LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile
LinkedIn recently released a new function that allows job seekers to indicate that they are looking for work to recruiters. This function is private – meaning you won’t be advertising to your current employer or any followers that you are looking for a new position. Enabling the feature is fairly simple and this tutorial spells out each step. The ‘Open Candidate’ option is available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia for now, but will surely be global very soon.
The only thing you have to do is make sure your profile is up-to-date and makes a positive statement about you.
Updating Your LinkedIn Profile
All of your skills are on display through this social media profile, right? Are each of those skills marketable – what employers want to see in a prospective employee? Before making your account open, do a little research into what companies you’d be interested in are looking for, especially if you are trying to change career paths. Take the time to review your profile for any typos, old or irrelevant information, or incorrect dates. The accuracy of your profile actually does make a difference and you also will want it to be as complete as possible – utilizing the percentage indicator on your homepage.
Many of LinkedIn’s features are free but there are membership only options. The new ‘Open Candidate’ feature is free and it was developed to keep your job search confidential – away from the eyes of your current employer. Your profile, for the most part, is public and you should want it to be open. Employers can search for candidates based on the skills or experience they have and having your profile open will put you in those search results. With the new feature, you will actually be able to signal to recruiters that you are looking for a new position. Knowing that, there are some other pieces about LinkedIn that you should keep in mind.
LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts
While LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful resource, it is not like other social media sites. Understand the etiquette surrounding the media – it is a business connectivity website. Including anything you would post on any other social media site would be against your best interest. When thinking about what you should include on your profile, and how to communicate with others, consider the following tips.
- Keep your profile up-to-date with new skills and positions, discarding out of date information.
- Endorse your followers’ skills – they will endorse you back.
- Build your network by following people that work at a company or industry you are interested in. Cultural etiquette encourages a message to reach out to this person before adding them to your network. The additions will give you an idea of what skills you should strive to gain and add to your repertoire.
- Comment in the forums and make connections.
- Use LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions.
- Post inappropriate pictures for your profile picture or otherwise – if you wouldn’t wear that outfit to an interview or at work, don’t post that picture.
- Update or blog about your everyday life.
- Follow people that are outside your network that look like fake profiles. There are fake profiles on LinkedIn – scammers trying to lure you to job opportunities that seem too good to be true or connect you with important people.
- Send spam-looking messages to contacts.
- Self promote in the forums or respond negatively to anyone.
- Use only LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions. Not every employer will post a job through this social media website.
Social media can be tricky. Facebook and Twitter allow for nearly constant updates and pictures about your life, how you’re feeling, and advertisements. Pinterest is an eclectic collective of DIY, art, and life tips. LinkedIn is it’s own kind of social media and the best rule of thumb for this site: If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Business, business, and only business should be on display for your profile – nothing personal.
When in doubt, leave it out. You should feel like your LinkedIn profile represents you on a different level than your resume. With everything you are able to do through LinkedIn – forum conversations, messages, and blogging – it is a new experience that can bring elements to your job search you haven’t used before. There is no guarantee that your profile will be any more unique than Sally’s or Joe’s, but the professional presentation of your knowledge and skills is much more important here than photos of your lunch.