Skepticism is all I have when the first time I heard this (new) social media in 2011, I thought it must be another Facebook. Facebook is not my first online profile I joined. Moreover, I also had experience in shutting down so many (diminished) social media such as Friendster, Yahoo Messenger, Blogspot, Yahoo Koprol, Foursquare, and other messaging applications. During my reflection upon this decision, I realized that social media is like people: They come and go. Different social media, different people that will get connected to me. Next time I heard another social media appear, I need to think twice before I join. Despite the crowd itself, is it necessary for me? Does our online presence define who we are?
My perception slightly changed when I attended my first international conference. I thought that business cards and facebook account exchange were enough, but then I couldn’t say anything when an HR manager I had a conversation with, searched my LinkedIn profile directly from her phone instead of asking for my business card.  As a college student, I haven’t even realized that social media ownership would be this important for our future career. Shortly after I came back home, you know what I did. Everything was feel like a left behind when I found so many people I meet in the conference already on LinkedIn for long.
It’s been my fifth year on LinkedIn. During this time, I recalled that I used to make a major revamp to my profile from a profile picture, summary profile, until job description just to look good professionally. Here is what I learn.   
Profile picture and professional headline matters. Based on a conversation with a friend who is working in a headhunter industry, he said he wouldn’t scroll down to the profiles who didn’t pose formally on their profile picture and the blurry profile headline such as ‘entrepreneur’, ‘hard working’, or didn’t write at all. “Informal profile picture indicate that you can’t act professionally and blank headline indicate that you are an unemployed.  
LinkedIn summary shows who we are as a professional. Your LinkedIn summary is the first impressions after your profile picture. It is quickly becoming your most important tool for advancing your career and marketing your skills instead of long job description. That’s because first impressions have gone digital: people are learning about you online before they ever shake your hand. As soon as they know they’re going to meet you or have a phone conference with you, they’ll start their online research.
Profile rank among your connection increase your credibility. When I find out that my boyfriend’s profile rank is higher than mine, I am jealous. Perhaps this is just how competitive I am but my curiosity was right when my HR-expert friend said profile rank could improve your visibility when people search our profile. He advised me that I could add several keyword that related to me such as: ‘Jakarta’, ‘Project Management’, ‘Digital Marketing’, and ‘Technology’. Besides, I did another thing that might be possible: randomly checking other people’s profile with the hope they they will check mine back, join the group where I have an interest at and start a conversation, and post an HR and work related tips. It works.
It’s okay to ask for a recommendation. My first LinkedIn message was from my former co-worker at Student Association who ask for my recommendation. I actually didn’t really know her well so when I just gave it away. Just because she is my friend, my recommendation was unsolicited one . I thought that a colleague or boss who know us well would just automatically post a raving recommendation on LinkedIn as I previously also just gave my recommendation away to my former supervisor when I was on internship while she never ask for it.
The reality is that most of heavy LinkedIn users are going to make recommendations. Be prepared, though: Some people feel that recommendations should only be given freely, and they may be taken aback by receiving a recommendation request. So it’s imperative that you frame your request with a personal message, not just a generic message from LinkedIn. I also used to caught one of my colleague ask her boss to gave her recommendation on LinkedIn in person. And turned out, that was okay.
Don’t be afraid to consider off-line methods of requesting a recommendation, perhaps when we meet in person to make the request more personal and more likely for the person to say yes.
Keep it professional. LinkedIn simply taught me the importance of having work-life balance. While you can post anything on facebook, twitter, and path including your work, it’s inappropriate when you post a meme or your holiday pictures on LinkedIn.
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Do you have your own personal experience in using LinkedIn as a professional? Share with us by post a comment below 🙂

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