I joined LinkedIn in April 2010 and haven’t looked back.
Sure, the news feed is full of people complaining about recruiters, or sharing personal stories, but I’ve found it invaluable.
When I was first starting out, it helped put me in touch with recruiters and highlighted lots of roles that matched my (limited) experience. Then, as time passed and my profile beefed up, recruiters started getting in touch with me. Former colleagues tracked me down and approached me with interesting projects. People started asking me for recommendations…
Some of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on came through LinkedIn.
It’s a great platform and the Western world’s most popular professional digital network.
- 433 million users (April 2016)
- 106 million unique member visits every month (April 2016)
- 45 billion member page views in Q1 2016
Plenty of reasons to spruce up your profile.
Getting your LinkedIn profile right
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, there is no set template, but there are some ground rules everyone should follow.
- Use the right keyword
I’m guessing that if there’s a great role out there, tailor-made for you, you want recruiters to let you know about it. Well unless you highlight your skills on your LinkedIn profile, then they won’t find you. That means you need to use the right keywords.If you’re a Ruby on Rails developer, use that as your job title – recruiters are unlikely to be searching for ‘Hacker in Chief’. Standard job titles and skillsets work well on LinkedIn. Save your creative juices for the interview.
- Be thorough
This point ties into the one above, but make sure you include everything that might be relevant to a potential employer. This is good from a search perspective and also gives a well-rounded view of what you’ve accomplished.Use the ‘Summary’ box to list your skills, keep your qualifications and education current and don’t leave the space beneath any positions empty. Use bullet points to explain what you did and list your achievements.
- Upload videos, documents, slide share presentations…
LinkedIn used to be pretty plain. The only bit of colour you could have on your profile was your photo, but that’s changed. Now you can upload videos, presentations and even post your own articles. This is a great way to help your profile stand out and can also give you more credibility.Do be careful what you upload though. Everything you add to your profile is publically available, so that means competitors and the press can dig through your stuff… Also, having an artistic background image might be a good idea if you’re a designer, but having a picture of a beach might send out the wrong impression if you’re a CPO.
- Ask for recommendations
According to Econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before buying something. That’s one of the reasons sites such as Amazon, Airbnb, Booking.com… encourage users to share their thoughts. It helps generate trust (and it’s great for SEO…). Why wouldn’t you do the same for your LinkedIn profile?Ask colleagues old and new to share a few lines about what it’s like working with you and don’t be afraid to return the favour. If I particularly enjoyed working with someone, I always write them a recommendation.What about endorsements? Well, personally I’m not a fan and that’s because people I’ve met, but never worked with, constantly endorse me for skills they have no way of knowing I have. I’ve heard many others complain about the same issue. A personalised recommendation is far more powerful.
- Share articles and opinions
I’m guilty of not doing enough of this, but it’s a great way to show your expertise and appear in people’s news feeds (if you want to). If you’ve got the time, one way to do this is by publishing your own posts in LinkedIn Pulse. If you don’t have time to write a full post, why not share and comment on other people’s articles?As with all content marketing (and that is what you’re doing) remember to focus on quality over quantity.
Michele Martinelli is a London based writer, you can follow him on @Greatbites.