Everyone has their own opinion on social media; however, it is hard to argue against the power that LinkedIn has to connect professionals all across the world. Like it or not, people in your industry are searching for you. They want to check out your background to see what it took to get where you are so they can follow in your footsteps. They want to hear about your ideas and opinions on topics that are hot in your industry. They want to offer you job opportunities that can utilize your skill sets and add strength to their organizations.
It is relatively easy to enjoy all of the positives from LinkedIn while minimizing the aggravation of unwanted content and messages. By following these best practices, it is possible to turn a potential spam-fest into an exciting network in which you look forward to participating. Whether the goals is to utilize LinkedIn to keep a passive eye on the job market, keep updated on industry news and trends, or have access to pick the brains of over 500 million members across the globe, having a great profile is the skeleton key that unlocks all doors to a positive experience. Even with 18,000+ connections, I am rarely bogged down with content that I don’t find interesting. Here’s how:
1. Keep it professional. LinkedIn is not Facebook, LinkedIn is not Facebook, LinkedIn is not Facebook! One hot-headed or inappropriate comment, picture, or post can damage your reputation. Consider who will be viewing your profile, including current connections and other industry professionals who may have an interest in networking. Before you update your profile, post an article, comment/like a post, or share content, take a couple of seconds to ask yourself if your actions are representing your brand. It is best to keep your activity positive and uplifting. LinkedIn is not a place to vent your frustrations or promote controversial content.
2. Keep your profile up to date and complete. A poor profile can lead to a poor experience on LinkedIn. Make sure all fields are completed. Most importantly, keep your current position up to date. When networking, most users search by “current title” and a couple of keywords. Reviewing and updating your profile once per quarter is a general rule of thumb. It is also recommended to update your profile during each job change, the same way you would update your resume or CV. Provide content that your target audience will find useful. If you utilize LinkedIn to network for job opportunities, be sure to update your recent and most impressive achievements.
3. Match your profile to your resume or CV. Discrepancies between your resume and LinkedIn profile can result in the early termination of the interview process, or even worse, a rescinded offer. Remember, your profile is public and represents your professional brand. A poor or misleading profile is a turnoff to employers and other networkers. If in doubt, if you wouldn’t put it on your resume, don’t put it on LinkedIn.
4. Make sure you have an appropriate profile picture. LinkedIn members who have a profile picture are much more likely to receive messages, connection requests, and profile views. Have a clear idea of what you want your billboard to look like before posting your picture. A professional headshot is best. If you are not being targeted by recruiters or other industry professionals, your picture may be the turnoff.
5. Make sure you spell check and grammar check your profile. What would you think if you drove by a billboard with a misspelled message?
6. Add more connections. Your LinkedIn profile network grows exponentially based your number of connections. Once you are 1st connected with someone you have access to view their connections (called 2nd-degree connections). These 2nd-degree connections are added to your extended network, who are more likely to connect with you. As your network grows, you will have access to a greater number of LinkedIn members and, in turn, they will have access to you. You can send messages and follow each other’s updates, likes, and shares.
7. If you are connected with the “wrong” people, disconnect from them. If you find that certain connections are posting irrelevant content or are sending you too many messages, simply remove them from your network. To take it one step further, you can even block specific members from viewing your profile. Don’t let a couple of bad apples spoil your LinkedIn experience.
8. Ask for recommendations (and recommend others). We are in the digital age of making decisions based on user reviews. The success of a product on Amazon is largely based on its star rating. Angie’s List, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and countless other companies have thrived on the psychology behind social proof. If other people like something, maybe we should too. Recommendations give your profile added flair (any Office Space fans here?) validating your work performance, skills, and achievements. Giving and receiving recommendations is a win/win activity that helps both parties. The person being reviewed gets a thumbs up on their profile while the reviewer is recognized for their compliments and are likely to receive a recommendation in return.
9. Keep an eye on your Skills. The Skill section on LinkedIn is another area where other members can endorse your knowledge. These endorsements serve as a digital thumbs up for your experience and also play into LinkedIn’s search algorithms. However, many profiles include skills that the user doesn’t actually have. These “fake” skills come up in searches, usually by keyword. This means your profile will be included in irrelevant searches based on non-accurate data. If you are receiving messages that don’t match your background, check your Skills to make sure they are accurate.
10. Be active on LinkedIn. LinkedIn rewards active members on their platform. Their search algorithms give preference to those who create, like, and share content with their network. If you haven’t signed on in a while, have a lot of outstanding messages, haven’t posted an update in forever, or have an incomplete profile, your lack of influence can push your profile to the darkest depths in the network. For job seekers, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more connections you have, and the more complete and accurate your profile, the more often you will come up in recruiter searches and the earlier your profile will be presented in the search result. LinkedIn provides 1,000 search results per search. Don’t be the 1000th (or even worse, the 1001st) profile. The further back you are in a given search, the more time your peers have to respond to job opportunities.
The Headhunter Guide is RECRUITER WRITTEN'S way to provide insider's knowledge to candidates and employers alike. Enjoy!