When it comes to networking, your LinkedIn profile can be an invaluable tool. Learning how to make the best out of it can mean the difference between professional growth and stagnation. However, if you only check it once in a while, when someone wants to connect with you, you might be missing out. Building a great profile and keeping it updated will allow you get discovered by recruiters easier and create meaningful connections with professionals from all around the world. Furthermore, researchers at North Carolina State University show that informal social networks such as LinkedIn play an important role when it comes to finding jobs in the United States.
Whether you are looking to land a better paying job, make the most of the one you have or simply learn more about your professional possibilities, here are a few tips that will help you build a strong and appealing LinkedIn profile.
Choose the right picture
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on LinkedIn is not using the right photo or avoiding to upload one altogether. People tend to assume that if you don’t post a photo, something must be wrong with you. Think about how you operate when you search for an apartment to rent – do you even look at listings with no photos attached? A good picture is more likely to capture people’s attention, and recruiters spend about 19 percent of their time on a LinkedIn profile looking at the photo.
However, keep in mind that this isn’t Facebook or Instagram. Upload a high-quality, recent profile picture of yourself in a professional setting. Avoid posting pictures with your friends, pets or family. People are just looking for energy, which you can communicate through great posture and a charming smile. There’s not need to worry about your looks – after all, it’s unlikely that you are not on LinkedIn to land a modeling gig.
Write a killer summary
Think about the summary as an opportunity to express your voice and personality; it’s basically a way to sell yourself to a potential employer. Tell your story and explain why you are good at what you do. A unique and engaging summary will help you make a good first impression and catch the eye of head-hunters and potential employers.
Be considerate with your reader’s time and keep the summary short and concise. Write about your experience, accomplishments and career objectives. Also, make sure that the text is easily readable – break it up in paragraphs and use sub-headers.
Your LinkedIn profile is just like a resume, so you want to make sure that everything is perfect before sharing it with the world. Proofread it carefully to avoid any sort of grammatical or spelling errors. It may be helpful to have someone else give it a look and offer a second opinion on its content or point out any errors that you may have missed.
Join groups and meaningful conversations
It’s not enough to build an appealing profile and wait to be discovered. LinkedIn is all about connecting with other professionals, so join a few groups and engage in relevant conversations. Make sure that you have something relevant to add though; nothing is worse than somebody disrupting the flow of the conversation with trivial information.
Furthermore, make sure that you update your status every once in a while, but be careful with what you share. By posting useful information or links you show that you are up to date on advances in your field and demonstrate your expertise.
Showcase your work
LinkedIn allows users to add visual content to their profile – a great opportunity to showcase photos, presentations and videos. This is convenient for creative professionals like designers and photographers. For an excellent guide on how to build a successful portfolio, take a look here.
Ask for recommendations
Endorsements are good, but recommendations are better – they show that people were actually willing to devote a few minute to tell the world about just how amazing you are. Recommendations from former supervisors or coworkers carry a lot of weight. To a potential employer, recommendations are references in advance, which may help secure an interview.
The simplest way to receive recommendations is to give them. People love it when someone says something good about themselves, so they will likely reciprocate. Recommendations are key for building credibility, so do your best to get at least ten.
Follow your dream employers
Even if you are extremely happy at your current job, it doesn’t hurt to look at what your dream employers are up to. Follow companies you would like to work for one day – you will learn about job openings, not to mention the fact that you can familiarize their representatives with your work by commenting on news in the company’s activity stream.
Personalize connection requests
When you want to connect to someone for the first time, skip the generic message option “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Instead, take a few moments to write something personalized. The recipient will be more open to your request if they see you’ve actually put some thought into it. Also, never lie about how you know the person. This is a surefire way to kill your chances at connecting.
Follow the advice above and you will build a more compelling and interesting LinkedIn profile, which will allow you to position yourself as successful and experienced individual. All that’s left is to start growing your circle of connections. Don’t forget to update your status regularly and be active in groups; you will certainly stumble upon some interesting professionals who can share their expertise and give you valuable advice. Happy networking!