Used properly, LinkedIn is the best way to establish your professional identity, grow your network and exchange insights and opportunities with other professionals. Consider it a living, breathing version of your CV; available for other professionals to discover, even when you’re busy elsewhere.
LinkedIn gives members a range of options for making sure their profile is the best reflection of their professional skills and experience. Understanding all the ways you can personalise your profile is the best way to develop your brand and get noticed. So here they are:
Presentation is paramount, so start your profile overhaul with a tidy-up.
A smart photo is the first thing that’s expected of you. Your profile is as much as 14 times more likely to be viewed if you’ve included a professional looking profile picture.
Customising your profile URL is another way to smarten up your profile. It’s all about making yourself more memorable; a succinct photo and a condensed profile URL will help you achieve this.
Be mindful in how much detail you go into on your profile. The objective is to give someone a quick overview of your strengths and unique attributes that will make you attractive. Including a couple of paragraphs for your profile summary, while avoiding overused buzzwords such as “dynamic”, “passionate” and “motivated”, will help you stand out.
Replace these clichés with salient facts and figures that detail recent accomplishments. If you’re a little short on these then elevate your profile with endorsements and recommendations from others. A few kind words from a respected and successful individual can go a long way in validating your employability.
Show off your personality
Unlike static CVs, your LinkedIn profile gives you the ability to let your personality shine. Make your profile interactive and vibrant, including rich media (presentations and professionally-relevant videos) detailing past projects.
Always refer to yourself in the first person, doing otherwise can often seem impersonal and insincere. Give a clear insight into your personality by being very clear about what it is that you’re interested in and drives you. A pithy headline at the top of your page is a good place to start.
Remember that, as well as being a professional social network, LinkedIn is a powerful people search engine. Searching for and connecting with new contacts is one of the most popular activities on the site, and this includes employers and recruiters searching for prospective candidates.
Put yourself in the shoes of your desired employer. What keywords might they be searching for and how? Google Keywords is useful if you are trying to understand what terms employers might be using to locate candidates.
Recruiters often search for new candidates by searching for their ‘Current position’ so include relevant words in this box, even if you’re not currently in employment.
Keep a regular eye on your InMail on LinkedIn for any messages. Responding to any potential opportunities promptly is important for managing those all-important first impressions.
Keep things fresh
Be as active on LinkedIn as makes sense for you – be it hourly, or daily – but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Active members of the LinkedIn community sharing relevant updates and insights are more likely to get noticed by recruiters and other professionals looking to expand their network.
Share articles and engage in debates regularly. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 different groups, so join as many relevant groups as you can effectively engage in. Publishing posts is another good way to get noticed, but make sure the content is pertinent and provocative to the people that you have connected with. Bland posts are more harmful to your brand than not posting at all.
Reach out to other people in your network who occupy similar positions to yourself or roles that you are looking to progress into and give them a reason to connect. This is a good way to gain recognition in your community. Again, the key is relevancy. Getting too many declined connection requests can result in your profile being restricted.
A final thought
The more active you are on LinkedIn the more likely you are to benefit from it. Build a strong personal brand and then make sure you’re sharing relevant content, continuing to build out your network, and actively engaging in the relevant LinkedIn Groups.
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