You can run but you can’t hide! If you’re still burying your head in the sand when it comes to LinkedIn, it’s time to stand up and join the party. Even if you don’t plan to use the site to actively pursue connections that could help you get a medical sales job (though really, why wouldn’t you?), you should still maintain a current, professional profile that others can view to get a snapshot of who you are and what you do. In the era of social networks and online everything, it can actually be a red flag if a recruiter or hiring manger can’t find you on LinkedIn. Almost equally concerning is an incomplete LinkedIn profile, that is, one without a photo and little to no information about your current job or past positions you have held. So stop putting it off. Go ahead and take 20 minutes to do the following right now:
- Add a Photo – Having a photo on a LinkedIn page can increase its perceived quality, but don’t make the mistake of treating your LinkedIn photo like a Facebook photo. An unprofessional picture can make you look out of touch and inexperienced. Upload a photo that can be cropped into a headshot (and we shouldn’t see your spouse’s arm around your shoulders or your toddler’s cheek). You don’t need to be wearing a blazer or a tie (though it doesn’t hurt!), but you obviously shouldn’t be wearing a swimsuit or workout clothes either. A photo from a few years ago is fine, as long as it still looks like you do now. That is, an interviewer should be able to view your LinkedIn profile and then easily pick you out of the waiting room.
- Add Keywords – Recruiters and hiring managers use keywords to search for medical sales candidates with those same keywords in their profile. For example, a recruiter may enter “medical device sales rep” into the search field, and ideally, if you sell medical devices, you will have that phrase in your profile and will therefore appear in the recruiter’s search results. Of course, it’s impossible to think of and use all the potential phrases one might use to search for someone if your position, but you should choose a few popular variations and incorporate them into your profile summary, headline, job titles, and skills. This will help to ensure people searching for someone with your experience can find you.
- Update Contact Info – This may seem obvious, but if you’re not regularly on LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure anyone viewing your profile has a way other than LinkedIn to get in touch with you. Make sure your email address and phone number is available to your connections, and should you have another way to get in touch (such as a Twitter account, website, or blog), that information can be made available to anyone who views your public profile.
- Add Jobs – If you haven’t already, you’ll also need to list your last 3-4 jobs (or at least 10 years of work history), including a brief synopsis of your accomplishments at each position. Keep it conversational with limited industry jargon (skip the buzzwords altogether), focusing on your achievements .
You’ll also want to visit the Privacy & Settings screen to make sure your connections only see the information you want them to see. One thing to note, especially if you’re trying to keep your job search a secret, is who can see your “activity broadcasts.” Updating your LinkedIn profile extensively and following companies are all “activities” that may indicate you are ramping up a job search. So if you don’t want your manager or other coworkers to know you’re searching, you may want to uncheck the box that lets them see these activities.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your medical sales job search, and the suggestions listed here barely scratch the surface. The point is, you don’t have to be a LinkedIn super-user to benefit from the site, but you do need a current, professional LinkedIn profile. So no more excuses; go update your LinkedIn profile now!