As the professional networking website passed the ten year milestone earlier this year, it’s safe to say that LinkedIn has cemented itself as the number one online professional network across the world. But many professionals, particularly new graduates, still aren’t utilising this powerful tool to its full potential. Even if you’re not in the market for a job right now – if you’re still studying or happy in your current position – LinkedIn can still be used to help you in building connections, following news in your industry and improving your personal brand.
So, how do you get the most out of LinkedIn and create a perfect profile which is bound to impress? Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Start With The Basics
There are a few core elements to your LinkedIn profile, and it is essential that you get these spot on. These are your headline, summary, experience, skills and education. Out of these four, your headline and summary really give you the chance to stand out and communicate your skills and experience to potential employers. Make your headline short, snappy and original and take the opportunity to expand on that in your summary – use all 2000 characters. Keep it in the first person, to avoid an impersonal, corporate feel, and try to tell a story about who you are and how you arrived on your chosen career path. Talk about where you want to be in the future, and who your target audience is.
2. Next…Everything Else!
One of the most common mistakes people make on LinkedIn is not completing their profile. Anything which you leave unfinished is a missed opportunity so, although it may take a little time when you first set it up, it’s well worth completing all of the fields. Plus, the more complete your profile is, the higher it will appear in searches.
3. Choose The Right Photograph
That finishing touch for your LinkedIn profile – the profile photo. According to The Huffington Post, your LinkedIn profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if it features a photograph of yourself. But make sure that you choose the right one – you want a professional looking image of yourself, in clothing that you would wear to work. Try to select a simple image which shows your head and shoulders, and ideally find one where you are smiling to give a warm and welcoming demeanour.
4. Get Involved
As a rule of thumb, someone with a complete profile and a couple of hundred connections will look more valuable and appealing to a potential employer than someone who just has a complete profile and very few connections. So get connecting! A handy way to get started is to import connections from your email, but have a look around for other people you work with or study with too. If you can, try to get friends, colleagues or peers to recommend or endorse you – if you endorse other people you work with they will often be happy to endorse you back. Another way to get involved is to join industry-related groups. We’d recommend joining at least ten groups; they show that you have passion for an industry or field, and they can help you build contacts.
5. Keep Up-To-Date
So, you’ve built a killer profile and connected with other industry professionals. Now can you sit back and relax? Nope! To truly make the most of this network you need to be regularly updating your profile and status. Try updating your status at least once a week with your latest blog, or other industry related blogs you have read which you think your connections could benefit from.
As far as your profile goes, you should be updating whenever there are any changes in your professional life, whether that’s gaining a new skill or a whole new job. The official LinkedIn blog advises that this will help ensure that people can find your profile easily by searching by your current position, and updating your position will draw attention from recruiters you may be connected to.
This guest post was written by Emma Williams on behalf of Regional Recruitment Services, a leading UK recruitment consultancy helping candidates find positions in a wide range of sectors.