Next-Level LinkedIn Strategies for EcoLeaders
This article is the fourth in a series by the National Wildlife Federation EcoLeaders Career Center Fellow, Elizabeth Morgan. Elizabeth has been covering various green career topics leading up to and following the inaugural NWF EcoCareer Conference, which took place February 22 and 23, 2017. Save the date for next year’s conference on February 21 and 22, 2018, and check out the EcoLeaders community today!
Last month, I wrote a blog entitled 4 Social Media Strategies to Help You Land That Dream Green Job, and in it, I listed a few general tips for updating your LinkedIn profile. However, there is much more to LinkedIn than just posting your own profile and waiting to be contacted! In addition to tailoring your personal profile (more on that below), make sure you are using LinkedIn to connect with like-minded professionals and to find and apply for open positions.
Optimizing Your Profile
You want LinkedIn to represent the most accurate, professional version of you. By tailoring your profile with the most up-to-date information, potential employers will be able to see more than just your resume and your skill with social media.
The first thing they see is your picture and headline. Try to get a professional head-shot that is not too close, too far-away, angled, or cropped funny. The headline is 120 characters and should answer who you are, who you help, and how you do it. Essentially your EcoMission from your EcoLeaders profile can be your headline. The “summary” area is another avenue for you to advertise your contact information, your EcoLeader project, accomplishments, goals, and purpose. This is a creative space for you to sell yourself and your “personal brand.” When writing your headline and summary, mirror keywords you find from job postings that interest you.
When filling out your past work experience, include what you did and not just your title; use action words, for instance, managed X, reduced Y, etc. and then include supporting documents. On LinkedIn you can upload your resume, cover letter, previous projects, videos, links, and presentations. Your summary and past work experience on LinkedIn is not the time to be modest, but instead boldly brag about previous experience – including volunteer experience. In 2011, LinkedIn surveyed over 2,000 professionals and found 41% of respondents consider volunteer experience to be as important as work experience.
Finally, a simple way to help your profile be found by recruiters is to customize your URL. If you go to privacy and settings on your account, then privacy, and edit your public profile, then you can create a URL that will be easier for people to search.
Connect, network, and repeat. LinkedIn is about leveraging your connections to advance your career. You should connect with colleagues, classmates, other professionals in your industry, and other EcoLeaders. Once you connect, endorse them, and hopefully they will endorse you back. LinkedIn allows you to list your skills and people can endorse you based on those skills. Along with connecting with people you know, you can also follow companies, thought leaders, and industry news that pertains to your focus. Of course, you should definitely join the EcoLeaders LinkedIn group, and two other active groups to hear about trends in green jobs and new job listings are Green Jobs and the Green Jobs and Career Network.
You can also use direct messages to try to connect with other like-minded professionals, other EcoLeaders or even EcoLeader Alumni (like the Top 50 Inspirations).
Here is a simple message you can customize accordingly to start a conversation: “I am a student/recent graduate/alumni/professional with an interest in [TOPIC]. I found your profile through NWF/EcoLeaders/ [OTHER]. I would love to connect for [REASON]. Check out my LinkedIn profile for more info about me, and my sustainability project: [LINK].”
Applying for Jobs
The final and perhaps most important reason to utilize on LinkedIn is to access their job postings. Companies big and small post about available positions in all fields. Using their job board is a great way to see available positions and to be one of the first applicants to apply. Although organizations do not usually request resumes sent through LinkedIn, they do make announcements when jobs become available and give directions on how to apply. While you can customize your searches for positions, LinkedIn’s algorithm also uses the information stored on your profile to recommend positions that may interest you – all the more reason to flesh out your profile and make more connections, as described above!
I hope this is at least a start to developing a successful LinkedIn profile for yourself, and I hope you will connect with me on LinkedIn.