Step 3 of my Essentials for Ambitious Women who want to go back to work with confidence is to Create a Powerful LinkedIn Profile.
Don’t miss out on the hidden opportunities
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile you ARE missing out on employment opportunities. 92% of companies now use social media for recruitment. There has been an explosion in the way that social media is used for recruitment in the past few years. LinkedIn very much leads the way (93% of companies), ahead of Facebook (66%) and Twitter (54%).
Which means that you need a powerful profile that says WHO you are and WHAT you do to improve your search rankings and attract the right opportunities to your profile. When I spent time recently with Sally Keane, Head of Sales, at LinkedIn, she reminded me that LinkedIn is designed to help members connect, stay informed and get hired. It’s not just a recruitment site.
Essential item in your career toolkit
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, it is an absolute essential in your career toolkit. Research published a couple of years ago suggested that up to 60% of job vacancies are unadvertised. Read about it in The Guardian. Recruiting through a newspaper advertisement or through an agency is expensive, and many businesses prefer to save on those fees. Employers often pay employees a bonus for introducing new staff. Two of my jobs have come about because of connections in my network rather than through an agency.
When you create a powerful LinkedIn profile that makes clear WHO you are, WHAT you do and HOW you do it, prospective employers and recruiters will come to you.
If you have taken a career break, you don’t have to hide it on LinkedIn. But you do need to demonstrate what else you have done in that time, for example volunteering, helping out at a toddler group, project managing a new house extension etc.
Your headline – needs to grab attention. It needs to explain WHAT you do and show your value, for example “Senior brand manager with specialist experience in Property”.
Your photo – needs to reflect you in the workplace.
Your summary – use this to showcase your achievements, your experience as well as what you are looking for.
Build your LinkedIn network
Once you have your powerful LinkedIn profile that says who you are and what you do, the next step is to rebuild your career and business network, even if you are not planning to go back to work until September or later.
If you don’t start networking until you need your network, you’ve left it too late.
- Get in touch with former work colleagues.
- Who would be your ideal employer? Find out who you know who already works there.
- What about friends, family and neighbours?
- Who else do you know on LinkedIn? Running club? NCT friends? Church members? WI friends? Mums you’ve met at yoga or at the gym?
- Who can you connect with?
- Start taking an active interest in LinkedIn. Find relevant groups to join. Get involved in the discussions. Be helpful, be friendly.
- Post an update on your LinkedIn profile at least once a week.
- Tell people that you want to go back to work and what work you want to do.
This doesn’t need to be all time-consuming. With just 10 minutes a day, you can quickly build an effective network. Set aside a specific time of day to do this rather than randomly grabbing 10 minutes here and there. That way you’ll have more focus.
A word of warning – only connect to people that you know. Networking on LinkedIn is no different to networking in face-to-face situations. Be polite, join in the conversations, and get to know people.
If you are a mum who’s taken a career break, you are on maternity leave or thinking about your next career more, it’s important to get your LinkedIn profile right. And you need to start networking effectively on LinkedIn. It’s never too soon to start.
And if you’re not sure where or how to start, I have created a (free) 10 Day LinkedIn Challenge to make it really easy for you to get started without getting overwhelmed. Because your LinkedIn profile really is an essential part of your career toolkit.
Find out more about the LinkedIn Challenge HERE.