The use of professional sites like LinkedIn have skyrocketed – from both an employer and a job seekers perspective. Photo: File

DURBAN - As the employment landscape continues to evolve toward a more digitally focused future, the use of professional sites like LinkedIn have skyrocketed – from both an employer and a job seekers perspective. 

While individuals may use the platform for professional networking, publishing, and job searching; businesses use it as part of their recruitment strategy, and as a means to communicate with existing and prospective employees, and business partners. 

Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director at ManpowerGroup South Africa, notes that while it’s important to have a LinkedIn profile, it is just as important to make sure you utilise it to its full potential in order to achieve the best possible outcome. 

She said, "Like a traditional CV, your LinkedIn profile should include details about your skills, experience, education and accolades. In order to ensure it is as effective as possible, however, it should also have interactive qualities such as links to examples of your work, recommendations and endorsements, and a professional photo of yourself".

She recommends that you take the time to ensure your profile is an accurate representation of yourself as a professional. "Spend time working on the summary section to ensure it gives a clear view of your professional self, and avoid using the usual buzzwords like ‘ambitious’, ‘team player’, ‘creative’, etc. Focus on the value you have and can create as a professional," said van den Barselaar.

In terms of connections, quality outweighs quantity, said van den Barselaar. "Connecting with the right type of people is key. Ensure that you are seeking connections that are relevant to your career path and aspirations. These connections should be people who can add value through providing valuable guidance or advice, or who could possibly provide professional opportunities for you," she added.

Recommendations are another important aspect of LinkedIn that cannot be achieved with a traditional CV. Van den Barselaar said,"When you approach a former employer, a colleague, a client or business partner regarding a LinkedIn recommendation, it pays to be clear about the particular skills or experience you would like them to highlight".

Additionally, she suggests you have recommendations coming in regularly, rather than all at once. Think about this when you complete a project, for example.

"It is imperative that you keep your profile up to date. Recruiters are looking for a comprehensive profile that gives details on your past experience and focuses on what you are doing right now. You can also show attention to detail by customising your URL and ensuring all your sections are filled out in the same format and tone," van den Barselaar. 

Van den Barselaar notes that your experience section should be used to highlight your professional accomplishments. "Rather than just adding a description of the role you undertook with a certain employer, describe exactly how you fulfilled the role and what impact you made or value you created – this is what is most important to a prospective employer.” If possible, go as far as to use numbers and percentages, such as: ‘increased monthly sales by 14 percent," said van den Barselaar.

While many employers may still be looking to receive a traditional CV, van den Barselaar highlights the importance of dedicating time to keeping your online CV updated. 

"Online profiles are a powerful tool for job seekers in the modern workforce, and should certainly be a priority for anyone looking to advance their career," concluded van den Barselaar.

Lyndy van den Barselaar is the managing director at ManpowerGroup South Africa.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE