LinkedIn recently invited 500 famous people — sorry, “influencers” — to put up their own LinkedIn pages. No, these people aren’t really trying to network or get a new job. They’re there to offer career advice to people who follow them. (Hm, I don’t think there’s a Follow button on my LinkedIn page.)
Anyway, pop star Gwen Stefani now has a LinkedIn page, and Ryan Porter of the Toronto Star consulted some experts on how Gwen could optimize her LinkedIn page to enhance her chances of getting a good job. (Girl’s gotta eat.)
See what you think of their suggestions.
Career consultant Lydia Laughlin feels that Gwen’s profile photo is a bit over the top for someone looking for work, the kind of picture that would only be appropriate if you were already a superstar. Oh, wait a minute. “She can get away with this but 99.9 per cent of us shouldn’t have a photo like this,” says Laughlin.
Normal people should have a picture that makes them look professional and credible.
Stefani’s headline reads, “Singer/Songwriter, Coach on ‘The Voice,’ Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur.” Okay, Miss Multitask, what is it you really do? Fashion publicist (I’m not sure I know what that is) Christine Faulhaber wants a bit more restraint up in here. Keeping your headline simple and focused tells busy talent scouts at a glance who you are and what you offer.
It’s a picture of (presumably) Stefani’s handwriting, but “The grainy, low-res quality of the image takes away from the complete look of her profile,” says Faulhaber. Porter asks simply, “Did she make that thing in MS Paint?”
Music manager Ryan Singer notes the distinct lack of contact info. No phone, no email, not even her Twitter handle. How’s her next boss gonna get in touch? It should be easy for anyone interested in your profile to reach you.
The summary is where you get to both lay out your credentials and reveal a bit of your personality. Gwen’s, Singer feels, doesn’t even feel like she personally wrote it. It reads like an, oh yeah, press release.
Laughlin also notes the lack of keywords. The truth is this: there are so many LinkedIn pages that the best way to get noticed is by keywording as much as you can to attract the attention of the many companies using search engines to find the people they need.
Laughlin points out that there’s no educational or professional development experience at all. Don’t do this. Also, if you support causes, that’s part of who you are, so Laughlin feels LinkedIn is a good place to tell prospective employers what you care about.
LinkedIn’s centrality to the job market is undisputed, so spending time optimizing your presence there makes good business sense. It’s also an expanding platform for sharing content, another way to build your rep. Whatever problems LinkedIn may itself be experiencing, for now it’s still a critically important element of anyone’s online identity.