We could compose an endless list of all that is necessary to manage a successful executive career but if we look only at the top of the list, it will begin with a professional resume and following that is a Linkedin profile. In order to generate opportunities a resume must attract the attention of decision makers but equally important is the message you are sending. If you do not clearly and concisely relay what it is you have to offer or what you are looking for you will not attract attention and opportunities will be lost. A professional resume accompanied by a cover letter offering further clarification will ensure there is no confusion regarding your qualifications and suitability in relation to the positions you are applying for.
A Linkedin profile must also present a clear message with a detailed account of current and past positions and accomplishments. Regular status updates of a professional and focused nature will ensure differentiation and a compelling, visible brand. Ensure your profile contains pertinent keywords that HR professionals and recruiters are using to search for potential candidates. When you send an invitation to connect on Linkedin DO NOT send the default message:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
If you have met the individual, let them know where and when. If you are acquainted in another way, elaborate. It is important to clearly indicate who you are and why you want to add them to your professional network on Linkedin. Not everyone will allocate the time to review a profile to discover who someone is. It has been said more than than a million times for a reason, first impressions count! If you send a compelling personal message which clearly relays what you have to offer and what you are looking for you have set the stage for a potential opportunity.
John Brown has sent an Linkedin invitation. He states he met you at a networking event and has been targeting a company you used to work for and would like to know if you could provide him with a contact name. He also notes he would be happy to provide some social media support as you had mentioned during the event you were looking for someone. Will you accept the invitation?
Lisa Smith sends a Linkedin invitation stating she is a research scientist and also a member of a group that you are active in and is interested in connecting to further exchange information on a specific topic of mutual interest. Will you accept the invitation?
Ted Jones sends an invitation that says, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Has he provided a clear and concise message to attract your attention? Why would you accept this invitation? If you choose to accept simply to add a contact, will you ever remember who this individual is?