It is almost a decade-and-a-half since the launch of LinkedIn, and today, the portal hosts 460+ million profiles with 106 million unique visitors each month. But there are still many who either have no account on LinkedIn or don’t visit or update their LinkedIn profiles on a regular basis.
Are you one of those many who have not yet befriended LinkedIn?
Worry not, I will share simple tips on how to best optimize your LinkedIn profile to help your job hunt.
As a social media and digital marketing expert, I have always been intrigued by LinkedIn.
I have been observing the portal evolve over the past few years, and have witnessed how more and more people are finding suitable employment by intelligently using the portal.
You too can find your dream job if you follow these simple, yet crucial tips to groom your LinkedIn profile:
Build a great profile
Yes, I know you already have an account on LinkedIn. But do you really have a great LinkedIn profile? Simply registering and putting few random details will not help you get noticed by employers. And even if they do spot you, they won’t be impressed.
Job achievements: Opposed to merely listing down all your professional stints, elaborate them. Write what you achieved in a particular role. Try to add a personal touch by writing in first person.
Skills & Certifications: Go beyond mentioning your education details – mention your skills and upload your certifications.
Also, I recommend that you add pictures, presentations, and videos related to your workplace achievements. This will not only increase visibility, it will also give new dimensions to your personality.
Picture Perfect: Did you know that just by adding a picture, your profile is 14 times more likely to be found by recruiters? I advice you post a picture in which you don a professional attire and wear an amiable smile.
Bingo! You are all set to woo hiring managers scouting LinkedIn for potential recruits.
Write a Compelling Summary
Remember, most people will only read the Summary section of your profile, so craft it with care. LinkedIn is a social platform, yet a professional webspace. Write a crisp, yet comprehensive, summary that encompasses your years of experience, your key skills and your effectiveness in working with teams.
Unlike in a resume, write your Summary in first person account, and try to make it sound subtle yet powerful.
If you possess rare skills and / or coveted certifications, do mention it in the Summary itself. Also, include your highest education details as well as various sectors or industries you have worked in.
An ideal LinkedIn profile Summary, according to me, should start something like:
“I am an MBA with 8+ years of experience in driving sales and marketing across heavy industries, oil & gas, and power sectors . . .”
Reiterating my point, your Summary is the first (and maybe the only) section read by the visitors on your LinkedIn profile. Make it count.
Before you pat yourself on the back for creating a fabulous LinkedIn profile, take a minute to ensure that your profile view is set to ‘Public’ and is visible to everyone.
Even if you do not want to show the name of your current organization, at least choose to show your picture, summary, education, certifications, and skills.
To make alterations in your profile settings:
- Hover the cursor over your profile picture on top left; you will see a drop down menu
- Choose to Manage the Privacy & Settings.
- Click on ‘Privacy’ tab to choose from a host of profile privacy options.
LinkedIn allows you various profile privacy options, enabling you to make your profile public or private, view others’ profiles anonymously, and choose to alert your network about your profile changes.
My advice is that since you are trying to hunt jobs through LinkedIn, it is better that your profile as well as any changes in it should be visible to all.
Recommendations are a sure shot way of winning the trust of recruiters. A favourable recommendation, especially from a senior colleague not only affirms your achievements for a particular role, it also validates your expertise in skills required to do that job.
I always make sure that I approach my peers, clients, and associates to write a favourable, yet heart-felt recommendation for me.
Having said that, you must not get several recommendations for a role, instead, try getting select few recommendations (from a senior or person of authority in the organization) – having up to 5 recommendations on your profile is ideal.
Find Relevant Jobs
Once you are done creating an amazing profile that everyone can see, you can now start looking for jobs. LinkedIn gives you a dedicated platform to search jobs. Here, you can discover new jobs as well as manage the jobs that you have applied for.
While you can do a generic search for keywords, positions, job titles, skills, and companies in the job search engine, I suggest that you focus on jobs suggested to you under the head ‘Jobs you may be interested in’.
These jobs are auto selected basis your skills, education and field of work, and hence, are more specific to your requirements. You can even set up your job preferences to get more suitable offers.
One key inference that you can draw from auto suggested jobs on LinkedIn is the way your own LinkedIn profile is perceived by the job market.
I have personally pointed out several instances where job seekers were getting irrelevant job suggestions because they over-emphasized on certain keywords, or included skills they no longer use!
Build Your Network
Of course, LinkedIn is an online professional networking platform, and the most important thing to do here is to network.
As soon as you get active on LinkedIn, you will start receiving invitations from people across various industries, long lost colleagues and friends, and a list of ‘people you may know’.
While it is important to have a huge network on LinkedIn, it is equally important to check its participants. I have seen people falling for sending and accepting invites right, left, and centre, without even bothering to go back to these new connections and initiate a discussion!
It is always better to connect with few people who have a large network than many people with handful of people in their network.
Trust me, it is more important to build a quality network than a vast network.
Also, I make sure that I not only engage with people in my network via emails and posts, but also try to personally meet few of them living in close proximity.
In the end, we are all human beings who can foster lasting friendships over a cup of coffee!
Endorse others for their skills
LinkedIn works on the principle of sharing. When you endorse your network members for certain skills, they also get an update to rate you on select skills.
This give and take enriches many profiles and also helps to increase the visibility and searchability of the profile. This means that the recruiters can find you with more ease.
However, before you start endorsing your network members on auto-suggested skills, read their profile and discern which skills will be relevant to their profile, and then endorse them for the selected skills.
On the other hand, make sure that you don’t blindly accept all skills for which your contacts have endorsed you – select the relevant ones which will help recruiters find you.
Like I earlier said, if you will include irrelevant skills in your profile, you will be suggested and searched for jobs you don’t want, which will leave you discouraged and off the LinkedIn platform.
Share Clean Content
So far, if you have been following the above-mentioned tips, chances are your profile is already been receiving significant traffic from hiring managers and prospective employers. Now is the time to impress them with the kind of content you share on your profile.
LinkedIn, beyond the profile you develop, is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns, and solutions. You can share your voice through group discussions, post responses, or even by posting on your wall. Make sure that the content you share is in-line with your professional orientation.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, it is not cool to post or share jokes or invalidated (read hoax) posts or messages on LinkedIn.
Try to post content that is well written, well researched, and highly informative. This will make you stand out from the crowd and make a positive impression on hiring managers / employers viewing your profile.
Further, posting good content will win you brownie points from group members and your network, which will help you establish yourself as an influencer in your field of expertise.
While you are sure to hit the right chords with the hiring managers by following the tips mentioned above, you must also check your LinkedIn profile frequently to check and react to various updates regarding invitations, post updates, and personal messages from other members.
Remember, only those who frequently share their knowledge, time, and references on LinkedIn, gain the best opportunities on the portal.