Blog by Dave
Whether you’re a LinkedIn beginner, you have All-Star Status or you’re a veteran it’s always good to make sure your LinkedIn page is working for you and your career goals. Whether you are actively looking for new work, an under-grad trying to find out more about the ‘world of work’ and making connections for when you get out into ‘the real world,’ or someone making more of their network to take advantage of opportunities that arise, there are things you should know so you can take advantage of what is on offer on this employment related social media platform.
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The first thing to consider must be your profile. This is the portal where you are known to the professional world, you’ll have to ensure you don’t make any faux pas when it comes to LinkedIn profile etiquette!
It will usually be the first thing a potential connection or employer will see when viewing your profile. It’s your first impression, you better make it a good one. You could hire a professional photographer to do some headshots for under £50. If you can’t afford this, you can always have a friend or colleague to help you take a close up photo with a neutral background. Wear a suit and tie if you are male, or a blazer and a nice shirt if you are female, or something suitably smart for those who are non-binary. Don’t include a photo where you are wearing inappropriate clothing, a group photo, a photo where you are far away from the lens, photos from drunken nights out, or one where your face isn’t lit or hidden behind hair.
This is one of the most visible sections of your profile it introduces you to potential connections when you post any articles on your feed and is usually the first piece of text people see when you are introduced to them. Your headline needs to be concise, to the point. You could put your current role. You could also write choice phrases or words that best describe what you have experience in and geared towards what direction you want your career to go in. LinkedIn themselves have said that key words help people find you through search engines so remember you can use your headline to better display the things that you have expertise in.
Your summary should be concise, and it should speak to your expertise and in which sectors. At a quick glance, the reader should be able to understand what your skill set is. Data needs to be brought in at this stage to back up what you say are your skills. Did your input help grow your business? Did you create more efficiency and by what percentage? Did you create more footfall on your website due to social media marketing? If so, by how much?
You can mention here if your company is hiring at the moment.
If you are looking for a job this can be your 60 seconds to pitch yourself to a new potential employer by letting them know how you can benefit their company. You can include how they can contact you here also.
Here’s where people find it difficult to separate how to evidence your job experience in LinkedIn compared to writing it for your CV. Well for one, with LinkedIn you can have a more conversational tone, you can use I instead of staying in the third person (something that is more CV etiquette). Also, the format should be slightly different. You should be writing more about your achievements in your job in your LinkedIn experience compared to talking about your duties in a CV. You should also write a small paragraph and not bullet points, something that is usually utilized in CV writing.
In summary, for each job write a short paragraph that details your achievements for each job.
Skills, Endorsements and Recommendations
This is not a section to miss as LinkedIn data shows “Members with 5 or more skills listed are contacted (messaged) up to 33x more by recruiters and other LinkedIn members, and receive up to 17x more profile views. You can add up to 50 skills and these could go a long way to helping the right employer find you. Think carefully about the role you want and the skills that show your aptitude for that role.
So Skills help you get found easier but what are Endorsements? Endorsements are used by others to endorse the Skills you have listed, the more endorsements the more credible your list of skills will be.
Recommendations are written by someone who you have worked with/for who can vouch for your expertise in your current or previous roles. These can persuade a recruiter as to the integrity of your work. You can also ask for Endorsements and Recommendations from others connected via LinkedIn, try to at least get one recommendation per job!
Involvement in LinkedIn Groups
Being part a LinkedIn group can be a fantastic way of finding likeminded professionals to share and learn new skills. It can be a way of finding mentors or peer group to help with your development in the sector you currently or want to work in. It can act as a community of professionals doing similar jobs that you would not necessarily have access to in just one business. It can also be used as a way of promoting your work. To find a group to join, you can search for the type of group you are interested in (once searched select the tab More, then Groups) and request to join. Once joined you can start your own conversations or read and add to existing conversations. If there is not a relevant group to join you could consider making your own and inviting others to join, add content and start conversations.
This one is easy. Share all your relevant Education, everything that you believe is relevant to the job you are doing or want .
Accomplishments (Publications, Projects, Written Works)
This section is very handy for those that are in academia or creative people and those who have been involved in lots of projects. You can really highlight your successes, whether at school, university, projects you have worked on. You link any articles or papers you have written or co-written. Your publications are seven times more likely to be find if you list them here. You can also show off a different side to your career, for example creative projects, or short projects you have been involved in. You can even let others know any other languages you speak.
Hashtags are commonplace with any social media platform and LinkedIn follows this trend. I would, however, issue some caution with this statement as LinkedIn is a professional platform and will therefore require a little filtering before you send out articles. LinkedIn is about putting your best foot forward when it comes to professional networking and finding yourself a job. Some tips for this are:
Keep your number of hashtags down to about 5, if you use too many you may end up with your post being taken down as spam
#Don’t #hashtag #every #word
Make sure your hashtags are public by editing your ‘public profile settings’ to ‘visible for everyone’
Use popular hashtags, this way your post is more visible to people.
Use location-based hashtags, and direct your post at your region or geographical area
Identify which hashtags performed best by using LinkedIn’s analytics and continue using those that came out on top.
Target specific companies or people by using @ mention, especially if you are wanting specific businesses to take notice of your post.
I would also recommend following specific hashtags because relevant posts and articles will show up in your LinkedIn feed. You could try two or three to start and see which ones fit, you can always change these preferences later.
Commenting on posts
Commenting on posts can be something that can get you noticed with industry insiders if you comment in the right place and with the right thoughtful comment. The right comment can create discourse on a subject and spark further thought. Here are some tips before commenting on a post:
Remember to read the post carefully to ensure you understand all the salient points the person who wrote it is saying
Leave a thoughtful or engaging comment, some feedback or a question for the author. This will persuade others including the author of the post to engage with your comment and will create more discussion as opposed to throwaway comments such as: ‘completely agree’ or ‘excellent post’
Mention commenters or the author as it is the best way to grab their attention
Follow thought leaders and active/current authors, people who are trending within the sector that you are looking to work in
Think about posts you would also be willing to share on your feed and possibly share them
Always read your comment one last time before you hit send
Consider making commenting on posts 10 minutes of your day, it doesn’t have to be an all day exercise, once in the morning and once in the evening should suffice
So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of how to get the best out of LinkedIn. Just use the tips outlined here and you will be able to grow your network, influence the influencers and possibly enhance your prospects in the job market. Whatever it is you are aiming for these tips will improve your chances on LinkedIn.
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