About LinkedIn in What Color is Your Parachute?

As I work my way through 2017’s version of What Color is Your Parachute? (making note that there is already a 2018 version that I need to get my hands on)  I spent some time with the section containing Dick Bolles’ thoughts on LinkedIn.  This section in the 2017 version doesn’t really seem to have changed substantially from the 2016 version, but for whatever reason, this year it really struck me, and I wanted to share because I find the perspective he offers on this, as he calls it “The swiss army knife of job sites” to be quite useful for jobseekers (and for everyone really – we all should be joining this conversation)!

Here we go, some of Dick Bolles’ reflections on the site (with commentary from me in parentheses), from his background and experience of working with jobseekers since 1970 … more than forty-five years:

  • A photo is mandatory (according to his research, the likelihood that your profile will be viewed increases 11x if you have a photo)
  • In “job title” add any industries that you want to find a job in to so that the search engine will pick you up. (He suggests that you use a slash (/) to get in multiple words/titles/competencies – I suggest that you go on LinkedIn and find someone who uses a divider that catches your eye and snag it for use on your profile (I happen to really like “|”)
  • Tell a story! (you may be starting to see why I am such a fan of Richard Bolles’ work!) he suggests that it should be a story that describes how you work using measurable outcomes. (Note: Bolles would have you put these in your “Experience” section.  I say that you want to look for any and all places to add them – but certain find a way to get one in your “Summary” section at the very least)
  • KEYWORDS are key!  As I have done, Bolles recommends that you go on in there and dig through other profiles to find words that others are using to describe themselves and copy the ones that are relevant to you.  (that’s what I am talking about!  This is using LinkedIn to DO things, like research)
  • Add any and all hobbies, interests, associations, etc. (you want to make sure that you return in any search from someone who might share an interest that is very important to you)
  • Add links to websites or blogs where you talk about your expertise (LinkOUT on LinkedIn is what I call this) / videos of yourself discussing some aspects of your expertise and upload this video / descriptions (including photos) of projects you are proud of, – and make sure to click to “share on Twitter”
  • Join GROUPS! (for readers of this blog, may I suggest the LSA Special Interest Group for Linguists Beyond Academia?)

More than anything, Bolles’ exploration gives some helpful context to remind us why it is that we care about LinkedIn – not only is it the “site of first resort” for employers, but because they are always on the lookout for “passive jobseekers” – you ain’t lookin’ for them, but they’re lookin’ for you! You never know what opportunity or idea or project or adventure might be out there looking for you, but you sure can make sure that you do everything that you possibly can to be in a position to be found!

For more on LinkedIn, start here for a collection of the many posts that have explored the site on this blog.