With continued positive sentiment in the employment market, we’re seeing more new roles becoming available (which is the good news), however disproportionately more candidates are vying for each position making it fiercely competitive. So, candidates need to look at every aspect of their personal brand and find ways to differentiate themselves.
One piece of advice we regularly find ourselves offering to candidates is to really invest time into enhancing their LinkedIn profiles. Whether you are looking to move roles now, or have no long term plan, it is good practice to keep your professional profile polished and up to date. Have a professional photo, update any recently acquired qualifications or skills, build your testimonials and join discussion groups to develop a reputation as an expert in your field.
The question is, how do you go from being relatively inactive on LinkedIn to all of a sudden being highly active with a bright and shiny new profile picture and updated skills? You may as well have “I want to leave” tattooed on your forehead, right?
Wrong! The reality is there is never a bad time to start building your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your LinkedIn presence without declaring to the world that you’re considering a job move.
1) Begin by disabling your ‘activity alerts’
That way you can build your profile out of the sight of prying eyes. Start with updating your picture, a smart photograph that represents you as the professional you wish to be perceived as, whether that is in your best suit or out on the work site in your ‘high viz’ – make sure it’s professional and remember this is not Facebook! Have you accurately represented everything you have learnt and acquired in the last 12 months? If you can’t answer that question in the affirmative then this is your most important task. Once your profile is beginning to look well developed, turn on your activity alerts and start to engage with your LinkedIn community.
2) Build a relevant network
Are you connected to the right people, following relevant influencers, joining discussion groups and industry bodies? Groups and industry bodies in particular are places where recruiters and hiring managers will look to source talent from, so do ensure you are there to be found. Feel free to follow the Peoplecorp LinkedIn page to keep abreast what is happening in the HR community.
3) Develop a Rhythm
If you’re updating your profile regularly, not only will that be excellent for your online brand but it will also disguise any ulterior motives, particularly if you are actually using a heightened level of activity to find that next big thing in your career. Being known as someone with an interest in staying close to your network will quickly become a part of your brand and ensure there are no obvious peaks in activity that may stir the senses of your current employer.
4) Encourage your peers to get on board
Power in numbers! It makes good sense to have an awareness of what is going on out there and in an ever evolving social media world, we’re constantly heeding messages of the importance of keeping up with online tools. So, encourage everyone to commit to building a stronger online brand, after all there is so much to learn from following competitors, peers and colleagues of differing demographics and if anything it is going to make you a stronger asset to your current employer.
5) Promote your successes and those of your team or company
So, even if you are actually looking for something new, don’t be afraid to promote the success of your current team. You will enjoy sharing the good news stories from within your current role whilst demonstrating your positive attitude towards your current company, in turn making you a more appealing prospect to a future employer.
The reality is that it makes good sense to ‘own’ your online brand and the benefits are multi-dimensional. Irrespective of whether your ‘end game’ is to be sought out as an employee of the future for another company, establishing your online presence will improve your awareness of the sector you work in and support your professional development.