First, do no harm. Make sure there’s nothing floating around on the web that would detract from your professional self.
Second, fill the void. Recruiters will search for you. While you don’t want them to find something negative, you also don’t want their search to yield nothing of interest when it comes to your potential.
Third, give them something professional and positive to find. This is where LinkedIn® comes in.
LinkedIn® is intuitive, and it’s easy to set up a profile—so easy that everyone is on LinkedIn®. Recruiters, friends, and connections on LinkedIn® can help you meet your professional goals.
But make sure you stand out…
- Have a professional picture. Profiles with pictures get more views. Period. But make sure that your picture shows how you’d like to be perceived professionally—this is not the time to casually crop yourself out of a group shot.
- Have a compelling summary. Typically, a summary is a place where people with a lot of experience can point to their knowledge and past accomplishments. If you have less experience, it’s better to show your potential and your goals.
- Have a complete profile. At this point, your profile won’t go on for miles and miles, so take the time to complete the portions that apply to you; highlight the skills, experience, and education you do have.
- Join groups that interest you professionally. These groups will help you to stay in the know about trends and concerns in your field. You may even learn about job opportunities or internships. You may meet someone who can mentor you and help you in your career.
- Be an active member of those groups. Engage in conversations. Ask questions, and provide professional responses to others.
LinkedIn® is easy and free—but a half-empty profile won’t get you the connections you’re looking for. Take the time to set up a well-developed profile; it’s more than worth your while. By doing so, you’ll establish your professional self online while giving recruiters something to think about.