The most popular social media tool for business, LinkedIn is still proving itself a great tool for a variety of reasons—networking being the biggest one.

In a sense, LinkedIn is becoming like a “digital business card” for professional people everywhere, replacing the printed ones that no longer make it into our desktop Rolodex.

This means your LinkedIn profile is your first impression, digitally.

While you might think of LinkedIn as a job search tool, the best reason to use it is to manage your growing network. It’s also great for researching, communicating and exchanging ideas.

Because it’s such a powerful part of your personal brand, we came up with this Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for aviation professionals.

The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn

Because it’s such a powerful part of your personal brand, we came up with this Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for aviation professionals.

Here are our 11 “DOs”:

1. DO add a recent professional photo.

Spend some money on a professional headshot that shows what you look like now (not from 10 years ago or the last time you were at a wedding).

Your photo will be the first impression that everyone, including recruiters, will see. It should be a headshot (from the waist up), and in it, you should be dressed to impress in business attire (or a uniform, as the case might be).

If you know of a budding photographer who will do it for free, great! If not, plan to spend around $100. At API, we encourage all of our candidates to do the same. When you take yourself seriously, everyone around you will, too.

 

2. DO use LinkedIn as a personal branding tool.

If done right, it can offer proof that you’re a serious, credible professional in your field.

Consider this networking platform as your online handshake with your business aviation network. And, just like keeping your photo current and professional, be sure that the content you post is first-impression-worthy, so that you stand out in a positive way.

Be sure to use keywords that people in your industry are typically searching for.

 

3.  DO update your headline.

If you’re like most people, you just use your current job title and company as your headline, but this is a missed opportunity. Your headline might be the only part of your profile that a recruiter or hiring manager looks at.

It’s important to create one that’s professional, not cheesy or confusing, but also one that captures your uniqueness. Include the what, who and how, and also add proof that you are who you say you are.

LinkedIn even gives you helpful suggestions with their “show examples” button, or their “see what other users in your industry are using” option.

 

4.  DO ask for recommendations.

LinkedIn provides a really convenient means of asking your LinkedIn connections to write something on your page about your professional qualifications—a little testimonial of sorts.

If you’re job hunting, this can be really valuable and help offer third-party verification of your skills and abilities to potential employers.

It makes sense that a hiring manager would prefer to recruit someone who has been recommended by another professional in the field. Think of this as being similar to the references you would provide a potential employer.

 

5.  DO write meaningful recommendations for others.

If you’re asking others for an endorsement, be sure to reciprocate and write meaningful recommendations for the people who are doing so for you.

Best of all, write something unsolicited and heartfelt for someone else, even if they didn’t ask you. After all, giving your current or past colleagues meaningful feedback in the form of a recommendation can go a long way.

Bonus: Recruiters and hiring managers can view your recommendations for others (on your profile and theirs), and they likely will pay attention to what’s being said.

 

6.  DO sweat the details.

LinkedIn has a nifty “wizard” that guides you through the process of adding content—and the more complete your profile is, the higher a score you’ll receive. Remember to never “fudge” the truth.

If your resume does not line up with your online profile, it will raise question. So go ahead and add company logos from your previous work history, and use the section to update your skills and interests as well as to follow companies that you’re interested in.

Having logos on your profile for your past workplaces and college alma maters gives your page a “pop of color,” and can help break up the page amid a sea of content.

 

7.  DO quantify your milestones.

We encourage you to write short, succinct descriptions of each company you’ve worked for and your role within those companies.

As described in Jennifer Steele’s post covering resume writing tips, focus on the positive impact you’ve made in your past roles. Use bullet points to quantify your value to the company (e.g., the revenue impact on a program you might have implemented, etc.).

Use acronyms (e.g., SMS, FOQA, and IS-BAO) and check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Have someone else look over your LinkedIn profile and critique it like they would a resume on paper.

 

8.  DO sign up for LinkedIn Groups.

The business aviation community on LinkedIn is widespread, and it’s easy to find some large professional groups or organizations that you can join.

Doing a quick search brings up a long list, including “Aviation Professionals” and “Business Aviation Network” to name just a couple. You don’t need to follow them all. Just find a few that you really want to actively engage in.

Having a couple of active groups that you actually participate in is better than joining 50 that you don’t.

 

9.  DO mention your volunteerism.

Sometimes, networking through volunteering is a great way to meet people in the industry. And, at the same time, you’re helping to further a valuable organization that does meaningful things in your industry.

 

10.  DO add your resume.

Some might say it’s better not to include your resume on your LinkedIn page, so that if a company or recruiter is interested in you or your skills they have to contact you and request it from you directly. But make sure to include it and it ends up being easier on a hiring manager, who can quickly scan your resume and your profile to make sure you’re the right fit.

It can help save your valuable time and theirs, by helping everyone decide if a position is right or wrong for you. Just be aware that anyone can look at your resume once it’s uploaded, so make sure you’ve removed any personal information, such as your home address or cell phone number.

 

And, last but not least is our eleventh tip:

11. DO use LinkedIn to grow your network.

Remember, this is a powerful tool and probably one of the best, most effective ways of networking. And, on top of all that, its basic package is free!

 

On behalf of the API recruiting team, we encourage you to dedicate some time to updating your profile prior to attending networking events like NBAA’s BACE. Similar to offering a contact your business card, your online “virtual” business card is one of the first impressions. So make it count!

P.S.: Before you start updating your LinkedIn profile, go to your “settings” control on the top right, then to your “privacy” controls, and turn OFF your activity broadcasts. This will keep everyone from seeing each and every change you make in their feed.

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