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The New American Dreamer—Link Up with LinkedIn

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I know what you’re thinking, you searched high and low and you found next to nothing about yourself online and you’re afraid that this is all too much to overcome. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Here’s what we need to do: paint a picture of yourself that you would want people to see. Never picked up a brush before? Don’t own an easel? Follow me to get a hold of your inner Rembrandt.

Please go to linkedin.com so we can begin. Now there are various philosophies on creating an online presentation for yourself and many ways to do it, we are just going to go ahead with linkedin as one of the ways I think people should strongly consider. Up to now linkedin has touted itself a social network for business professionals, and for some employers it has begun to be used in various other ways including as an important part of the hiring process.

Remember that third email address you set up just for a place to receive various email offers and complete necessary sign-ins in our story about setting up your emails? Well now is the time to pull that one out and sign up for linkedin just to look around. Search for positions you might want some day and see how people present themselves. Once you think you’re ready, you can delete the account by going to LinkedIn’s close your account section and join with your primary email address.

Before you get too excited with your new profile remind yourself that creating a good profile as opposed to creating ‘just a profile’, takes a few days in some cases. In fact next week we will deal with the choosing of your photo and other items. For now let’s stick to the nuts and bolts of it.

A) First, get your name up there and capitalize the first letter in each part of your name, not all caps and not all lower case. Next – and this is tres importante, is that it asks for you to enter your “professional headline” which will be positioned directly under your name and be a huge part of who people see you as, and how you come up in searches. Think about it from all angles. Use it to communicate value – as an example, an executive hiring manager might be better explained here as a ‘Human Resources Manager’, or something that translates across industries.

B) Lists of past employment can actually be a little longer in scope than on your one or two page resume. What I suggest is copying the information directly from your resume onto the site and then if you think it shows more of you to list experiences further back then do so but do not feel the need to elaborate on anything over 12-15 years in the past. A simple job title and years worked are fine. When you finish it should look like your resume with those few extra jobs listed from way back when.

C) Fill in the specialties section but be cautious. Don’t list ‘juggling knives’ unless you want that to be part of an interview – because it will be if you list it. DO list languages, software knowledge and certifications.

Now before you make a friend or go linking up there’s something to consider: are you joining this site to connect with people you already know and strengthen those relationships are you trying to do that and meet new people? The battle lines have been drawn for these two camps and people choose whole social networks based on these two philosophies, which some of us (who, me?) find fairly entertaining. As you see some have even chosen to become “LIONS” (LinkedIn Open Networker) while others vehemently oppose but have yet to come up with a clever acronym for “TIGERS.” I will direct you best I can next week with some advice but in the end you should come up with your own reasons for joining, and also know that you can always change your mind.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

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