LinkedIn is a vital resource for the modern professional. It’s a business-oriented social networking site that’s ideal for finding out about new job opportunities and gaining direct contact with employers and key contacts in your industry. By the third quarter of 2016, LinkedIn boasted an incredible 467 million members worldwide, so if you haven’t got an account or you’ve been neglecting yours lately, now is the time to take action!
Whether you’re trying to expand your network, find a new role or just looking to keep in touch with former colleagues, here are some tips for making the most of this fantastic resource.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your profile is accurate, up-to-date and fully completed. Use your full name, summarise your job and industry sector in the headline and use it to sell the benefits you bring. Also ensure that the current role and location sections are completed as this will help make you more visible.
The summary section should contain a description of your current responsibilities, industry experience and achievements. Talk about the aspects of your job that you enjoy and include your contact details if you’re open to being contacted by other members.
Finally, make sure your profile picture is appropriate and is of you only. A head and shoulders shot in professional dress is ideal and will result in up to 14x more views than a profile with no image.
Finding a job
When it comes to updating the experience section, make sure that the information in your profile corresponds exactly with your CV. When you apply for a job, an employer will often cross reference your CV with your LinkedIn profile. If there are any discrepancies, your honesty may come into question and they may decide not to take your application further.
Many recruitment consultants use LinkedIn to find talented candidates for jobs they are working on, so you’ll want to make it easy for them to track you down and get in touch. To help recruiters or prospective employers find you, make sure your skill set, education and experience are up to date and include plenty of keywords that sum up your abilities.
You can also follow companies you’d like to work for, then send them a speculative enquiry asking if they have any current vacancies that would suit your skill set. The key is approaching the company in the right way and showing them what you have to offer, so do your research and tailor your message accordingly.
Following businesses on LinkedIn will also allow you to gain an insight into the company culture. As well as helping with pre-interview research, you may even be able to impress the hiring manager at your interview by referring to something you saw on their LinkedIn page!
Once someone has accepted your connection request, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and speak to them in person. Being proactive in this way could be the difference between finding out about a great opportunity or missing out entirely.
Expanding your network
Making new connections is one of the key elements of LinkedIn, so actively seek out and connect with those within your industry and associated sectors who might prove to be useful in the future.
Another way to increase your connections is by importing email addresses via the ‘Add Contacts’ page. As well as helping you to quickly link with business acquaintances, this feature will also suggest relevant contacts for you to connect with, based on the people you have imported.
You can also get your name out there by joining some of the professional groups on LinkedIn. Your profile is 5x more likely to be viewed if you join and become active in groups, so join the ones that interest you, post updates about industry news and comment on other members’ posts. These groups will also help you stay abreast of the latest developments within your sector.
Staying in touch
It can be incredibly beneficial to stay in touch with former bosses and colleagues. They’re already aware of your experience, can potentially supply you with a fantastic reference and they have their own group of professional contacts they can introduce you to, so it’s worth maintaining a relationship even if it is only through LinkedIn.
As long as you left your previous role on good terms, you could approach former colleagues and ask them to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. These endorsements will add credibility to your experience and mark you out as a trusted professional within your field.
These people are also the most likely to endorse you for your skills, so why not encourage them to return the favour by endorsing them first.
As you can see, there are a myriad of benefits to having a fully completed and up to date LinkedIn account. It’s a great tool for learning about the latest developments in your field, connecting with like-minded professionals and finding your next career move, as well as staying in touch with ex colleagues.
The key to making the most of LinkedIn is remembering that it’s a professional social network, so everything you do, from choosing a profile picture to connecting with people, needs to be conducted in a businesslike manner. LinkedIn is continually growing whilst refining and adding new features, so if you’ve been neglecting your profile lately, it’s time to log on before you miss out!