These 17 things will change everything for you on LinkedIn!
Christmas break is fast approaching and our minds may already be in holiday mode, daydreaming about what we will do during our well-earned break when the offices are closed and cocktail glasses and swimmers are out.
For those who fear that they’ll get bored during this time, fear no more. This time of the year is great for reflecting on your career achievements throughout the year and getting a career action plan together for the new year. Every year is a new beginning with which new opportunities and possibilities may arise – opportunities that you will want to be prepared for when they pop up!
So, let’s talk about your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn was created for connecting, networking, and engaging with others in a professional environment. A well-written and up-to-date LinkedIn profile will certainly assist you in finding (and being found!) future opportunities; as such you should utilise it in your arsenal of personal branding tools.
The most important thing about LinkedIn is that you want to be found! Once that Recruiter, Hiring Manager, ex-colleague etc. finds you, you want them to see the best version of you. So, here are a few tips from a Senior Consultant who spends half of her day on LinkedIn:
1. Career Snapshot
Your LinkedIn profile provides more of an overview of your professional career and does not need to be as detailed as your resume, but it does have to be accurate i.e. job titles/roles, companies, dates in particular roles/companies, achievements etc;
2. Key Responsibilities
Including your key responsibilities and functions under each role will give the reader a better understanding of what you ACTUALLY DO – because we all know a title can mean different things across industries and companies!
3. Highlight your achievements
People often wonder if they should highlight their achievements on their LinkedIn profiles. The answer is a resounding yes. Here are some reasons why you should proudly showcase your accolades:
1. It shows that you’re competent and capable.
2. It demonstrates that you’re an authority in your field.
3. It proves that you’re a valuable asset to any company or organisation.
4. Your profile photo
LinkedIn was created for connecting, networking, and engaging with others on a professional level; so, ensure the LinkedIn image you use is appropriate for your role and industry!
People prefer to connect with faces, so do make the effort to include a recent photo of yourself that is clear and does not include others in the photo – it helps to show warmth and some personality.
A well-crafted headline can help you stand out from the rest and make a good impression.
There are a few things to keep in mind when writing your headline.
Accuracy is key - make sure that your headline accurately reflects your current situation and what you do.
Brevity is important - try to keep your headline under 120 characters so that it's easy for people to read and digest.
Use keywords wisely - consider using keywords that are relevant to your industry or profession.
6. ‘About’ section
This is your opportunity to show some personality as well as giving your audience an overview of your professional self. With a limit of 2,000 characters, it is important to curate this section carefully - whether you choose to focus on your current role, highlight your biggest achievements or a summary of your entire career; this is your chance to put your best self forward.
Remember that this section is like a first impression, so make it a great one (and remember to include a call to action for professionals (and recruiters) on how you would like them to get in touch)!
7. Connect and Engage
Use LinkedIn for the purpose it was created i.e. connect and engage with professionals in your industry and your area/s of expertise and interest. Making connections is a fundamental goal of LinkedIn, as is engaging with like-minded professionals – create a dialogue and show your interest. Make sure your connections are aligned with your values, your network, and your industry, and offer up introductions between aligned connections and they will return the favor.
8. Joining Groups
LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to connect with like-minded professionals. Take the time to research which groups may be relevant to your role/industry/interests. Once you have joined a group, follow some simple best practice tips:
Contribute and keep it relevant
Keep it professional
Engage and listen (remember it is better to be ‘interested’ than ‘interesting’)
Don’t spam - avoid adding links to your own services/products. This is a clear LinkedIn rule across all groups.
Recommendations from people you have worked with either in the past or present, can make a positive impact on your online presence. LinkedIn recommendations are structured in such a way that a recommendation must come from someone you are connected to, and have had dealings with (either as a colleague, employee, manager, mentor, client, etc). They are viewed similarly to references and are a good indicator of a person’s performance. Request a minimum of 1 recommendation per month and be strategic with who you ask for a recommendation, personalise your recommendation requests, and give more recommendations than you receive.
Endorsements give YOU the opportunity to list your skills and YOUR CONNECTIONS the opportunity to endorse you for those skills. Manage the order of your skills, endorsements, and recommendations that appear – give light to more relevant and pertinent ones. Remember, LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to give endorsements to your connections.
11. Concise and Accurate Information on Education
Your education information is one of the things potential employers will look at, so it's important to make sure it's accurate and short. Remember to list the name of the school, the degree you earned, and any relevant honors or awards. If you have any additional coursework or certifications that are relevant to your industry, be sure to include those too.
Make sure to keep your education information updated as you continue to gain new skills and credentials.
12. Be active
Write and publish articles or blog posts about topics that you have expertise in, or topics you have a particular interest in; join professional groups for networking and engage with others by commenting on articles/posts of interest.
13. Customized LinkedIn Profile URL
When you create a customised LinkedIn Profile URL, you'll replace the long series of digits that appear in your current web address with something simpler and more memorable like www.linkedin.com/johnsmith. You can also choose to add a custom word, phrase, or area of your specialisation after your name (like "product-recruitment" or "specialist-recruiter") to further personalise your profile and help people know what you do.
Always post appropriate and original content (appropriate to you, your role, your expertise, etc), and use videos, images, and pictures wherever possible. Consistency is important when interacting on LinkedIn – post/interact at least every 3 days.
15. Add your volunteer work
Volunteering and social responsibility demonstrate that you are willing to give back to your community and it also shows the areas of interest to you. Plus, volunteering can help you develop new skills and it can also help you meet new people with different life experiences.
16. Use industry-specific keywords
Use industry-specific keywords to optimise your LinkedIn profile so that people who are looking for your skills will find you. If you know someone who works in the industry you want to work in, ask them what keywords they use on their profiles. That way, when someone searches for those keywords, your profile will show up at the top of the list.
17. Let recruiters know you’re open
Lastly, if you are actively looking for new opportunities you can turn the “Open Candidate” option on, for better visibility for recruiters. Consider getting one of the LinkedIn Premium plans – with features such as InMail, seeing more profiles when you search, access to premium search filters and the ability to view expanded profiles, and more.
Once the New Year has passed and you are back in the office, if you are open to new roles, this is a great time to get in touch with your specialist recruiter – have a conversation about what you are looking for – it is a great opportunity for your recruiter to fully understand your career direction, experience, and skill-set. This ensures you get the process started early on, without the danger of not being able to find the time, or missing out on those early roles that need to be filled quickly.