are leaving out the summary section
One of the most difficult or presumed to be difficult sections of a LinkedIn profile is the summary section.
This is because it demands that you describe yourself to anyone coming to your profile, and since you want to pass the best information, it gets even more difficult.
And just like the profile summary in a CV, it can be difficult but it is necessary. Take time to structure a great summary that sells you perfectly.
4. You are using the default connection request
Connection request on LinkedIn is a great way to introduce yourself to people in your industry and create networks. Using the default connection message not only shows a lack of creativity but it also doesn’t set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
Imagine sending an employer the normal connection message and someone else sending a personalized message, the employer is likely to remember the one with the personalized message as opposed to the one with the default one.
The whole point of LinkedIn is to stand out in order to get jobs. Therefore, before sending a connection request it is important that you personalize it so as to show your creativity and true interest in the person and position.
You Must See This >>> 4 Unwritten LinkedIn Rules That You Should Never Break
5. You have too many irrelevant connections or are joining the wrong groups
LinkedIn is not Facebook where quantity surpasses quality. Instead, the quality of your connections is what matters more than quantity.
Groups on LinkedIn forum are vital as you get to interact with people in the same industry as you and share insights.
Don’t just join a group for the sake of being in one. Get to know the value you will derive and the value you will offer.
Only targeted connections and groups will help you get recent industry information and become the effective tool for achieving your career goals.
6. You have ‘unemployed’ or ‘looking for job’ as your headline
While it is true that you are currently looking for a job, including this as your professional headline is not going to work in your favor.
The secret to being discovered on LinkedIn is prioritizing on keywords, meaning that you have to include your area of study.
If an employer is looking to hire in Procurement for instance, they are probably going to search “Procurement Assistants on LinkedIn Kenya”, leaving you out in the search. No one is ever going to search ‘unemployed Kenyans on LinkedIn’, so you must be creative.
Say something like, “Procurement Professional seeking Procurement opportunities in FMCG industry”.
Getting a job through LinkedIn is becoming popular across top companies and all industries with some even requesting that you apply with your LinkedIn profile only. Be smart about it and you’ll make it just fine.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. Reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org.