LinkedIn is a powerful job seeking and hiring platform with nearly 700 million active users in 2020 with more than four million people hired through the LinkedIn platform in 2019. If your LinkedIn profile is ‘meh’ and your lack of enthusiasm for your LinkedIn profile has lead to you being overlooked for your next job, it’s time to implement some easy, bite-sized steps to help your platform shine. 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. If you prefer to watch, rather than read, dive into our Career Jam youtube channel.
In terms of the demographics that LinkedIn attracts, the majority of users are really is in that mid to senior management level 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 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. Let’s take a look at our 8 essential steps for your LinkedIn profile to get a job you love.
- Get your message straight on LinkedIn.
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 with a wine in hand. Who you say you are and what image you are portraying needs to be aligned for employers and recruiters. Even in these early stages of the recruitment process you can be removed from a job shortlisting process for these inconsistencies. And while this is an extreme example often people contradict themselves in their LinkedIn profile without being aware of it. Don’t wave the red flags all over the place. Having a spelling mistake or two in your LinkedIn when you say you have attention to detail, having a tagline of Innovation when there is no experience your reference to support your tagline.
2. 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 roll your eyes, you do need to care about your image. Here’s my key rules. No alcohol bottles or glasses that you can’t wear in shot unless you are a selling the alcohol, or drink glasses. 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 photo. The original one was professional but it looked a bit dated with a classic background and soft lens-look. I look like I could have been in a Bette Midler film in the early 90’s, I was 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. Think about what you wear, 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.
3. Update your LinkedIn headline
This is searchable content. 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. When employers or recruiters search for potential candidates they will find a photo, name, and headline. This space matters and can be the difference between being head hunted or not. Don’t throw a recruiter or employer 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 in 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 your words carefully. Consider your audience of potential recruiters and employers not just listing what you want to say but think about your audience.
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? Check 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 a recruiter, employer or even a colleague or network connection will see when they click on your profile. In a busy world they might not accept your connection or click further if your tagline and ‘about’ section don’t match up. 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 the industry/s you have worked in. You want to strike a balance of having impact without regurgitating your entire work experience by year. Ensure your first two sentences are powerful! Check in with your CV and cover letter to make it all aligns and doesn’t seem like 3 different documents on 3 different people. e.g. people claim they are passionate about different things on their cover letter than they do on LinkedIn.
5. Build and nurture your network
You want to build your network to the stage where your network works for you and brings jobs to your feed and your contacts message you about roles. With LinkedIn you need to play the long game. Consider connecting to people every time you work on a new project, go to conference, undertake further study. Bank them as you go. Set some targets if your network is under 500. Connecting to network contacts 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 your network is always expanding, it doesn’t stay still. You can utilise LinkedIn to explore new roles, potential collaborations or even for business development. Within networks people often share 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 an employer reaches out on LinkedIn through a trusted network contact. It can save the organisation in the region of $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.
6. 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 long after you have fallen out of love with it. LinkedIn is a live document so you need to keep adding to it. Set a 6 mth update as a calendar reminder. Add your awards, volunteering, certification, education as they are completed.
7. 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 the employer’s 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 an organisation, the work we did and level of skill and they will look at clues as to our type of personality through the information you share on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. As you get closer to being hired the more verification employers 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.
8. 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. Let’s keep it simple. 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. This can leverage the work you are already creating and position you as a knowledge holder with expertise in your field.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.
Now you know the tips and tricks to your LinkedIn Essentials, it’s time for you to put it into practice and get that dream job. Now you are ready to shake up your LinkedIn maybe it’s time to take a wider view and explore our youtube vid to get your career unstuck or you may want to dive into a a story of burnt out executive Katie who transitioned her career from C-suite Executive to IT Consultant and Social Enterprise Founder.