When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? With over 400 million users, it’s quite evident that LinkedIn is the biggest networking site for professionals. Over the years it has grown and developed many new features to keep its users engaged.
What was once a place to connect with colleagues or old classmates is now a place to become a true expert in your industry.
Yet, many of us are still using LinkedIn as a place to store our online resume and nothing more.
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for keeping in touch with your network, getting recruiters to find you and build a strong personal brand. Here’s are 10 ways to get the most out of your profile.
Complete and tailor your profile
I can’t tell you how many empty LinkedIn profiles I have seen in the past year. LinkedIn is an opportunity for you to show off your skills, experience and abilities.
An incomplete profile makes you look like you have limited experience and have been in hiding for the past few years with no story to tell. So, make sure you complete everything! This includes education, work experience, volunteer work, awards and other achievements in your life. But, be careful not to dump everything in.
This isn’t your life story, keep it relevant to your industry and recent.
Have a strong headline
Headlines are another neglected part of LinkedIn. Most people include their default job role and company as their headline. While this is okay, it won’t help you get found or stand out from the other millions of members.
To really stand out, try to be descriptive about what you do or how you can help them. For example “Experienced Digital Marketing Executive and Freelance copywriter”. Remember to keep it simple and clear. You don’t want to confuse people.
Join some relevant groups
Most people don’t even know that LinkedIn has groups. But if you didn’t know before, you do now! You can search for groups and send a request to join them (similar to Facebook groups). Try to join groups in your profession, so you can connect and engage with like-minded individuals.
Once you’re a member of a group, I recommend you engage with the posts already on there before posting your own stuff. From personal experience posts with questions get the most engagement. So don’t just share your blog post, ask an insightful question to make people think.
Also, remember to give intelligent answers when commenting on posts, this will make people view your profile or even connect with you!
Share relevant articles and write your own
LinkedIn is the perfect place to post content related to your industry. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you really should try out its publishing feature. Simply, click the ‘write an article’ button from your homepage and you’ll be directed to LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
In addition to this, just like Facebook and Twitter, you can post status updates that your connections can see. Make the most of these updates by sharing relevant third-party articles, blog posts and any other interesting news that will help build your expertise.
Follow companies for job openings
LinkedIn is more than just a platform to build connections, it can help you find a job. I’m sure most of you have used the job listing section on LinkedIn, but how many of you have targeted specific companies?
Many companies post their job openings on social media platforms before anywhere else. This not only means that you could be the first candidate to apply for that job, but it also shows that you are genuinely interested in working at that company.
Optimise profile for search engines
What most people forget when completing their profile information is to optimise their content for search engines. They tend to use buzzwords, such as ‘passionate’ and ‘motivated’, which they may have used on their printed resume.
It’s important to not copy over content from your offline resume into your profile. Instead, try using keywords that your target audience would search for.
For example, if you’re in marketing try using words related to your industry such as ‘search engine optimisation’ and ‘copywriter’. Your summary is the perfect place to include these keywords.
Link to other media
While LinkedIn is the perfect place to build your profile, don’t forget about the other platforms you use.
You can add links to publications that you have written or links to projects that you’ve worked on. You can even direct your connections to your Instagram, if relevant. Be clever, when it comes to sharing status updates and make sure your connections know that you use other platforms.
The power of recommendations
Recommendations can carry more weight than endorsements. If you’re looking for recommendations, the best place to start is with your employers and colleagues.
A general rule of thumb is to have at least one recommendation from each job. Unless you have been doing the same job for years, then a couple would do well. But be warned, just like with offline references only ask people you know, as a bad recommendation can destroy your profile’s credibility.
LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. It is a place to show your expertise, find a job and look like a true professional. Use it right and you shall see the rewards eventually. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn in a while, go do it now!