Define your LinkedIn profile to attract employers

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When I graduated from university, things weren’t as easy as I thought they should have been.

I thought I was going to just leave university, walk into a ridiculously high paying job and live one of those cool Manhattan lifestyles you see in the movies.

Well, that didn’t happen, but it probably could have (minus maybe the ridiculously high paying part) had I known what I know now…eek, I know, I know, I’m sorry. I hate clichés too.

After I’d given up searching, searching and searching some more, I all of a sudden got an influx of ‘come work with us’ requests through LinkedIn.

But why? Why didn’t these requests come through when I was actually looking for a job? Well, before I let you in on my not-so-secret strategy for getting LinkedIn requests, let me explain why my fairy tale vision didn’t happen in the beginning.

Aside from the fact I don’t live in New York, the biggest obstacle that prevented me from walking into my so-called dream life was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or what I had to offer.

I had some experience, but the way I presented my skill set looked like someone had gone crazy with those fridge magnet letter things and just added words all over my LinkedIn profile. I had marketing written here, advertising there, social media somewhere else and events in my title. Not only was my profile confusing, but also it was unimpressive to employers.

Rather than looking like a profile that belonged to a diverse and talented professional, it looked like one that belonged to a delusional self-proclaimed super woman; an individual who wasn’t really great at anything.

Knowing your skill set on LinkedIn is especially important because often employers are actively searching to hire qualified candidates to fill specific roles.

What I had failed to understand at the time was that I didn’t have to be good at everything. In fact, employers didn’t want me to be good at everything; they wanted me to be great at something. As a perfectionist with a fear of failing, this was a hard idea to swallow. My ultimate thought was, “You mean I have to admit I’m not perfect?”

It was a scary thought to say the least, but I had to do something because nothing else was working.

At first I was skeptical about de-cluttering my profile page and pulling irrelevant experience from it. I thought by making my profile more specific I was closing myself to opportunities. In fact, the opposite was true: by focusing my experience in one direction, I opened myself up to more possibilities and people started contacting me weekly to ask if I was available and looking for work.

As it turns out, not being good at everything is loads more fun than thinking you have to be a superstar. When you know what you’re great at, you can focus on doing what you love and leave your weaknesses to someone else. That’s what teams are for.

Editor’s note: If you’re interested in learning more about working in social media, check out this video blog interview with Sophie.

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About the author

Sophie Bifield is a social media consultant who has spent close to 5000 hours professionally (and a whole lot more personally) creating online communities. Aside from being addicted to everything social media and being able to speak fluent web slang, she is also a graduate of Queen's University's psychology program. When not immersed in cyber space, @sophiebifield spends her spare time fundraising and training to run a marathon for diabetes. Check out her blog here.