[Kealie Mardell | Print Editor]
LinkedIn prides itself in being the world’s largest professional network, with over 350 million users. Whether you’re looking for a job, or to expand your network, LinkedIn can be a great place to start. These 12 steps will help you to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd and appeal to potential employers.
1) Take a good photo
The first thing people will see on your LinkedIn is the photo, and those with a photo are 11x more likely to be viewed. Now isn’t the time to use that drunken selfie from fresher’s, the Halloween picture of you in that hilarious costume, or the picture of you and your significant other looking disgustingly loved up.
Your LinkedIn photo should be a professional looking head shot. I say looking because you’re not expected to splash out on a photo shoot, just make sure the image is high quality and shows you in your best light for potential employers.
2) Build your profile
An incomplete profile roughly translates to a lazy worker, someone who starts a job and doesn’t finish it. If that sounds like you then this article probably isn’t for you. If that’s exactly the kind of message you want to avoid, then keep reading!
Your LinkedIn profile is like an online CV, but instead of being limited to one or two pages, there’s no limit to how much you can sell yourself on LinkedIn. Share your employment background and experience, list your best skills, links to published work, anything that you think a potential employer would want to know. Don’t forget about the Volunteer Experience and Causes sections, these can be just as important as your employment history.
3) Make connections
It can be easy to get carried away and connect to everyone in your contacts, but think about how relevant and useful those contacts are. You might want to restrict your connections to those you’ve studied or worked with, or people in the same industry with similar interests to you. Save the old friends for Facebook and this will help you become part of a professional network that can help you get further in your career.
4) Join groups
Groups are a great way to build those connections and find likeminded people. Just search for topics and keywords which match your interests. There are also university and company groups which will keep you in touch with people. If you’ve been a member of Trident Media (formerly UHSU media) we even have our own alumni group for you!
5) Get involved with discussions
There’s no use in being a part of a group if you’re not an active member. Keep an eye on the discussions taking place and use it as an opportunity to learn something new or share your own experiences. You never know – a recruiter could be on the lookout for new talent and spot your comments!
7) Post updates
Posting updates on LinkedIn should be markedly different to those on your Facebook or Twitter. Nobody wants to know what you had for breakfast, or how drunk you got last night. Your LinkedIn updates should highlight your industry knowledge with interesting articles, or showcase your latest achievements. You can also ask questions and start discussions, utilising the knowledge of your network.
8) Ask for recommendations
Why not save employers the trouble of asking you for a reference contact, and let your LinkedIn profile do the work for you. If you’re connected to people who you’ve worked with or for, you can ask them to write a recommendation which will be displayed on your profile alongside the relevant position. Make sure recommendations highlight your skills and experience; you have the opportunity to read them first and ask for any amendments before publishing them on your profile.
9) Give endorsements (and get them in return)
You’re 13x more likely to have your profile viewed if you list skills on your profile. You can endorse your connections for the skills listed on their profile (which is why it’s important to keep yours updated!). They’ll be notified when you endorse them, and chances are they will return the favour. This can build up your LinkedIn credibility and get you noticed for having the right skills for the job.
10) Search and apply for jobs
LinkedIn has a built in job search function, which you can narrow by factors such as location and industry. It’s a great place to start the job hunt, providing you with information on the company and how to apply. For some jobs, you can even apply directly with your LinkedIn profile saving you time on filling out individual applications. You can save your searches and get notifications for when a new position matches your criteria.
11) Follow companies
Make sure you follow the companies you would be interested in working for or those who are key players within your industry. You can stay up to date on what’s happening within their business (preparing you for an interview!) and find any new job listings. Why not start off with our very own Trident Media UK page!
12) Customise your public profile URL
With your profile ready to go, avoid the generic jumble of numbers in the automatic LinkedIn URL, and give yourself a clean and professional profile link. Typically your name is the best way to go, and you can do this from your profile page.
Now you’re armed with an outstanding LinkedIn profile, share the link around and start building your connections and professional network!
Have a top tip for LinkedIn which we missed off our list? Share it in the comments below or on Twitter @TridentMediaUK!