If someone is considering hiring or working with you in the future, they will most likely do some research online. Your LinkedIn profile is likely the first search result, in many cases, so it’s important to make that first impression a good one.
The following are the top three ways engineers and other technical professionals can get their careers on the fast track through LinkedIn.
Make your profile current
First, make sure that the current job title and job description is accurate and delete really old jobs and references. Some people might not have paid much attention to their profile since the last time they looked for work. Take the time to clean it up and update it so the most up-to-date information is featured.
Take a look at your picture—is it professional? Using a professionally done portrait rather than one snapped by a friend using a smartphone is preferable. Also, project sites present good opportunities to take photos with a relevant background image.
Stand out as a candidate through skills, experience
A big part of a LinkedIn profile involves its resumé-like listing of various jobs, titles, and job descriptions. But job seekers can go much further by showing, not just telling, employers what they can do. LinkedIn has added new features that allow users to provide evidence of skills, work ethic, and abilities by uploading work samples to their profile.
PDF forms, slideshows, videos, and other images can be uploaded. Employers and others looking at profiles can then click through the images for more details. Indicate the role you played in each project, especially if you worked as part of a team. It’s also important to not publicize any information that should stay confidential.
LinkedIn posts: Reach beyond your network
The “posts” function within LinkedIn allows users to create medium and long-form content in text form, with images added, that show ideas and thought leadership. These files are available on a user’s profile—and are also sent to connections when a user publishes them. LinkedIn allows users to add up to three “tags”—keywords—at the bottom of each post, so people outside the user’s network who are looking for information on that topic can find who posted the content.
When composing posts, reach those you want to appeal to most by writing about the pressing issues they face. For example, a lighting engineer might want to serve certain specific markets, such as big-box retail. A good post for reaching this market might enlighten retail-sector members about the various types of low-energy lighting fixtures that are available and describe the benefits and drawbacks for retail applications.
Taking advantage of the features LinkedIn offers can help users turn their profiles into successful job-search tools. In addition, keeping profiles updated and showcasing the proper information will help open more doors for career advancement.
Carl Friesen is the founder of Thought Leadership Resources, helping business professionals build careers by showing their expertise.