LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media websites, although its purpose is not exactly comparable to that of brands such as Facebook and Twitter.
Although the latter websites could be used professionally, LinkedIn’s specific function is actually professional networking.
This website is not only an amazing tool for people looking to further their career and connections in their particular field, but it is also a true HR goldmine where employers and recruiters actively pursue new talent.
Do you have a profile yet?
If you aren’t on LinkedIn already, you should definitely consider opening an account to start showcasing your skills, experience, and background to a greater professional world.
However, make no mistake: you can’t simply create a profile, make it live and hope for the best.
You need to do things the right way.
LinkedIn could be an extremely powerful personal branding tool. But on the other hand, you could risk damaging your reputation!
This article features a list of 8 tips that will help you make the most out of your LinkedIn account, particularly if you’re a job seeker.
1. Stay updated.
Keeping your information up to date is absolutely vital.
Make sure to include as many details and references as you possibly can, going for a clear and documented approach, which is very attractive to potential employers.
It really doesn’t look great if your latest employment or activity dates back a few years.
Potential employers will wonder: “so what have they been doing since then?!”
Update your profile as often as necessary adding all professional endeavors (including voluntary work and personal experiences where relevant).
2. Stay active.
In the same vein, staying active on LinkedIn is absolutely vital if you want to appear engaged and give a fresh vibe to your profile.
I know, managing various social media accounts (plus emails) can be a gigantic task, but LinkedIn really is a great way to build a stronger network and posting relevant, valuable content will encourage people to follow and engage with you.
Start by posting at least one interesting and relevant thing (blog, article, picture) a week and then add more content as you get comfortable with LinkedIn.
You can even start to write your own blog posts on LinkedIn Pulse, positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
Initially, you can expect your following to be pretty slim, but if you stick to your guns and work consistently, you should be able to grow a sizeable network.
Again, all of these things take time and consistency.
Don’t expect to become a LinkedIn star overnight!
3. Your image matters.
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn can be used as a really powerful tool to boost and improve your personal brand.
But this means that you need to look the part:
- Make sure you have a profile picture that suits high professional standards.
- Don’t post group pictures or selfies.
- Don’t show a lot of skin!
Photos of you having a drink at a bar or cheering for your favorite football things might impress your Facebook friends but they might turn off potential employers.
And these days, any consumer-grade camera (or even phone cameras) should do the trick.
I also highly recommend changing your profile picture from time to time, for the sake of giving that fresh and updated look we talked about.
Some people like to change their picture as often as every 6-8 months, while others like to update their profile photo once every couple of years or whenever they begin a new job or start a new professional venture.
Just make sure your picture is an accurate representation of you.
4. Don’t be too “funny”
I was browsing through my LinkedIn contacts when I noticed a friend with a profile headline that said “marketing expert and booze lover”.
While it made me laugh and I do understand that this is just harmless fun, not everyone out there is so forgiving.
Some employers want to hire people who have an image that is compatible with the brand of the business they represent.
For example, if my friend had been looking to get hired by a family-friendly brand, his self-appointed image as a “booze-lover” wouldn’t go down well.
Personal freedom and self-expression are important, but be careful when it comes to displaying your sense of humor. Low key is the way to go.
5. Have a well-written LinkedIn Headline.
Your LinkedIn headline is probably the first thing a potential employer will see when landing on your profile so it’s important to make it impressive…
- Avoid coming across too arrogant; stay humble and describe exactly what you do.
- Use this space to write a catchy and concise overview of yourself.
- Trying to be personable and showcase a “human” quality is a great idea, but remember, don’t be too “funny.”
Finally, steer clear of the clichés. Everyone loves “reading,” “travelling” and “socialising with friends.”
Keep in mind that employers who peruse your profile are likely checking out hundreds of profiles a day, and they know the drill. Being honest, natural and genuine is the way to go.
6. Proofread your page!
If you really want to impress potential employers, be careful with the details.
Avoid typos and always double-check what you write.
If English is not your mother tongue, yet you are still using it for your profile description, it might be a good idea to ask a professional proofreader to take a look at it.
The attention to detail you put into your own profile will give employers an idea of your professionalism.
7. Post portfolio samples.
If your industry, job and company allow it, posting portfolio samples or links to previous work you have done is always a great idea.
This will allow potential employers to immediately sample your skills and professionalism.
8. Be aware of networking etiquette.
A lot of people completely misunderstand the way professional networking works, particularly online.
One of the most common mistakes LinkedIn users make is to add people they don’t know and request connections with other professionals that they never dealt with.
If you add a lot of people that aren’t relevant, your account won’t look genuine.
Don’t try to impress employers with a large amount of LinkedIn connections.
Fewer, yet authentic high-quality connections that you actually know have way more value.
9. Avoid Skill Overkill.
Some people simply try to whip up an insane amount of skills, endorsements, and qualifications on their LinkedIn profile.
But “being a Jack of all trades” essentially makes you look like a “master of none.”
So, instead of trying to look like you know everything about everything, focus on skills that you think are really relevant to your own profession.
Having too many (or irrelevant) skills is one of the most common mistakes, job-seekers make.
It’s not essential for you to be on LinkedIn. But setting up a profile will give your employer something else to look at – and to be impressed by!
So it’s worth a go, if you keep in mind the points we’ve highlighted above:
- Stay updated.
- Stay active.
- Your image matters.
- Don’t be too funny.
- Have a well-written LinkedIn Headline.
- Proofread your page.
- Be aware of networking etiquette.
- Avoid Skill Overkill.
If you’d like to read more tips on your job search, subscribe to our Careers Advice Blog here.
If you’d like to read more about this topic in particular, here are some great articles:
- 7 LinkedIn Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job
- 5 Bad LinkedIn Habits You Must Break Now
- How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job