LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking platform. It encompasses almost all professions and countries. Millions of organizations use the platform to scope talent. With 77% of recruiters on LinkedIn, it is an excellent tool for career advancement. Here are some tips to make the most of LinkedIn as a professional.
Complete your profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your landing page and online CV. You control what others see 100%. Much of what prospective employers will know about you is the information you put on LinkedIn. First impressions count for a lot. LinkedIn recommends that job seekers must complete their profiles before starting a job search. Start by adding a fitting profile picture. Having a professional image adds volumes to online credibility. Profiles with pictures get 21 times more hits than those without. LinkedIn also suggests adding a background image to your profile.
Next, write a suitable headline for your profile. The headline must promote your area of expertise. It may include skills, keywords, job titles, location, accomplishments, and education. It can also be a strong branding statement. Your profile tells a story and the headline is its title. Enrich it with power words. For example, instead of saying “Accountant with 10 years of experience”, write something like “Boston-based Chartered Accountant Helping Clients Optimize Multifaceted Investment Portfolios”.
Next comes the ‘about’ section. Express your motivation, mission, and skills. LinkedIn suggests limiting the text to 2 paragraphs or using bullet points. The information you give must be relevant, without being overwhelming.
The experience section
This section of the profile is the equivalent of a resume. Add relevant work experiences and education. Include internships, as well as all your professional experiences that align with your career goals. Be sure to add volunteer experiences too. A LinkedIn survey shows that 41% of professionals consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work in terms of experience. 20% recruiters make hiring decisions based on candidates’ volunteer work experience. Overseas experience is another big one. Millions of professionals live and work abroad. They regularly transfer money back to their home countries as remittances. The experience of working in more than one country signals to potential employers that you are adaptable, dynamic, and versatile.
Highlight your relevant skills and showcase your abilities. You can have colleagues endorse these skills. Professionals can also get their employers to write testimonials on LinkedIn. These increase the likelihood of being discovered for opportunities related to those skills. LinkedIn lets you take assessments related to your listed skills. These help showcase proficiency. Unlike resumes, LinkedIn profiles allow professionals to give very detailed and comprehensive accounts.
Update career preferences
Needless to say, it is essential to keep one’s LinkedIn profile current. This keeps it relevant to your professional goals. LinkedIn’s statistics show that 63 million of the platform’s users are decision makers. 40 million are influencers and 10 million are C-level executives. An updated profile ensures you get the right leads for your job search.
LinkedIn’s database uses algorithms to personalize the news feed, suggestions for connections, and job recommendations. For example a professional looking to transition to an overseas role can select ‘remote’ as the preferred location, using the job alert feature. LinkedIn users can further specify the country or region for the remote job. LinkedIn enables its users to showcase their availability for potential recruitment using a ‘#OpenToWork’ on their profiles. 3 million users are currently taking advantage of this feature.
Posting content on LinkedIn lets you share your in-depth expertise with your network, gain followers, and position yourself as an authority. A report by Search Engine Journal (SEJ) found that short videos, simple texts, and graphics generate more engagement on LinkedIn than long posts. Add media samples to your portfolio.
According to SEJ video content is dominating LinkedIn because it’s short and easy to consume. Short, easily digestible videos can convey a large amount of information in a very short time. One example of the success of videos is Nicholas Thompson, Editor-in-chief at Wired magazine. He regularly posts videos of himself sharing his thoughts on “the most interesting thing in tech”. His videos are 3 minutes or shorter. His posts are frequent and relevant to trending topics. This makes him invariably show up on his potential followers’ news feeds. Other ways to position oneself as an authority include creating engaging short stories using LinkedIn’s native content system.
Joining job-relevant country-specific groups is often helpful. LinkedIn groups can be critical to job searches. They increase credibility and visibility. 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to research and recruit candidates. There are numerous LinkedIn groups dedicated to specific fields. It is a platform for professionals to network with potential recruiters. For example if you work in biotechnology, joining a group such as ‘Biotech Life Sciences’ or ‘Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Professionals’ may be a good move. Healthcare professionals can join lively discussions and showcase their expertise in the ‘Healthcare Life Sciences’ group. Software developers and mobile applications development pros can participate and network in one of many ‘Technology & Science’ groups.
Another advantage of LinkedIn groups is the opportunity to connect with members of the organization you are looking to work at. According to Business Insider the most successful way to find a job on LinkedIn is through a referral from a connect who already works where you want to go. Blair Decembrele, a career expert at LinkedIn, says that candidates who receive a referral are “four times more likely to hear back from recruiters”.
Write an article
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s “write an article” feature. SEJ cautions against dropping links to an article you wrote on an external channel such as your blog. Instead, write articles directly on LinkedIn. This keeps readers on the platform instead of disrupting their sessions. Your original content is on your profile’s ‘articles’ section. It is shared with your connections and followers in their news feeds. Moreover search engines can index your articles published on LinkedIn. To enable this, simply set your profile to public so that LinkedIn can distribute your content.
Advantages of publishing on LinkedIn include reaching your second and third-level connections. Another benefit is that members from your network can follow you from your articles on LinkedIn. According to Forbes, if topics don’t come to mind immediately, get inspiration from what others share. Read the comments section to find questions which other viewers may have posed. Address the gaps in information that other authors failed to cover in their content. This approach enables you to build articles which have relevance and demand.
LinkedIn is the consummate professional social network. It gives many options to showcase talent. The platform allows for much personalization. Join relevant professional groups, post content, consume content, network, engage, and seek new opportunities. When properly utilized, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for improving your professional life and career.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.