Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile: Part I

Ross Macpherson, President of Career Quest
Has your LinkedIn profile garnered you any professional connections? Have you joined any professional groups and connected with those with whom you’d like to build a network? Have you received job leads or inquiries as a result of your profile?

How strong is your LinkedIn profile really

Even though it’s categorized as a social network, LinkedIn is for business. It provides an opportunity for networking and a shortcut for building meaningful professional connections. In fact, 98 percent of recruiters go to LinkedIn first when looking to fill a position.

“LinkedIn is where your audience is; you’re insane not to be there. It is absolutely critical,” says Ross Macpherson, President of Career Quest and an expert in career strategies who visits regularly with TCU MBA students through the Neeley Graduate Career Center.

Macpherson is a Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Certified Interview and Job Search Coach and is recognized as one of the best resume writers in North America, with 15 years of experience in career development. He offers the following tips for how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the rest and do the bulk of the networking for you—even when you’re sitting in class.

Think of LinkedIn as your personal brand profile. “Your profile is building your brand presence,” says Macpherson. “After that, you must articulate and broadcast your brand."  

Use the algorithms employed by LinkedIn to your advantage and utilize keywords to maximize search results for your headline and summary. The headline permits 120 characters; the summary allows 2,000 characters. That’s valuable real estate to grab your audience’s attention and showcase your personality and skill set.

The headline is your brand statement. Once you have that in place, you need to write a compelling summary, including: work experience, achievements and MBA information (even if you’re just a candidate). 

Recommendations matter. Get recommendations from colleagues, professional contacts and former employers and co-workers for each of your past jobs and seek endorsements for relevant skills for your chosen career path.

Join groups and connect with the people in them. Pay attention to groups in your area of expertise or in your desired area and follow the conversation. When you join the right groups, you’ll start meeting the right people. Once you’re in a group, LinkedIn allows you to connect with anyone in the group, opening doors to new contacts. When you join groups, “connections start coming out of the blue,” Macpherson says.  

Connect with the right people. Remember, it’s quality over quantity. Do your research and find companies that you’re interested in. Connect with those companies and leverage your existing contacts, such as your alumni network, to connect with other individuals inside those companies.

Leverage your MBA. “The second you’re enrolled, get your MBA [candidacy] up there,” says Macpherson. Not only is an advanced degree a desirable bona fide for many companies, it also positions you to tailor your network to this new professional phase and enable you to make contacts in the field you’re looking to pursue.

“There’s so much more to LinkedIn,” says Macpherson. “It’s not just for copying and pasting your résumé and starting to look for jobs.”  Visit the Neeley Graduate Career Center today and make sure you’re getting the most out of your profile.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.
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