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January 21, 2013

Career Expert Predicts Three Trends for 2013

Are you looking to change employers or garner new clients in 2013?

Career and workplace expert and LinkedIn spokesperson Lindsey Pollak can help.

Pollack is predicting three career trends this year that could help make the difference in landing a new position.

Trend No. 1: LinkedIn profiles will replace resumes

Although employers will still ask for resumes, they will take a backseat to LinkedIn profiles, Pollack says.

I believe 2013 is the year that many employers will rely more on LinkedIn than traditional resumes to make their hiring decisions,” she says.

“The reasons why are numerous: a LinkedIn profile provides so much more information and richer context for one’s career path, skills and experience; a resume limits you to one or two pages while a LinkedIn profile is unlimited; and your LinkedIn profile is public, so employers consider it to be more trustworthy (i.e., very few people lie on their LinkedIn profiles because their connections would quickly call out any untruths or exaggerations).”

Although your LinkedIn profile needs to mirror your resume to a degree — factual information needs to match exactly — your profile is your best chance to wow prospective employers or clients.

Pollack says a “compelling keyword-rich headline” is essential to grab attention while a professional photograph helps personalize your profile. Your profile should detail all of your experience, accomplishments and measurable results and include recommendations from colleagues.

“Once you feel your profile is the best it can be, tap a few trusted friends or family members to review it with a critical eye,” Pollack recommends. “Specifically, ask them two questions: Is it clear from my profile what kind of job opportunities would be a good fit? and Is it clear what makes me unique and valuable?

“If your friends can’t answer these questions, or their answers are not what you’re hoping for, then go back to the drawing board.”

Also, ensure you visit your profile regularly — keep it updated and share interesting articles or commentary on relevant topics. These shares, which will appear at the top of your profile in the ‘activity’ section, keep your profile “looking active and compelling.”

Trend No. 2: Employers seek more specialized skills

Companies are limiting hires to essential personnel, meaningthroughout 2013, they will seek job candidates with the exact skill sets they need — specialists.

“Visit LinkedIn’s Jobs section frequently to scour job postings in your field to identify what skills are most frequently mentioned in the job listings that appeal to you,” Pollack says. “You can also look at the “Insights” tab of potential employers’ LinkedIn Company pages to see the top five most popular skills mentioned by that organization’s employees.”

When you discover in-demand skills you possess, add them to your own profile under the skills and expertise section of your profile and to the summary and experience sections as well.

The best way to be discovered by a prospective employer is to ensure the exact keywords he or she is searching for appear prominently in your profile.

Trend No. 3: Generation Y steps up

When building your LinkedIn network, reach out to people of all generations, including the younger generation — meaning Generation Y whose older members are now a part of the workforce and have important business connections of their own.

Join and become active in your college or university’s LinkedIn alumni group. If your network is lacking in Gen Y contacts, use LinkedIn’s alumni tool to search for more recent graduates of your alma mater by location, employer and/or job function.

“For instance, if you’d like to connect with recent grads in London who work in health care, you can search by graduation years of 2000 to 2012, then click on the London, United Kingdom bar under ‘where they live’ and the ‘health care services’ bar under ‘what they do,’” Pollack says. “You’ll be able to view the profiles of people who fit that exact criteria, and then use an InMail (if you are a job seeker premium account holder) to reach out and introduce yourself.”