LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online network. The platform’s efficiency in helping professionals build an online presence and exposure accounts for its popularity. In addition to the ability to create a professional profile, LinkedIn provides a safe space for job seekers to upload their resumes and for employers to post job openings as well. With LinkedIn, you have the resources to project yourself in the light you want to be seen in the professional world.
How can you efficiently utilize LinkedIn to achieve your career goals if you’re new to the platform? Here are seven tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile and build an enviable professional persona.
- Write an irresistible headline
The headline section has a 120-character limit. Make ample use of this to write an eye-catching headline. Potential recruiters and connections would be looking to see more than your name. They would want to see something interesting that would make them view your complete profile. It took Jisha Arunkuman, an HR expert in Canada, about three days to develop a good headline for her LinkedIn profile. Your headline is your first contact with your potential recruiter or LinkedIn connections. It is just like a book cover. You glance through the back for information on the book or the author; that is just what your headline looks like from a recruiter’s point of view, so take your time to market yourself in that section. Do a quick search of professionals in the same sector and industry as you to get hints on what you can possibly include in your headline.
- Tell a compelling story in your summary
The summary section has a 2,000-character limit. Use this to tell potential recruiters and connections who you are, what you are proud of and what you have accomplished. Highlight your achievements and not your job description. Write what you want people to know about your career. If you have switched careers, indicate this and use words that connect your transition from one career to another. This makes it easy for your connections and potential recruiters to know what you have been up to career-wise. Also, include details of your personal and professional life. Write this summary in the first-person pronoun to promote engagements.
- Invite colleagues to give you recommendations
You can invite one or two people to write a convincing recommendation that would capture the skill you want to be recruited for. Although it may be uncomfortable to ask people directly to write a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile. There are ways you can go about it. For instance, you could ask your team members at work or people you have done projects with if they could contribute to your recommendation. You don’t have to make it sound formal; just make a friendly request. This is why you need to build close personal relationships with your colleagues, as it may come in handy someday.
- Highlight past job experiences
Your past job experience is one of the most critical aspects of your profile. Focus on the accomplishments that are relevant to the career growth you’re pursuing. Summarize relevant projects you have managed or executed. Highlight specific core skills and achievements in your career.
- Create a balance in your profile
A LinkedIn profile is dynamic and can be edited. As you grow in your career and make changes, don’t forget to update your profile. Be sure to balance your technical skills, experience and soft skills to capture everything necessary.
- Use industry keywords
Weave keywords relevant to the type of job you seek into your profile. Use them in your headline, summary, experience and skills. Look through numerous job descriptions for the role you’re seeking and find meaningful common industry vocabulary to use in your profile. However, don’t overdo it. You only need to use a few here and there. This would project you as a professional who knows his or her onions.
- Engage with industry thought leaders
Find and follow thought leaders in your industry and location (either province or Canada-wide). Engage with the posts of these leaders by writing insightful comments that position you as an expert in the field.
There is no point in optimizing your profile if you’re not active on LinkedIn. You could miss opportunities when they come calling. Make it a point to check your feeds and like and comment on posts at least twice weekly. In time, you will become comfortable creating your own posts and further building your connections. Remember that LinkedIn is your personal, professional networking site and career development tool. Use it efficiently!