LinkedIn is the largest professional network, offering fantastic opportunities to connect with industry professionals in your field. There are 322 million professionals on LinkedIn spanning across over 200 countries and territories.
LinkedIn provides you with a professional profile, not unlike an online CV. However, this is not the only feature LinkedIn offers. You can connect with individuals you’ve worked with, join groups of like-minded individuals and network, share your expertise with LinkedIn blog posts and keep up with latest industry developments.
LinkedIn isn’t just for when you’re job-hunting…
1) Customise your profile URL
When you want to share you LinkedIn profile, you can look more professional by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. This means that the link to your profile will look cleaner (something like this: linkedin.com/in/firstname.lastname), rather than a long stream a digits. Customize your URL by clicking ‘edit profile’ and then clicking ‘edit’ next to the URL displayed under your profile picture.
2) Add a photo
Adding a photo to your profile on LinkedIn has many benefits. It can help many by putting a face to a name, and generally it is found that your profile will have up to 7 times more views if you include a profile photo. A professional-looking headshot usually works best. Your photo can be removed by LinkedIn if your profile image is not a likeness of you or a headshot – so avoid group photos or those where you cannot tell it is you. You can find more information about this here.
3) Update your headline
LinkedIn allows you to add a headline to your profile. This can automatically be set to include your job title and place of work, however it can be beneficial to use keywords to describe what you do. For example, include your specialisms if your job title doesn’t fully describe them. By doing this, your profile will appear in more searches relevant to you.
Your headline also appears in Google search results, so think about what people would be likely to search for when choosing yours.
4) Write a summary
When filling out your profile, don’t forget to add a summary and detailed information about any experience you’ve had. This is a fantastic opportunity to ‘be found’ by including relevant key terms, and will also make your profile seem more complete to those viewing it. From a recruiters point of view, the more information the better when researching potential candidates on LinkedIn.
5) Include samples of your work
LinkedIn allows you to display a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links, and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile. You can therefore showcase different projects that you’ve worked on or significant pieces of work that you’d like more people to see.
6) Customise your profile
Did you know that you can reorder your profile? This is particularly beneficial if you’d like certain elements to appear higher than others. Consider what works best for you. If you’d like to reorder your profile, once you’re in edit mode you can simply drag the double sided arrows next to each section to rearrange them.
7) Join groups and participate!
LinkedIn groups are a feature that allows you to connect with like-minded individuals that share similar interests or expertise. You can participate in discussions or even start your own, highlighting your expertise. Joining a group can vastly increase your network on LinkedIn, giving you the opportunity to reach out to anyone who are also a member.
8) Add skills and get endorsed
Endorsement and recommendations are important features on a LinkedIn profile as they help to justify the claims you’re making about your skills and expertise. List skills that you think you possess and would like to be endorsed for, and all your connections need to do is click on the ‘+’ icon next to it to endorse you. These skills can be reordered to feature those you value most highly at the top.
As well as endorsing others, LinkedIn also offers the opportunity for you to be recommended by others. These are considered to offer more ‘weight’ than an endorsement as it is structured more like a reference and people actually have to put effort into writing it. If you’re recommended or endorsed on LinkedIn it is generally considered best practice to reciprocate this.
You don’t have to wait for colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn, you can ask others for a recommendation, and LinkedIn actually provide a feature to aid this. However if you ask for one, be prepared to write on in return!
Remember, there is much more to LinkedIn than just your profile and it shouldn’t be neglected simply because you’re not job hunting.