Is the resume becoming extinct? JD Gershbein thinks it’s possible. Every professional knows that it’s a good idea to have a LinkedIn profile, but how best to build it and find new opportunities? Gershbein encourages professionals to continuously improve their LinkedIn profiles, which have emerged as the most versatile business document around. In his talk, Gershbein focused his presentation around what he would do on LinkedIn if he needed a job. “You’re competing on LinkedIn for three things: time, visibility and attention,” he told us. Gershbein stated that it is important to convert action on LinkedIn to a strategy. Working with LinkedIn for job leads or new business is a lot like panning for gold in that there is a lot of junk, but worth it if you are methodical and consistent in your approach. In terms of developing LinkedIn profiles, Gershbein said that there are three sub-movements within the social media revolution currently taking place that we should consider:
Brand Storytelling – where you embrace uniqueness in contributory form or aspirational form
Content Marketing – how you sell yourself
Community Management – living the story you tell in front of the real world
One way that a LinkedIn profile can be better than a resume is that it allows you to show potential employers what you accomplished, along with what you learned as a result of what you accomplished. Gershbein says that the latter explanation is a very important way to show employers your self-awareness and personal development. Using LinkedIn publishing, a platform for blog posts and original content from LinkedIn users, is also a good way to achieve your content marketing goals. Writing is a valuable skill in almost every business field and any piece of communication you produce should be considered as part of your strategy. It’s also important to be accessible. You can develop an e-signature for your personal email, and you should always include your email address and telephone number in your LinkedIn profile. When making contact on LinkedIn, Gershbein says it is good to quickly move the conversation offline and schedule what he calls a “brief discovery call”. Most people are much more likely to agree to a call if it’s described as brief, Gershbein has found. Another important tip is don’t make the LinkedIn profile a redundant document that provides the same information as your resume.
The most important area on your LinkedIn profile is the summary section. According to Gershbein, this is the “make or break section” and should be written in third person narrative format. The summary needs to answer three questions:
Why should I hire you?
What contributions will you make?
What were the results from what you did?
Everything on the LinkedIn profile should help answer these three questions. Contributions should center on two main areas: contributions to company culture and contributions with clients. It’s important to answer the question of “Why would you recommend yourself to others?” also. Keywords are an important consideration because this is how recruiters will find you and connect with you. Anything shown in bold on your LinkedIn profile appears higher in search results. The main keywords you want to focus on include your industry, market, job title and specific skills. It’s a good idea to sprinkle in relevant keywords throughout your profile to rank higher in recruiters’ search results which tend to favor profiles with many connections and profiles with more sections completed.
LinkedIn is an extremely popular website with nearly 350 million users yet remains underutilized by many. With a more strategic approach and a carefully crafted profile, LinkedIn can provide job seekers with a strong platform for branding, networking and finding new employment opportunities.
JD Gershbein is the CEO of Owlish Communications and a specialist in LinkedIn strategy. For more information, visit http://www.owlishcommunications.com