LinkedIn is the definitive social network for professionals who want to stay in the loop, make connections and be part of a business community. It enables you to build relationships with others in your field and hit greater heights of professional success. 80 percent of all LinkedIn users cite professional networking as one of the keys to their career success. With more than 562 million users in the pool of LinkedIn talent (over 8 million in Australia), it is no surprise that nearly 90 percent of recruiters use the site as a tool for finding top talent.
Your success, like anything, depends on the creation of a strong, marketable LinkedIn profile. This blog provides everything you will need to start or further enhance your LinkedIn experience, including how to create an impressive profile, building up your connections, using it appropriately and making your profile noteworthy and appealing so others engage.
But how do you create a notable LinkedIn profile? Everything begins with the profile. There are lots of components to creating one people want to engage with. Here are a few pointers on how to do it and make yours stand out from the crowd.
Start at the beginning
It sounds obvious, but when you create your profile, make sure it is linked to an e-mail address you use all the time. This way, you will keep track of people making connection requests, when you receive messages, notes about new jobs and lots more. Ensure you include basic things like your location and include your phone number – if people feel you are readily accessible, they are more likely to reach out to you.
Start adding contacts by allowing LinkedIn to have access to your e-mail contact list.
LinkedIn will want to know your current employment status. If you are unemployed, or have just been made redundant, you could use phrases like “currently looking for employment opportunities” or “experienced data analyst” challenging career opportunities.” This shows forward thinking and optimism for the future.
Choose your account
You need to make a choice – the free Basic LinkedIn account, or the Premium option, which provides many more features but with a cost. Within the Premium option, there are several other options to choose from, including Professional, Jobseeker and more. Each has a different price point and offers different benefits. Think about your intended use of LinkedIn when choosing the account type that suits your situation. They do offer a one-month free trial, so it is possible to cancel if it turns out the first choice was not the best one for you. Don’t waste money on features you are not going to use. If you are unsure, ask around.
Add your photo
When you are adding your photo to your LinkedIn profile, chose something professional. It can either be a professional head-shot or one that looks that way (you can even take it with your smartphone). If you look professional, people are more likely to interact with you and take you seriously.
Use a photo that is at least 200 x 200 pixels; anything less and it will appear distorted and blurry. When you are job seeking, people will make snap decisions about you (rightly or wrongly). If your picture is not appropriate, they are far less likely to send you a message.
When you are looking for a new role, this is where are the good stuff needs to go. Ensure the experience listed showcases everything you can do. You can upload your CV, or you can choose to add each position manually. Most people import their resume and then spend time fine-tuning each position to add more content, optimise with keywords and make it all more readable and engaging. Always list the employment experience starting with the most current.
Ensure as a minimum you include five skills. But basically the more listed, the better. You can currently add up to 50 skills. Those who have at least five skills on their profile are contacted 33 times more often by recruiters and other LinkedIn members, and receive 17 times more profile views.
Make a point of listing skills in the order of expertise and competence. The skills you include are used to connect jobseekers with recruiters and other connections, so it is really important to keep your key skills are the top of the list.
When creating the education section, make sure you include all educational establishments attended if you want to connect with old classmates, alumni groups etc. In addition, make sure you also include any training or qualifications you have achieved in the workplace i.e. corporate training seminars or a certification earned through an association related to your field (i.e. CPA, CA, MBA).
Writing a summary can feel problematic. But do not worry; here are some pointers to help you write the best possible, attention-grabbing summary:
Your headline shows up next to your name on LinkedIn, as well as results on some search engines. It is your best chance to make a good first impression, so you need to be able to say so much in just a few words. Make it punchy and noteworthy so your connections want to click and find out more. Intersperse with keywords (if possible).
Here are a few examples:
You are able to add a range of interests to your profile, so go for it! Those interests might increase the engagement of the recruiter viewing your profile. Bear in mind that hobbies can sometimes translate into skills that are excellent in a working environment. For example, playing soccer translates into team work or leadership and completing crosswords becomes intense attention to detail.
Double check and check again
Now your profile is almost complete, go back and double-check everything. Make sure the dates of employment and education are correct (and match your resume). Look for issues with grammar and typos. A horrible typo can detract attention away from the message you are conveying and damage your brand. Make sure you use professional language at all times. At the “view profile as” function, toggle between “public view” and “personal connections” to see what appears for each segment.
One set of eyes is not enough. Ask friends to take a look at your profile to make sure it is appealing and includes everything relevant to your search. Ask your recruiter. They will know what good and better looks like.
A personalised URL makes it much easier for others to find you. Those with a common name might discover that their particular URL is already taken; however, adding a location or numbers behind the name can be a good alternative. To do this, click the “gear” next to the public profile link, then click the pencil message next to the URL. The personalised URL must be between five and 30 characters.
Build the network
Now it’s time to start making connections! If you are a new user, connect with everyone you know and anyone you have a professional connection with. This can include recruiters, people in your industry etc. Do not be afraid to reach out to people. You can always personalise a note before connecting.
You need to use LinkedIn on a regular basis. It helps keep you in the loop with what is going on in your industry or in the news. If you are job hunting, check it every day to see if you have any messages, respond to requests for recommendations, make endorsements, comment on articles, send a congratulatory note or update your profile if new things have been happening.
Do not forget to post content. Keep the content relevant to your sector, such as interesting articles, fun statistics or compelling new innovations. Start a blog if you feel you can keep up with it on a regular basis. Just make sure any content posted is as professional (and engaging) as possible.