LinkedIn is a powerful job seeking and hiring platform with nearly 700 million active users in 2020, they have expanded from a networking site for professionals to one of the top social media platforms. But you don’t need to use it like FB or Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. It’s valuable in collecting and collating your network contacts. People you want to be connected with professionally but not necessarily on your personal social media like FB or Instagram. If you are just starting out or refreshing your profile, this really is the essential information you need to know about LinkedIn to get a job you love.
In 2019, LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network. (Business Insider) and with more than four million people hired through the LinkedIn platform in 2019 it’s a great addition to your job search strategy to use the power of a platform. (LinkedIn). In terms of the demographics that attract it is really in that medium to those in mid to senior management with 45% of users making more than $75,000 (USD) annually, while only 25% of those in the $50,000 to $74,999 range use the platform. (Pew Research Center)
LinkedIn is really for any professional looking to grow and expand their network and opportunity to get a job. Representing your authentic self is part science and art and finding a job you love is really easy when you know what you want. We will guide you through the skills for you to curate your LinkedIn profile with the essential steps you need to get a job you love.
Get your message straight on LinkedIn.
Knowing who you are professionally and having your tagline/elevator piece prepared is the key to building credibility, matching who you say you are with how you represent yourself. When you search on someone on LinkedIn you will only initially see their image, background photo and tagline. It’s important to get this message right if that’s the first thing people will see. You don’t want to have a tagline as a Senior Advisor in the Department of Defence and your image is you glassy eyed, looking dishevelled. Who you say you are and what you are portraying yourself as sends mixed messages to employers and recruiters. Even in these early stages you can be removed from a shortlisting process for these inconsistencies. And while this is an extreme example often people contradict themselves in applications without being aware of it, waving red flags all over the place. Having a spelling mistake or two in your resume when you say you have attention to detail,
Image matters in your LinkedIn photo.
LinkedIn images with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to receive page views, It’s not what you look like per se it’s how you style your image. And before you role your eyes you do need to make this matter. Here’s my key rules. No alcohol bottles or glasses in shot unless you are a selling the stuff. No shoulders on show. No family shots, crazy ties, hats or accessories that don’t align with you and your mission.
Recently I updated my image from this,………………………………………………………………..to this
I’ll leave it up to you to decide but you can see there is difference in how you can represent yourself. As you can see the first one is professional but it looks a bit dated with that background I look like I could have been in a Bette Midler film in the late 80’s, I’m just missing my perm and shoulder pads. In the second image I took some time to style the desk and background, I had some natural lighting coming in the window but also lightened it up with a standard free editing. tool on my desktop. Consider a jacket or blouse/shirt with strong and complimentary colours. You can add a flavour of you in a small touch such as hairstyle, broach, tie or earrings. Just make sure you photo is a head shot or above the waist. Take inspiration from people in your network and grab your iphone and get an idea of a good background and take them at work, at home, just update that image. Once you have it live get some feedback from family and friends. Friends and family you are likely to give you an honest response.
Update your LinkedIn headline
This is searchable content. When employers or recruiters search they will find a photo, name, and headline and with more than 20 million companies listed on LinkedIn it’s no surprise to find out that 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. This space matters and can be the different between being head hunted. Don’t throw them by posting something obscure. This is my tagline below.
It tells people what area I focused on, who are my clients/customers or who I am serving and what outcomes or impact I seek to make working with this demographic. You might use words like ‘Experienced Mining Engineer specialising in (some super niche mining engineering field)’, or ‘Senior Marketing Professional, consulting on marketing automation’ or ‘Tertiary educator passionate about skilling young people for the Future of Work’. Some people like to use 4 words and for example might say, ‘Founder, Technologist, Angel Investor, Mentor’. Make sure you pick you words well, considering your audience of potential recruiters and employers not just listing what you want to say.
4. Update your ‘About’ section of LinkedIn
Make sure your summary provides more context to your headline, who are you, how much experience have you had in your industry, what industry/s that is and what are you passionate about? Make sure your About section on LinkedIn is more than two sentences and less than half a page. Take a look below as the first two sentences are the first thing that they see when they click on your profile. In a busy world they might not click further so put effort into those first two sentences and make them strong.
Use your ‘About’ section on LinkedIn to summarise the amount of years’ experience you have, mention your industries. You want to strike a balance of having impact without regurgitating your entire work experience by year. Make sure your first two sentences are powerful! Check in with your CV and cover letter to make it all align and doesn’t seem like 3 different documents about 3 different people. e.g. people claim they are passionate about different things on their cover letter than they do on LinkedIn.
Build and nurture your network.
You want to build you network to the stage where you network works for you and brings jobs to your feed. This is a long game you are playing. You need to consider connecting to people every time you work on a new project, go to conference, undertake further study. It doesn’t mean you want to be besties, you just want to collect them like you are gathering your seedlings and watching them grow. People don’t tend to stay in the same roles forever so their is always opportunity to look to your network at some point for new roles, potential collaborations or even business development. Within networks people are sharing information. It makes sense for them to share job opportunities where people are connected through similar work or industry experience. It makes for an easy hire when someone reaches out on LinkedIn through a trusted network contact saving the organisation $25,000 in recruitment fees. It’s also an opportunity finder, you will find professional networks and contacts sharing information on company expansions, new roles, projects and tenders. You can use this knowledge to approach contacts or talent acquisition specialists in the companies before they even advertise a role.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated
Look, you are only human and you go through peaks and troughs with work and family commitments. It would be unrealistic for you to update your profile quarterly unless you were actively looking for a role. When you are loving your job LinkedIn doesn’t seem that important but sometimes you reach a crunch point and updating LinkedIn, writing a CV and applying for roles seems overwhelming and can lead you to staying in a role you have fallen out of love with long after you have decided you want to leave. LinkedIn is a live document so you need to keep adding to it. Set a 6 mth update. Add your awards, volunteering, certification, education as they are finalised.
Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn before you have to
When we look at the purpose of LinkedIn and CV’s we are trying to demonstrate our credibility as a potential employee against their criteria. Part of the way employers assume and check we have credibility is to look at the employers we have worked for, the length of time we have stayed with the organisation, the work we did and level of skill we have. As you get closer to being hired the more verification they seek, recruiters or employers may speak to references, they may even go through extensive testing or even a police check. We want to demonstrate our credibility not only through what we are saying but leverage ‘social proof’ through our image and experience but also through recommendations.
Above is an example of one of my fabulous connections reaching out and asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn. You can make it easier by requesting it through LinkedIn or sending them a link but make sure you have the conversation first and it doesn’t come as a surprise!
Share your thoughts
Now we are not talking musings or branding yourself Gary V- style. Many people feel it’s a bit much to promote themselves. That’s ok. Totally normal, it could be a bit of the imposter syndrome but we can talk about that later. Try doing one of these 3 things, 3 times a year.
- Share articles you find valuable and write something to go along with the post.
- Celebrate the success of your team or your colleagues with a shout out on LinkedIn when you complete a project, survive a busy period or win an award internal or external.
- Do a slide share. Slide share is really trending on LinkedIn at the moment meaning you will probably get more reach with their algorithm. If you are making a presentation which may have value to your network. load it onto slide share and make it available publicly, leveraging the work you are already creating.
Use these opportunities to give your your network a nudge, remind them what you do, who you are and why they would hire you. Connect with professionals and the groups that work for you and use each of the above steps to build, extend and position yourself on LinkedIn to get a job you love.