LinkedIn launched in 2003 and was the business answer to Facebook. Except without the pokes, gimmicky games and writing on each other’s walls.
Since then the networking and recruitment tools on the platform have grown ever slicker and more polished. There’s an even a broader range of content to help employers and candidates find one another.
LinkedIn offers various businesses paid advertising tools to expand the reach on their products and services. And a huge amount of their revenue comes from recruitment.
Specifically, recruiter licenses that allow hiring managers to find the right match for their company.
Recruiter licenses mean that you can cast a wide range of parameters when searching. As well as the ability to message someone, even if you’re not connected.
Which means a LinkedIn Profile that is well written and complete is far more likely to be found. So if you’re looking for a new role, then it’s worth updating your LinkedIn profile to improve your chances.
Nail the Basics
Here’s the fundamentals of what your LinkedIn profile should have.
Your LinkedIn profile picture
Your profile picture needs to be a professional, clear photo of you. So not one of you on holiday, embracing a partner or out on the town.
Preferably you’ll be dressed professionally against a neutral background. It doesn’t have to be a suit, but it needs to be presentable.
The headline on your LinkedIn profile is searchable. So formatting your headline with valuable keywords is essential. Just like with Google, keywords are what the search algorithm looks for in order to provide relevant information.
You need to find keywords that describe what you do without being too obscure that no one searches them. Or too common a keyword that’s oversaturated with candidates.
Some of the most overused buzzwords in headlines – according to LinkedIn – are:
It isn’t to say you can’t use these terms but just be selective with what you’re trying to get across. If you just bang in a load of keywords then other users will see right through you.
Some employers may ask you to use your summary to promote the business, don’t. It’s yours and should be used as such.
Your summary is an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience and personality. Giving you the opportunity to tell your story and why you do what you do.
It provides an area of your profile to talk about everything you can’t fit into your employment history. And it also gives your employment history context which is very important to a hiring manager.
Experience and Education
When filling out this section it’s a good idea to be descriptive with it. By just filling out the date, course or job title recruiters won’t know what you gained from this experience.
Make sure you go into detail about your current and previous roles. It will help to back up your summary and tie in with your skills section.
Every field in LinkedIn is searchable so make the effort to show yourself off the best you can.
List your Skills on your LinkedIn Profile
The skills section is often overlooked, but it yields the quickest wins. Again, this is due to how the search algorithm works.
It allows time-limited hiring managers to quickly determine whether you’re the right fit for the role with just a glance. But resist the urge to list every single skill you can think of. If it’s not relevant to the roles you’re after then don’t use it.
The same logic applies to the certification section above skills. Any certification you have on your profile should be relevant and current. It’s far better to have no certifications then loads of expired ones.
It just looks like you’ve let things slide or you’re not really bothered about presenting yourself to recruiters.
Take a skills assessment
According to LinkedIn, candidates with a Verified Skills badge were 30% more likely to be hired for related roles.
It’s a quick online assessment that demonstrates your skills to recruiters. What’s more the assessment can be taken multiple times until you pass.
Endorsements on your LinkedIn Profile
Endorsements are social proof of your ability in the workplace. Having a recommendation means you’re more likely to be contacted by recruiters.
They can see that people are endorsing you and that you really do what you say you can. Making you a much more appealing candidate for recruiters.
If you’re lacking endorsements then it’s best to go through your contacts and identify who to reach out to. Though it might be awkward most people will be happy to oblige as long as you ask politely.
Give them some time to respond before chasing it up too. While it doesn’t take too much time, they’re still taking time out of their day, so be patient.
Similar to endorsements, recommendations are social proof with high value.
Employers and recruiters can see your capabilities by what your former employers, clients or suppliers say about you.
Recommendations are personal testimonials illustrating what working with you was like. Be careful with who you choose to ask for recommendations. They hold considerable value so it’s best to have quality over quantity.
Identify who would be best to contact and draft up a personalised message to each person.
Develop your LinkedIn Profile Personal Brand
Once you’ve got all the information on your profile you can get into something meatier. Investing in your personal brand takes time but will help you land a great job as a result.
The idea of a personal brand is broad and can be taken to extremes. However, doing too much can come across as narcissistic and hinder your job prospects. Whenever you share something it needs to add value to the reader, not you.
Cultivate your Network
Broaden your network so that you have a larger reach across the platform. However, don’t click on every suggested user, be selective. Having a network full of people you couldn’t pick out in a line up isn’t that helpful.
An effective way to broaden your network is to sync your email’s address book with Linkedin. It’s amazing how many people you can be reintroduced to.
Create Content for your LinkedIn Profile
Whether it’s blogs, marketing material, whitepapers or infographics, it demonstrates your knowledge and adds value to your connections. Raising your profile in all the right ways.
Free content that adds value is an essential practice for good marketing. So you need to do all you can to offer value to your network.
Take credit where it’s due
Use the publications section to share your whitepapers and other thought leadership pieces. But never try and pass off something that isn’t yours as your own. Word travels fast and it will be to your demise.
Fill in as many sections as possible here to ensure you really stand out from the crowd.
Follow Influencers and Businesses
Following influential people and big industry brands gains you two things. The first is that you get unique insight that can be highly relevant and valuable to you and your interests. And secondly, your feed is full of useful and valuable content that you’re able to share with your audience.
This can be content you’ve created yourself or curated from other sources, either is fine. Just so long as it is relevant, interesting and adds value to your audience.
When curating content you need to add a comment displaying you understood the content and see the value of it. The more you do this the more people will value your opinion and insight. Which goes a long way when building your personal brand, even if you don’t produce much content yourself.
What’s more, the more you share the more visible you will be in your network. Your audience is more likely to engage with you and leave comments, helping raise your profile across the platform.
Cultivating your LinkedIn profile and presence can be time-consuming. But the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
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