LinkedIn – a social network for professionals – is a platform where you can create a profile for your career, and if crafted well, it can be an effective tool in your job-hunting toolkit. Whilst often used as a recruitment tool, LinkedIn is also the perfect environment for networking and building business networks once you have established yourself in your dream role. We think of it as Facebook for business professionals!
1. Put your best face forward
Your photo is often the first thing a recruiter or potential employer sees when they click on your profile, so it is essential to choose and upload a professional image.
Choose one that is:
Current and professional looking
Well-lit and uncluttered
Taken so it frames your head, shoulders and upper body and shows you smiling
2. Supercharge your headline with relevant keywords
After your photo, most people will probably read your 120-character long headline. LinkedIn will automatically fill the headline with your job title, but you can edit this with a short customised statement telling people who you are or what you can do for them.
Use keywords such as job titles or skills potential employers may be searching for so that your profile will rank highly in search results. In addition, the more accurately you can describe what you do in your headline, the more often your profile will turn up in searches.
3. Convey your personal brand in your summary
The summary section lets you go into more detail about yourself in your own words and allows you to include more relevant keywords to cover off your experience, skills, motivation and interests.
4. Share your location
Location is one of the primary filters used when recruiters and employers run LinkedIn keyword searchers, so don't forget to include your location in your profile.
5. Add your experience, education and skills
Below the summary, you can list your work experience, education and skills, using these sections to show your work history and expand on the details you've provided in the summary section. Provide a high-level summary of each role, ensuring you use relevant keywords, and add your core skills to show your areas of expertise and capability. You want this section to outline the key elements from your CV.
Adding your education and qualifications will help reinforce your expertise and potentially link you with fellow alumni who may have opportunities available or require your business services.
6. Check, check and check again
As with any situation where you are putting yourself forward professionally, check that you haven't made any errors or mistakes. Double-check everything you have entered and written to ensure your profile's content is concise, accurate and typo-free.
7. Interact with your network and put your profile to work
Once you have created and refined your profile, put it work for you by connecting with people and building a network.
Add colleagues, acquaintances, customers and other suitable connections to your network
Join professional groups relevant to your industry or interest areas
Follow company pages, key industry influencers and explore news updates and events
Like, comment and engage with updates and start sharing your own insights
8. Keep your profile up to date
To make the most of your profile, keep it current by:
Updating your experience when you are promoted, change jobs or take on new responsibilities or projects
Keeping your profile photo up to date
If you are job hunting, turn on 'Open to Opportunities' to notify recruiters you are looking