With LinkedIn being used by over 645 million members (source: LinkedIn) and actively used by businesses, recruiters like Artisan, creative companies and design studios it is an essential way of building your digital network.
Not only that, but on LinkedIn it is acceptable to stalk (within reason), as LinkedIn allows you to see who has viewed your profile in order to facilitate a connection. It is a platform where you can build your own personal brand as an individual and can give you access to peer created and industry level news.
On LinkedIn you can share knowledge, ask questions, gain insights, find out about upcoming events, gather important information, find job openings and opportunities inside and outside your circles, voice your opinions, participate in discussions, and so on... But how do you know if you're doing LinkedIn correctly? Well here are a few tips to get you set up and for using the platform effectively.
Profile tips for LinkedIn
1) Upload a profile photo
When setting up your Linkedin profile, just like any digital profile one of the first steps you are prompted to do is upload a profile photo. This is not just to make the page look pretty, this is an important part of establishing trust in the digital sphere. The age old quality of putting a face to the name.
According to the Harvard report “Linkedin for Networking, Career Building & Job Search” your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo uploaded. This image will be your visual representation across LinkedIn when you are engaging, publishing or viewing. So get a photo, preferably in professional attire, and upload it.
2) Make use of your headline and summary
This space should be used to succinctly state what is it you do! If you are open to new opportunities that aren’t so specific then explain the work that you like to do. This can be a list or it can be a complete sentence that describes your work style.
3) List experience and work history
This section of your profile is what you would find on a conventional resume. It is your job history, the part of your digital profile that shows what and where you have been. It is really important that you list your accomplishments and not necessarily your daily duties.
Make sure when you are updating this that you list your experience in reverse chronological order with your latest and most up-to date role at the top. Use targeted keywords and accomplishments. Use this section to highlight measurable achievements in your roles.
4) List you education history
By listing your education you can prove your academic level, always start with your highest qualification whatever that may be, relevant or not it will show your level of academic thinking. Keep it in reverse chronological order. Within your education listings include keywords that will help you be easier to find in searches. Another key part of listing your education is it helps you expand your network by helping you find people you studied with, if you include the right course, year and institution. Your education history also allows people to understand the story of the professional you are today.
5) Own your creative skills and get endorsements
LinkedIn allows you to list up to 50 skills on your profile, and then those in your network can “endorse” you. According to LinkedIn, people who list at least five skills receive up to 17 times more profile views. There is also evidence that the more you have, the higher you’ll rank in search results, which will result in more profile views and in turn more opportunities.
Having your skills listed and endorsed also shows very clearly that you are proficient at your work.
How best to decide the skills that you list? Well, look at your peers, colleagues or mentors. Take the skills they have listed that apply to you. Look at job descriptions that are similar to your current positions and see which keywords are appearing more frequently than others. It goes without saying… Only list the skills you actually do have!
6) Get recommendations from colleagues, peers and mentors
Always begin by identifying the people you know well and can best speak of your skills and prowess in specific areas, can back up your leadership or management skills or share your best accomplishments.
Recommendations will also give you an insight into how others actually perceive you professionally. They are also another great way of slipping keywords into your profile which again will push you up the ladder on LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
Likewise, if you give recommendations, you’ll not only be engaging with others, but your name will also appear on their profiles!
7) Don’t forget about additional sections
Share honours and awards, specialised certificates, industry related courses, professional memberships, language skills, interests, groups and causes. These additional sections on your profile will help visitors see all of the professional aspects of your life that are not covered by education or work history. Which for a lot of people is just as important.
Okay, so you now have a great looking profile. It includes all the content you need and gives a great impression of who you are, the work you have done and where you want to be. Now you can just sit back and let it run itself? Nope... Now is where the real fun starts. Connecting and engaging!
Top tips when using LinkedIn
1) Put in the time to update your profile and keep it up to date
It is really important if you are going to use Linkedin proactively that you put in the initial effort to optimise your profile to the best it can be. The fun doesn’t stop there though, you have to make sure that you stay on top of it and keep it fresh.
2) Get a custom URL
Setting up a custom URL will make your profile much more accessible to offline contacts. With a custom URL you can easily include it in email signatures, business cards, other social media profiles and other mediums where you can’t really hide a long random URL behind a hyperlink.
3) Share updates and interesting content
By doing this, you are providing more value to you connections and giving them more of a reason to keep visiting. It’s also important to remember that by publishing a post your connections are notified, which increases that chances of them interacting with your content, which could result in a share… Which then opens you up to their entire network.
Should you keep this up and your engagement grows and you keep producing valuable content then you could eventually be positioned as an authority on the topics you talk about.
4) Be personal
Make sure your personality is not lost on LinkedIn, it may be a digital profile but it is still there to showcase you and your brand. Keep the tone set at you level. Cut the cliches and soundboards and allow viewers to see your goals and your story.
5) Invite past and current coworkers, classmates, friends and family to connect
These are the quickest and easiest connections to make, as really no introduction is needed. By connecting to these people you instantly have access to their networks. These are your low hanging fruit! These are the people that are best placed to endorse you for skills, give you a recommendation and interact with your posts.
6) Join groups
Joining LinkedIn groups allows you to be part of closed, private forums with like-minded members, which means your connections can be more focussed, have common goals and skills and share industry affiliations.
7) Engage with you connections
LinkedIn is not a one way street, setting up your profile and making it the best it can be will only get you so far. You have to engage, engage, engage! If you want people to be active with your account you have to be active with theirs. Comment, like, endorse, share. GET INVOLVED.
If you have any more top tips, or a story regarding using LinkedIn then please get in touch with the Community Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn!
Now you’ve been over our top tips take a look at ‘Things You Should Immediately Stop Doing On LinkedIn!’