Project Management Institute

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the first impression you make online will affect how employers see you; put your best foot forward with these tips


The first impressions you make online will affect how employers see you. Put your best foot forward with these tips.


LinkedIn is a great way to find out what organizations are looking for in project managers.

First, you should join or follow the company's Linkedln page. You'll receive regular company information and news about job openings. The page will also show you the current employees of that organization, which is what you really need. You can make direct connections by looking through the list and picking appropriate people. If your connection request is accepted, hold back from asking questions straightaway. Read your new contact's status updates, see which groups he or she contributes to, find out where he or she chooses to network and which conferences he or she likes to attend. Connect to a few people this way and keep reading and researching.

Your next step is to initiate a meaningful conversation with your contact and build to a position of reciprocation. This can be a comment on a status or something he or she has posted in a group. Comment a few times on different postings. Step it up on a posting where you have a strong mutual interest, something to which you feel you can contribute further information. Suggest taking the conversation offline sometime. Maybe he or she is at the next chapter meeting and you can meet up there? Or maybe he or she is available for coffee one day?

Another way to build connections on LinkedIn is to start with the people you already know well. How many of your own contacts have connections to people in the firms you're interested in?

LinkedIn helps you search for this information easily, which will save you hours of digging.

Find ways to build reciprocal relationships that will enable you to get an inside track so you can make a favorable impression when the time is right.

Should I put ‘actively seeking employment’ on my LinkedIn profile heading?

If you're using LinkedIn primarily for job opportunities, you should. It makes it easier for recruiters to approach people on LinkedIn when they know they are currently available. If you use this heading, you also need to change it as soon as the statement is no longer true. Using profile headings like this works particularly well for project managers who are contractors and freelancers.

But if you're also using LinkedIn for networking, there's a downside to this. You will have fewer connections accepted because people make the assumption that you're going to ask about job openings. Maybe they feel they don't have time for that or think they're not the right person to give advice about it. It can be easier to not accept your request. Proceed with caution.

Should I just copy and paste my résumé into LinkedIn?

No! Your LinkedIn profile should be a supplement to your résumé and be written in a way that suits the medium: a social media site. You can still link to your full résumé from LinkedIn, but the profile needs to be quick and easy to read. Think about eye-catching headlines and lots of white space. Short paragraphs work well.

You want to spend the most time writing the profile summary. Write it in a much more informal way than a résumé because this is your chance to convey some personality. For project managers, a story or narrative of the last project you worked on or the skills at which you excel works very well. If you're actively job seeking, the profile should also include what you're ideally looking for next and when you're available. You should also include your keywords. These words could include industry-related phrases, types of projects, project management skills, qualifications and locations. Include your contact details on the profile too.

If you're using LinkedIn for networking, include which subject areas you are most interested in and what kind of connections you welcome. To demonstrate your own experience in subject areas, you should include links to useful documents, videos, presentations and articles you have written.

Regardless of whether you're using LinkedIn for networking or job searching, a popular function you should take advantage of is the posts. Think of these like blog articles: short, informal pieces that convey your experience, opinions and thoughts. Not only do these posts attract people to your profile and encourage deeper connections, they also feature prominently at the top of your profile. What better way to inform people about who you are and what you know?

Find ways to build reciprocal relationships that will enable you to get an inside track so you can make a favorable impression when the time is right.

In the “experience” section of LinkedIn, you need to create an entry for each position you've had in your career. In these sections, just include up to five points, the highlights of the work you carried out. For example, include which projects you managed, what the budget was, the size of the team, any specialties you needed to carry out the position and the project objective.

Finally, unlike most résumés, the LinkedIn profile requires a good photo or headshot. Make sure the photo you choose is current, a close-up and the right size as required by LinkedIn. No pictures on holiday or a group picture of friends! pm

img Lindsay Scott is the director of program and project management recruitment at Arras People in London, England.
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