Make your online you as attractive as the real you..!
11th October 2016
If anyone reading this has read my previous blog on sharpening your CV and folio then I’d like to think that if those 5 simple steps have been followed your online ‘you’ will be of the same calibre and quality as your CV and folio… It wasn’t that long ago (trust me) that you would have to remember to buy milk on the way home, before remembering you had a date after you had been introduced at the pub by a friend and needed to book your summer holiday at the local travel agents. So in this world of online dating, buying groceries from the comfort of your sofa, and shopping for holidays whilst on the train to work it begs the question; at what stage will the traditional printed CV become redundant? So; here are my top ‘do’s and don’ts’ in an online world.
1. Remember what you put online can be seen by EVERYBODY. Employers regularly check candidates’ online profiles either before inviting them into an interview or after agreeing to meet. I’ve had interviews cancelled due to poor online profiles or sensitive content being posted on the likes of Twitter, Facebook etc. It’s fine to be yourself and have a view point but remember not everyone will agree with you so make sure that any social channels are set to friends and family and not posted so that everyone can read and see. Linkedin is very public despite the 1st, 2nd and 3rd connection method. More often than not people accept invites without knowing who, or why they are being sent. Think carefully about who you accept an invite from and question ‘why?’. The same goes to those of you that send out invites to people willy nilly; again; what are you expecting to get from this and for goodness sake – make it personal if you do by addressing the addressee by name and giving them an idea of why you want to connect with them – it works; trust me!
2. Profile picture? Treat this as if you were comparing LinkedIn to a dating site. Would you click on the profile of someone who has no picture? Would you accept a message or a request from someone that has no photo? It begs the question are they real / what are they trying to hide? Don’t say ‘oh, but I hate the way I look / I think it’s silly / I don’t need a picture etc etc. You NEED a photo. Not only does it fill in that little redundant space in the top left hand corner but allows the people that you interact with to put a face to the name. You don’t have to be a model or pose for the picture just be yourself but there are some simple steps that I would abide by. No silly pictures pulling faces, this is a professional online tool and your clients and bosses will see it so keep it professional! Remove the silly hat and sunglasses, eye contact if possible and ideally waist up so that we can actually see those pearly whites. No point you standing on a cliff top in the summer with your back to us. Have a good quality high-res picture ideally in colour and be proud of who you are!
3. Contact details. You’re looking for a job? You are searching for business? You want me to call you? How can anyone do this when all that we can see is your personal email address that is under ‘contact’. Make sure that the contact details are right first of all and that the linkedIn address that you registered with 6 years ago is still the one that you use today; add a mobile or land-line number so that people can call you if they need to. Make sure that you remove links to your previous places of work. So many times I will click to contact someone and it takes me to their old agency, has their email address linked to a business and a website that was from a job 3 years ago. Keep your details up to date; it shows that you are organised and in turn will allow for the best possible communication through LinkedIn.
4. Consistency. Your LinkedIn profile IS your online CV so for goodness sake put as much effort (sometimes more) into this than the paper one that you send out; It should match perfectly with dates and content. Make sure that you ‘dead off’ old roles and the dates tally. Ensure that the companies that you worked for are indeed the right businesses. This might seem silly but you will be surprised how many versions of one company there are on LinkedIn. When someone adds their contact details and employment details this creates a new company so any alterations to this company are stored. For example ‘ABC Recruitment / ABCRecruitment / ABC Recruitment Ltd’ etc. There is always one correct name and that is the one that is governed by the administrator of that company that forms the company’s ‘homepage’ so is easy to search for and find under ‘companies’ The give-away is that the logo is attached to the company profile so should be easy to find.
5. Get recommended! You say you are good. Of course you do but its helps when people in the industry recommend you and prove that you are what you say you are. Asking for recommendations is easy and if you are great get your friends, colleagues, clients and business associates to tell the world how awesome you are – it really helps!
6. Keep it slick. Like my previous blog where I said ‘less is more’ the same can be said for your LinkedIn profile – keep the content slick and to the point. No need to go into a huge essay on what you do and how you do it; and ensure that you are not giving away trade secrets as EVERYONE can see this so it’s pretty hard to deny when it’s online!
7. Added extras… There are hundreds of added extras that you can do on top of these basic pointers here. Adding a personal background picture to the profile to add a bit of personality. A personal profile, adding what charities you support and care about, languages, and companies that you follow to show what interests you and keeps you ticking… Play around and explore all the options to ensure that you have the best online profile you can create.
LinkedIn truly is the online CV that will overtake the traditional printed format that you and I have held so dearly very soon. So why not spend this weekend brushing yours up? Give it a Spring clean and make sure that your online you is as good as the real you. If you follow these simple steps it WILL help; that I can guarantee. Good luck!